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 missile targets Saudi Arabia; pro-government forces recapture positions in Ma’rib; UN Envoy meets with al Houthis; al Houthis condemn UN Envoy

Somalia: Al Shabaab seizes a town near the Galmudug State capital in central Somalia; Somali electoral commission orders state governments to begin elections; AU emphasizes its support for a joint force with the UN 

Yemen Security Brief

The al Houthi movement fired one ballistic missile targeting Khamis Mushait, Saudi Arabia on December 14. Saudi air defenses intercepted the missile.[i]

Pro-government forces recaptured positions on eastern al Balaq Mountain on December 15.[ii] Al Houthi forces seized some areas atop al Balaq between December 8 and December 13.

The UN Envoy to Yemen met with the chief al Houthi negotiator, unspecified Yemeni government officials, and representatives from the General People’s Congress in Muscat, Oman on December 13.[iii]

The head of the al Houthi Supreme Revolutionary Council condemned the UN Envoy to Yemen for “standing with [the Saudis]” on December 14.[iv] The UN Envoy briefed the UN Security Council on the situation in Yemen on December 14.[v]

Somalia Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants seized Eldhere, Galgudud region, central Somalia, without encountering security forces on December 14.[vi] Al Shabaab operatives blew up the town’s police station, a military base, and other administrative buildings. Eldhere is approximately 30 km west of the Galmudug State capital Dhusamareb. Al Shabaab briefly captured a town roughly 100km west along the same road as Eldhere on December 13.[vii]

The Somali Federal Electoral Commission ordered Hirshabelle, Jubbaland, and Puntland States to begin lower house elections within 48 hours the night of December 13.[viii] The official notice said the states must either start elections or clarify the challenges prohibiting them from doing so. The Jubbaland Regional Election Committee announced it would begin elections shortly for fourteen of its lower house seats on December 14.[ix]

The African Union (AU) reiterated its support to convert the African Union Mission in Somalia to a joint AU-United Nations (UN) force on December 15.[x] The AU highlighted an African Union assessment team report from May 2021 that called for the joint force to be 50 percent police, 35 percent military personnel, and 15 percent civilian. The UN and Somali Federal Government previously rejected this proposal in 2021.[xi]

[i] Al Bawabah, “Arab coalition: Saudi defenses destroyed a missile fired at Khamis Mushait,” December 14, 2021,

[ii] Al Mashhad al Yemeni, “The army regains control of the most important strategic sites in ma’rib from the grib of the Houthi militias,” December 14, 2021,; and Liam Karr and Brian Carter, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – December 13, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute,; and Liam Karr and Brian Carter, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – December 10, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute,

[iii] Al Mashhad al Yemeni, “The government’s first response to the meeting of the UN envoy with the delegation of the Houthis and the Congress Party in Oman,” December 14, 2021,; and Samy Magdy, “Officials: Military leader killed in fighting for Yemen city,” Associated Press, December 13, 2021,

[iv] Muhammad Ali al Houthi, Twitter, December 14, 2021,

[v] Office of the Special Envoy in Yemen, Twitter, December 14, 2021,

[vi] Goobjoog, “Al Shabaab recaptures El-dhere town in central Somalia,” December 14, 2021,

[vii] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review-December 13, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, December 13, 2021,

[viii] Zahra Axmed Gacal, “Federal Electoral Commission issues decision on Federal Elections,” December 13, 2021,

[ix] Somali Dispatch, “Jubaland to hold elections for 14 Lower House seats,” December 14, 2021,

[x] Halbeeg, “AU insists deployment of AU-UN force in Somalia,” December 15, 2021,

[xi] Radio Risaala, “African Union announces plan to replace AMISOM mission,” December 15, 2021,

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