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 SAM stops Saudi CAS sortie; al Houthis capture key Ma’rib positions; Yemeni forces kill Lebanese Hezbollah official

Somalia: Somali opposition releases an ultimatum; regional elders mediate a standoff between security forces in northern Somalia; Somali Transition Plan committee meets in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

The al Houthi movement claimed it used a surface-to-air missile (SAM) system to prevent Saudi close air support missions near Ma’rib city on December 9.[i] The Houthi military spokesperson said militants used a Fater-1 SAM system to turn away a Saudi F-15.

The al Houthi movement turned the left flank of the Yemeni Army’s positions on the strategically important al Balaq Mountain, southeast of Ma’rib city, on December 8.[ii] Pro-government forces recaptured their positions on December 9. Al Houthi attacks recaptured al Balaq a few hours later on December 9.[iii]

The Yemeni information minister claimed pro-government forces killed a Lebanese Hezbollah advisor close to Lebanese Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in Ma’rib governorate on December 9.[iv]

Somalia Security Brief

Opposition leaders released an ultimatum to the Somali Federal Government on December 9.[v] They demanded the release of the list of the 135 voting clan elders, federal confirmation of electoral delegations, and ensuring international observers are present at polling stations. The group indicated they would “take steps to save the nation and hold free and fair elections” if election officials failed to meet their terms.

Puntland State elders mediated the ongoing standoff between rogue Puntland paramilitary soldiers and the Puntland government in northern Somalia. The dispute began when the Puntland president fired the paramilitary commander on November 24.[vi] The commander and many troops refused to recognize the decision. The elders initially said the commander must cede control of the paramilitary to the government on December 7.[vii] They said the government should let the commander keep all the group’s equipment, pay outstanding paramilitary salaries, and provide the commander a personal security detachment in exchange. The elders revised their compromise on December 10 after the Puntland president rejected the initial offer. The revisions stipulated that the commander should only keep enough equipment to provide for his safety.[viii]

The Steering Committee for the Somali Transition Plan met on December 8 and 9 in Mogadishu.[ix] The Somali Transition Plan is an initiative for Somalia to assume sole responsibility for Somali security. The committee concluded that member state armed forces and federal armed forces needed to improve coordination and transparency.[x] The Somali foreign affairs minister, defense minister, internal security minister, armed forces commander, and national police chief sit on the committee.

[i] Yahya Sare’e, Twitter, December 9, 2021,

[ii] Al Mashhad al Yemeni, “A horrific massacre in Ma’rib… and an agency announces the Houthis’ control of al Balaq, and the battles will move to Wadi Ubaidah,” December 8, 2021,

[iii] Al Mashhad al Yemeni, “The son of ‘al-Arada’ was injured during fierce battles south of Ma’rib, and a Houthi attack with five combat formations faded after focused strikes by the ‘Yemeni Army’,” December 9, 2021,

[iv] Muammar al Eryani, Twitter, December 9, 2021,; and Jesr Press, “A leader in Hezbollah close to Hassan Nasrallah killed,” December 9, 2021,

[v] Puntland Post, “Candidates’ Association makes conditions for parliamentary elections,” December 9, 2021,

[vi] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – December 3, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, December 3, 2021,

[vii] Asad Cabdullahi Mataan, “Puntland leaders issue new resolution on PSF crisis following Deni’s rejection,” Caasimada, December 10, 2021,

[viii] Somali Dispatch, “Puntlnad opposes tribal elders’ resolution to PSF dispute,” December 8, 2021,

[ix] Somali Dispatch, “Somalia opens National Security Transition Conference,” December 9, 2021,

[x] Hiiraan Online, “Inauguration of STP Strategic Steering Committee 8th and 9th December 2021,” December 10, 2021,

View Citations
Arrow down red
Jan '22
Dec '21
Nov '21