Gulf of Aden Security Review

A regularly updated review of both Yemen and the Horn of Africa covering topics related to security, governance, and militant activity.

Yemen: Al Houthi movement forces and forces loyal to former President Saleh clash for third day in Sana’a city; independent UN panel reports al Houthi-Saleh ballistic missile designs are consistent with Iranian missiles; Saudi Arabia intercepts al Houthi-Saleh ballistic missile in Khamis Mushayt, southwestern Saudi Arabia; Emirati-backed southern political leader highlights desire for negotiations with international institutions; reported U.S. airstrikes kill three ISIS militants in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen; AQAP emir discusses military strategy in new video series

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants attempt to assassinate Hiraan regional governor; Puntland State forces integrate into SNA

Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi movement forces and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his General People’s Congress (GPC) party reportedly clashed for the third day in a row in Sana'a city, northern Yemen on December 1. Major northern tribes blocked roads leading into and out of Sana’a on November 29 and 30 in support of Saleh. Pro-Saleh demonstrators also called for an end to the al Houthi movement’s rule in Sana’a near al Saleh Mosque in Sana’a on December 1. Demonstrators began coming out in support of Saleh following the November 28 and 29 al Houthi attacks against Saleh loyalists in the same area. Saleh distanced himself from the al Houthi movement’s ballistic missile campaign on November 28.[1] 

An independent panel of UN monitors stated that four al Houthi-Saleh ballistic missiles shared characteristics with missiles designed and manufactured in Iran in a November 24 report. The panel reported it has evidence that the missiles were transferred to Yemen in pieces likely via land routes from eastern Yemen and Oman. The UN panel has not found evidence of any Iranian or Iranian proxy missile experts in Yemen, or evidence to identify who supplied the missiles.[2]

Saudi Arabia intercepted an al Houthi-Saleh ballistic missile near King Khaled airbase in Khamis Mushayt, southwest Saudi Arabia on November 30. Al Houthi newspapers referred to the launch as a successful test of a locally made medium-range ballistic missile. Al Houthi-Saleh forces have fired seven missiles at the airbase in 2017.[3]

Emirati-backed Transitional Political Council of the South (STC) President Aydarus al Zubaydi highlighted the STC’s desire for political negotiations with international institutions and stressed that any political solution disregarding the south will not establish peace in Yemen during an Independence Day celebration in Crater district, Aden city on November 30. Zubaydi also announced the names of local STC leaders in eight governorates, as well as 303 National Assembly members.[4]

Reported U.S. airstrikes killed three Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) Wilayat al Bayda militants in Sirar Al Jushm area, Wald Rabi’ district, al Bayda governorate, central Yemen on November 30. Some reports claim the airstrikes also killed eight civilians.[5]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) emir Qasim al Raymi released the first episode in a new video series "Explanation of the Book: War Policy Brief." Raymi intends to discuss military life, discipline, leadership, and the rules of warfare as written by 15th century military strategist Abu al Said al Harthami in the series. AQAP last released a video of al Raymi in May 2017 in which he called for lone-wolf attacks in the West.[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants attempted to assassinate Hiraan Governor Ali Jeyte Osman in Mahas town in Hiraan region, central Somalia. The militants ambushed the governor’s convoy as he departed Mahas with the commander of Somali forces in central Somalia, General Mohamed Tredishe. Al Shabaab recently captured the El Adi village in Hiraan region on November 28.[7]  

The first Somali state forces integrated into the Somali National Army (SNA) on November 30. Puntland security forces transferred 2,400 troops to the SNA during a ceremony in Garowe. Each Somali state promised to provide 3,000 troops to the SNA under the 2015 Gulwade plan to bolster the country's national security.[8]  

[1] “Major clashes erupt between Huthis and Saleh in more than one site in Sanaa,” Al Mashhad Al Yemeni, December 1, 2017,; “Loyal Sana’a tribes close ports of capital and surround the Houthis inside,” Voice Yemen, November 29, 2017,; “Gunfire from the Saqq tribes of Sana’a, armed with an iron hand,” Hour News, November 30, 2017,; “Sanaa tribes challenge the Houthis and cut off roads to their gunmen and prevent them from entering Sanaa,” Elmaam, November 30, 2017,; “Tribes loyal to “Republican Guard Forces force al Houthi militia to withdraw from al Saleh Mosque,” Al Mashhad Al Yemeni, December 1, 2017,; Majd Afashi, Twitter, December 1, 2017,; Republican Guard Forces, Twitter, December 1, 2017,; Yemen Peace Project, Twitter, December 1, 2017,; and Mohammed al Maswari, Twitter, December 1, 2017,
[2] “Exclusive: Yemen rebel missiles fired at Saudi Arabia appear Iranian - UN,” Reuters, November 30, 2017,
[3] “Saudi Arabia intercepts Yemeni missile, second in a month,” Reuters, November 30, 2017,; “Saudi Air Force destroys ballistic missile launched from Yemen,” CNN, November 30, 2017,; and “Successful test of ballistic missile on Saudi military target,” Saba News, November 30, 2017,
[4] “President Zubaydi: We will continue the national path towards independence at a steady and deliberate pace,” Southern Transitional Council, November 30, 2017,; “President Zubaydi issues a resolution for the formation of local leaders of governorates,” Southern Transitional Council, November 30, 2017,; and “President Zubaydi issues a resolution for the formation of the names of National Assembly members,” Southern Transitional Council, November 30, 2017,
[5] “8 civilians and 3 ISIS militants were killed U.S. airstrikes in al Bayda governorate,” Al Masdar, November 30, 2017,; and Demolinari, Twitter, November 30, 2017,
[6] “AQAP Leader Presents Lectures on Book by 15th Century Military Strategist,” SITE, November 30, 2017, available by subscription at; and Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, November 30, 2017,
[7] Harun Maruf, Twitter, December 1, 2017,;  Garowe Online, Twitter, December 1, 2017,; and Al Shabaab militants ambush Somali officials in Mahas, Telegram, December 1, 2017. 
[8] “First 2,400 troops from Puntland integration into Somali National Army,” Goobjoog, November 30, 2017,

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