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 presents draft agreements to Hadi government and al Houthi delegations; Saudi Arabia proposes regional diplomatic body for Red Sea and Horn of Africa; UN accuses Iran of supplying al Houthi movement with ballistic and guided missiles; Russian deputy foreign minister discusses Yemen with Iranian ambassador to Russia

Horn of Africa: Somali Lower House speaker promises to continue impeachment proceedings against President Farmajo despite invalidation of motion; al Shabaab ambushes Ethiopian AMISOM convoy in Bakool region; Southwest state security forces intercept car carrying grenades in Baidoa; influx of IDPs makes Mogadishu most crowded city in Africa

Yemen Security Brief

The UN presented President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government and the al Houthi movement with four draft agreements focusing on a political framework, the reopening of Sana’a airport, the status of al Hudaydah port city, and the economic situation in Yemen. The Hadi government and the al Houthi movement announced on December 11 that they will exchange 15,000 prisoners in late January 2019 with the support of the International Committee of the Red Cross.[1]  

Saudi Arabia proposed the creation of a regional diplomatic body for Red Sea and the Horn of Africa countries on December 12. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir announced that the body would facilitate cooperation on economic, environmental and security issues. Jubeir suggested that the body would include Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Djibouti, Yemen, Jordan, and Somalia.[2]

The Saudi-led coalition seized Iranian guided anti-tank missiles used by the al Houthi movement in Yemen in 2016 and 2017, according to a new confidential UN report.[3]

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov met with Iranian Ambassador to Russia Mehdi Sanaei in Moscow on December 11. Bogdanov and Sanaei discussed Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The parliamentary clerk of the Somali Federal Government (SFG), Abdikarim Haji Abdi Buh, stated that a parliamentary effort to impeach President Farmajo is invalid on December 11. Buh stated that 14 of the 92 lawmakers who reportedly signed the impeachment motion have denied doing so, placing the motion below the threshold of required signatures. Speaker of the Lower House Mohamed Mursal issued a letter stating that the impeachment process is still valid and that parliament will take steps to begin impeachment proceedings according to the constitution. Mursal’s two deputies have pushed Mursal to drop impeachment efforts. Mursal has left his residence in Villa Somalia, which houses Somalia’s parliament, and relocated to a house near the Mogadishu airport.[5]

Al Shabaab militants ambushed an Ethiopian convoy from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in Wajid district, Bakool region, southern Somalia on December 11. Al Shabaab claimed to inflict multiple casualties.[6]

Southwest state security forces intercepted a vehicle carrying grenades in Baidoa, Bay region, southern Somalia on December 11. Security forces arrested the driver.[7]

More than 340,000 internally displaced people have fled to Mogadishu in the first half of 2018, according to a December 11 Norwegian Refugee Council report. The internally displaced Somalis are fleeing conflict, drought, and floods. The recent influx has made Mogadishu Africa’s most crowded city.[8]

[1] “CORRECTED: Yemen warring parties receive draft agreements at peace talks-UN spokeswoman,” Reuters, December 12, 2018,

[2] “Saudi Arabia calls for Red Sea, Horn of Africa grouping,” Anadolu Agency, December 12, 2018,; and “Saudi Arabia proposes the creation of grouping of 7 countries including Yemen,” Mareb Press, December 12, 2018,

[3] “UN accuses Iran of supplying al Houthi movement with ballistic and guided missiles in Yemen,” Saba New, December 12, 2018,; and “Two missiles launchers found in Yemen appears to be from Iran: UN,” Reuters, December 11, 2018,

[4] “On the meeting of the Special Representative of the president of the Russian Federation on the Middle East and Africa,” Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, December 11, 2018,

[5] “Somalia’s president dodges impeachment move,” Agence France Presse, December 11, 2018,; Harun Maruf, Twitter, December 12, 2018,; and “Speaker Mursal relocated from Villa Somalia,” Goobjoog, December 12, 2018,

[6] “Al-Shabaab ambushes Ethiopian military convoy in Somalia,” Radio Shabelle, August 12, 2018,

[7] “Security agencies seize vehicle with explosives in Baidoa,” Radio Shabelle, December 12, 2018,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review - December 11, 2018,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, December 11, 2018,

[8] “As Somalis flee to cities, Mogadishu becomes most crowded city in Africa,” Norwegian Refugee Council, December 11, 2018,

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