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: U.S. Ambassador to UN presents evidence of Iran’s military support for al Houthi movement; Islah party reportedly cut ties with Muslim Brotherhood; Hadi government forces advance frontlines in Shabwah governorate, eastern Yemen

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants raid military base in Bari region, Puntland, northern Somalia; al Shabaab IEDs target SNA near Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley publicly presented evidence of Iran’s military support for the al Houthi movement in Washington D.C. on December 14. Haley reported that the November 4 al Houthi ballistic missile fired at Riyadh was an Iranian-made Qiam-1. Haley unveiled components linked to Iran of a Qiam-1 ballistic missile, anti-tank guided (ATG) Toophan missile, Qasef-1 kamikaze drone, and a remote-controlled explosive boat all recovered by the UAE and Saudi Arabia in Yemen. Haley emphasized that these weapon transfers violated UN Security Council Resolution 2216 and 2231. Iran’s mission to the UN called Haley’s assessment of the weapons fabricated, and described U.S. allegations as irresponsible, provocative, and destructive. Saudi Arabia welcomed the U.S. position announced by Haley. Senior al Houthi movement official Abdul Malik al Ejri accused the U.S. of opportunistically diverting Arab attention away from Jerusalem after three years of civil war in Yemen.[1] 

Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash reported that the Islah party cut ties with the Muslim Brotherhood on December 14. Emirati Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Islah party leadership in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on December 13. The Vice President of the Emirati-backed Transitional Political Council of the South (STC), which rivals the internationally recognized Yemeni government in southern Yemen, called this meeting a step in the right direction. The STC banned the Islah party from Aden city, southern Yemen in July, and Emirati-backed security forces temporarily arrested Islah party members in Aden in October.[2]

Forces aligned with the internationally recognized Hadi government advanced 16 miles into al Houthi-held territory in Bayhan district, Shabwah governorate, eastern Yemen on December 15. Hadi government forces entered Bayhan city after launching an offensive from the al Naqub area in Usaylan district.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants raided a Puntland military base in Galgala town near Boosaaso, Bari region, northern Somalia on December 15. Al Shabaab has attacked Puntland forces near Boosaaso five times since November 30. Al Shabaab uses its strongholds in the Galgala Mountains to attack Boosaaso.[4]  

Al Shabaab militants detonated two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) targeting Somali National Army forces in Alamada village in Lower Shabelle region, located 15 miles northwest of Mogadishu. Al Shabaab militants detonate IEDs along highways outside of Mogadishu to disrupt Somali troop movements.[5]

[1] Jim Garamone, “DoD Shows Iranian Weapons as Proof of Tehran’s Duplicitous Ambitions,” U.S. Department of Defense, December 14, 2017,; “Iran says weaponry displayed by Haley is 'fabricated',” Reuters, December 14, 2017,; “Saudis welcome U.N. report, U.S. stand on Iran's missile supplies to Houthis: agency,” Reuters, December 14, 2017,; and “Yemen's Houthis say Iranian missile charges a distraction from Jerusalem decision,” Reuters, December 14, 2017,
[2] Anwar Gargash, Twitter, December 14, 2017,
[3] “Forces loyal to the government resolve the Bayhan battle and the mass exodus of militias,” Aden Lang, December 15, 2017,; “The resistance is making great progress with Bayhan,” Aden Tomorrow, December 15, 2017,; “Shabwah, the army and resistance complete the liberation of Usaylan and the battles revolve around the outskirts of Bayhan city,” Al Masdar, December 15, 2017,; and “Great victories for the army and the southern resistance in Bayhan,” Aden Lang, December 15, 2017,
[4] Al Shabaab raids Puntland base and detonated two IEDs near Mogadishu, Telegram, December 15, 2017.
[5] Al Shabaab raids Puntland base and detonated two IEDs near Mogadishu, Telegram, December 15, 2017.

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