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: First Military Region fires on likely STC-backed protesters in Hadramawt; Houthi official calls American interests “legitimate [Houthi] targets”; STC-backed ROYG official says PLC “exhausted all options” for peace with Houthis; Possible AQAP fighters detonate IED targeting UAE-backed, STC-aligned forces in Shabwah

Somalia: SNA clears lingering al Shabaab havens in south-central Somalia with likely US drone support

Yemen Security Brief:

Pro-Southern Transitional Council (STC) media reported that the Yemeni 1st Military Region fired on likely STC-backed protesters in Seiyun, Wadi Hadramawt, eastern Yemen, on December 15.[i] Pro-STC media claimed that the protesters were peacefully marching.[ii] The protesters called for the replacement of the 1st Military Region’s forces with the UAE-backed Hadrami Elite Forces.[iii]

A Houthi Political Bureau member said American interests are “legitimate [Houthi] targets” in a statement on December 15.[iv] The official’s comments are a response to the White House’s pressure on the US Congress to withdraw the War Powers Resolution that would have ceased US support for Saudi Arabia on December 13. 

The STC-backed head of the Yemeni government (ROYG)’s Consultation and Reconciliation Commission said that the Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) has “exhausted all options and attempts to reach peace with the Houthis” on December 16.[v] The official said that the Houthis “desire...war more than any other option.”

Possible AQAP fighters detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting the UAE-backed, STC-aligned 5th Shabwani Defense Forces Brigade in the Salameen area, Markah Ulya district, Shabwah governorate, southern Yemen, on December 16.[vi] The IED “seriously injured” two soldiers in a “military supply vehicle.”

Somalia Security Brief:

Somali National Army (SNA) forces cleared Juhaay village IVO Adale district, Middle Shabelle region, with likely US drone support on December 14 and 15.[vii] Somali officials claimed the SNA killed at least 88 al Shabaab militants and destroyed an al Shabaab camp.[viii] Al Shabaab has been attacking SNA forces and supply lines across the forested areas of Adale and Adan Yabal districts since early December.[ix]

[i] Aden Lang, “Forces of the First Military Region Loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood Open Fire on Peaceful Demonstrators in the City of Seiyun,” December 15, 2022,

[ii] SMA News, “Happening now.. A Mass Peaceful March in Seiyun Against the First Military,” December 15, 2022,

[iii] SMA News, “First Military Militia Fires at Peaceful Demonstrators in Seiyun,” December 15, 2022,

[iv] 26 September News Houthi, “al Mahbashi: We are ready for any direct American escalation,” December 15, 2022,

[v] Al Mashhad al Yemeni, “The highest body affiliated to the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council Announces the Exhaustion of All Peace Options with al Houthi,” December 16, 2022,

[vi] Al Mashhad al Yemeni, “An Explosion Targets the ‘Shabwah Defense’ Forces… and Serious Injuries,” December 16, 2022,

[vii] Asad Cabdullahi Mataan, “Many al-Shabaab killed in an operation when the DF captured a new area,” Cassimada, December 16, 2022,

[viii] SONNA, “Almost 90 terrorists killed in Juhay village in the Middle Shabelle region,” December 15, 2022,

[ix] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – December 5, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, December 5, 2022,; Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – December 7, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, December 7, 2022,

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