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: Saudi-led coalition airstrikes target IRGC and Lebanese Hezbollah; al Houthi drone targets Saudi Arabia; al Houthis down Saudi-led coalition drone; Saudi-led coalition airstrike destroys explosive-laden boat; al Houthi forces withdraw to defensible positions in Ma’rib

Somalia: Kenyan security forces arrest suspected al Shabaab militant; Eritrea may be interfering in Somali elections; Somali intelligence warns about al Shabaab IEDs in Mogadishu; President Farmaajo meets with Qatari emir 

Yemen Security Brief

The Saudi-led coalition conducted two airstrikes targeting Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Lebanese Hezbollah command and control sites at al Daylami airbase at Sana’a International Airport on November 30-December 1.[i] The airstrikes also targeted ballistic missile workshops and an air defense battery.[ii] These are the second and third airstrikes targeting IRGC and Hezbollah personnel in Yemen since November 18.[iii]

The al Houthi movement launched an explosive-laden drone targeting Saudi Arabia on December 1. The Saudi Air Force intercepted the missile over Amran governorate in northern Yemen. The coalition said the al Houthis launched the drone from Sana’a airport and promised retaliation.[iv]

The al Houthi movement claimed to shoot down a Saudi-led coalition CH-4 surveillance drone over al Amashya, Amran governorate on December 1.[v]

The Saudi-led coalition conducted an airstrike targeting an al Houthi explosive-laden boat near al Hudaydah port, western Yemen on December 1.[vi]

Al Houthi forces withdrew from their positions south of Ma’rib city to avoid Saudi airstrikes.[vii] The previous al Houthi positions were in relatively open desert near al Amoud village, Umm Reesh camp, and Wadi Dhanna.

Somalia Security Brief

Kenyan security forces arrested a woman linked to al Shabaab in Tinderet, Nandi County, southwestern Kenya, on November 30. The woman admitted al Shabaab trained her in small arms, kidnapping, and explosives after the group abducted her in 2019.[viii]

Eritrean agents may be interfering in Somalia’s elections to aid President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Farmaajo).[ix] Eritrean-trained Somalis are reportedly cooperating with Farmaajo’s political party to intimidate and spy on opposition candidates and electors.

Intelligence officials warned that al Shabaab militants possess at least eight improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Mogadishu.[x] The attackers intend to use the remaining explosives to target popular hotels and government buildings. Militants smuggled eleven IEDs into Mogadishu in early November and used three in attacks throughout Mogadishu.

President Farmaajo met with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al Thani in Doha, Qatar, on November 30.[xi] They discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation and relations. Qatar has been a close ally of Farmaajo during his presidency. A group of former Somali prime ministers and presidents accused Farmaajo of election rigging and threatened a boycott on November 27.[xii]

[i] Al Arabiya, “Arab coalition targets IRGC site in Yemen’s Sana’a: Report,” November 30, 2021,; and News Yemen Fronts, “The coalition targets Houthi sites that include experts and quality weapons in four governorates,” December 1, 2021,

[ii] Mareb Press, “The coalition targets the Revolutionary Guards in Sana’a and sends a warning to civilians,” November 30, 2021,; and Mareb Press, “The Coalition destroys a plane that took off from Sana’a airport and bombs the entire air defense battle and targets the 1st Armored Division,” December 1, 2021,

[iii] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – November 19, 2021,” November 19, 2021,

[iv] Mareb Press, “The coalition destroys a booby-tapped boat before carrying out an imminent attack in the southern Red Sea,” December 1, 2021,

[v] Al Alam, “Sana’a announces the downing of a Saudi-led reconnaissance plane,” December 1, 2021,

[vi] News Yemen Fronts, “The coalition targets Houthi sites that include experts and quality weapons in four governorates,” December 1, 2021,

[vii] Al Mashhad al Yemeni, “A sudden withdrawal of the Houthis from the outskirts of Ma’rib..and sources reveal a new military plan,” November 30, 2021,

[viii] Bruhan Makong, “Police Arrest Al-Shabaab Trained Woman in Nandi,” Capital FM, December 1, 2021,

[ix] Mohamed Adan, “Eritrean spy agents in Somalia to reinstate Farmaajo as president,” Somali Dispatch, December 1, 2021,; Goobjoog, “Eritrean spies set base in Mogadishu to work out Farmaajo’s reelection,” December 1, 2021,

[x] Keydmedia, “Explosions inside Mogadishu,” November 30, 2021,

[xi] Puntland Post, “President Farmaajo meets with Prince of Qatar, November 30, 2021,

[xii] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – November 29, 2021,” November 29, 2021,

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