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: UN staff warned to stay home; tribes in Hadramawt demand withdrawal of state troops; GCC Supreme Council urges Yemenis to focus on concluding the NDC; NDC Southern Working Group meets with UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar; Country Planning Minister signs $550 million agreement with IMF; foreign minister meets with EU delegation; Executive Bureau created for international donor pledges; airstrikes in Abyan; Yemen to become 160th member state of WTO

Horn of Africa: Attempted attack on foreigners in Kenya; French to lead EU maritime effort; al Shabaab profiting off Kismayo port town

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Lebanese Daily Star quoted a UN source acknowledging the potential for an attack on December 12 in Sana’a, which has prompted an official order for UN staff to stay home. The anonymous source said it was a, “precautionary measure following advice from Yemeni security authorities.”[1]
  • In response to the killing of a sheikh in Hadramawt last week, local tribes have given the government of Hadramawt a ten-day period in which to withdraw all state military forces from the area. The tribesmen have threatened to overthrow the government should their demands not be met. Spokesperson Aleh Mola al Dwaila told the Yemen Times that the tribes are better able to protect themselves than the government ever could.[2]
  • An official closing statement following a two-day meeting of the GCC Supreme Council, “urged all forces participating in the comprehensive national dialogue to give priority to the supreme interests of Yemen.” The statement was issued in light of the increased security turmoil in Yemen.[3]
  • The “mini group” of the National Dialogue Southern Working Group met on December 11 under the guide of UN envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar and the Secretary General of the National Dialogue Conference Dr. Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak. The members continued to discuss the options for a regional-federal system in Yemen, and emphasized the need for more time to finalize a plan.[4]
  • Mohammed al Saadi, the Yemeni Planning and International Cooperation Minister, reported to Reuters that Yemen was close to signing a $550 million deal with the International Monetary Fund on December 11.[5]
  • Abu Bakr al Qirbi, the Yemeni Foreign Minister, met with the leading delegation of the European Union on December 12 in Sana’a. Saba News Agency reported that discussions focused on relations between Yemen, France, Britain and the European Union.[6]
  • On December 9, Mohammed al Saadi, the Yemeni Planning and International Cooperation Minister, officially created an executive bureau to deal specifically with donor pledges to Yemen. Hadi al Arabi, the manager of the bureau, told the Yemen Times that the bureau’s job is to make sure that pledges are, “used properly” and given to the places most needed.[7]
  • The Yemen Times reported a drone strike in the Ahwar area of Abyan in the early morning of December 10. According to the Abyan Security Chief and a soldier in the area at the time of the attack, two vehicles were hit and eight people were killed.[8]
  • Dr. Saad Eddin bin Taleb, Minister of Industry and Trade, returned to Sana’a December 12 after participating in the 6th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization. During his trip, Yemen was accepted to become the 160th member state of the WTO.[9]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • British tourists were the targets of a grenade attack on December 12 as they traveled to Kenya’s main port in Mombasa. The grenade failed to detonate, and police were able to remove the tourists to safety. There were no reported injuries.[10]
  • Xinhua reported that French troops will lead a collaborative EU maritime operation against Somali piracy. Harve Beljean, a French Navy officer, has become the commander of the EU navy to, “ensure there is no safe haven for pirates operating in the sea.”[11]
  • Somali and Kenyan leaders are frustrated with their inability to keep al Shabaab from profiting through illicit activities out of the southern port of Kismayo. Though security forces under the “African Union peacekeeping banner” and other state troops contribute to security measures at Kismayo, al Shabaab is still profiting off the rehabilitated southern port.[12]   

[1] “Yemen warning Closes UN Offices in Sana’a on Thursday: UN Source,” Daily Star Lebanon, December 11, 2013. Available:
[2] “Hadramawt Tribes Give Government Deadline, Call for Withdrawal of Troops,” Yemen Times, December 12, 2013. Available:
[3] “GCC Urges NDC to Yield Decisions, Preserve Yemen’s Stability and Unity,” Saba News Agency, December 11, 2013. Available:
[4] “Mini-group of South Issue Discuss Options of Federal State,” Saba News Agency, December 11, 2013. Available:
[5] “Yemen Sees Deal on $550 mln Loan from IMF in early 2014 – minister,” Reuters, December 11, 2013. Available:
[6] “Yemen Discusses Cooperation Relations with EU, France, Britain,” Saba News Agency, December 12, 2013. Available:
[7] “Yemen Fulfills Promise to Create Supervisory Body for Donors’ Pledges,” The Yemen Times, December 12, 2013. Available:
[8] “Alleged Drone Strike in Abyan Kills Eight,” Yemen Times, December 12, 2013. Available:
[9] “Minister of Industry Returns Home,” Saba News Agency, December 12, 2013. Available
[10] “Failed Grenade Attack on British Tourists in Kenya,” AFP, December 12, 2013. Available:
[11] “France to Lead EU Operation Against Piracy off Coast of Somalia,” Xinhua, December 12, 2013. Available:
[12] “Revival of Port Faces Challenges,” Oman Observer, December 11, 2013. Available:
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