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.

The Gulf of Aden Security Review will resume on Wednesday, January 5, 2022.

Yemen: Al Houthi missiles and drones target Saudi Arabia; al Houthis may have expelled the Iranian ambassador to Sana’a; Egypt facilitates talks between Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the al Houthis

Somalia: Somali prime minister will meet with Somali state leaders to address election concerns; al Shabaab attacks Kenyan forces in northeastern Kenya

Yemen Security Brief

The al Houthi movement launched one drone and at least six ballistic missiles targeting southern Saudi Arabia on December 15-16. The al Houthi movement fired five ballistic missiles targeting King Khalid Airbase, Khamis Mushait, southern Saudi Arabia on December 15.[i] Saudi air defenses intercepted two missiles. The al Houthi movement claimed the missiles hit a “warplane” hangar. The al Houthis also fired a “projectile” at an industrial area in southern Jizan city, Jizan region on December 15.[ii] The al Houthis launched one drone at “southern Saudi Arabia” on December 16.[iii]

Regional and Western officials said the al Houthi movement asked Saudi Arabia to allow the Iranian ambassador to the al Houthi movement to return to Tehran.[iv] The al Houthis claimed he requires treatment for COVID-19, but regional officials said the ambassador does not appear sick.

Qatari-owned regional news outlet al Araby al Jadeed claimed the Egyptian government facilitated indirect talks on Yemen between the al Houthi movement, Iran, and Saudi Arabia in Cairo, Egypt.[v] Egyptian diplomatic sources did not say when the talks occurred.


Somalia Security Brief

Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble said he would convene the National Consultative Council to address election concerns. Roble and the Federal Member State presidents compose the council. Roble has not announced an official date for the meeting, but the group will likely meet next week.[vi]

Al Shabaab killed six Kenyan soldiers in two separate attacks in Mandera County, northeastern Kenya, on December 17. Al Shabaab militants ambushed Kenyan security forces in Rhamu district, between Sarman and Dhaaydhaay. Al Shabaab killed three soldiers in the ambush. Kenyan security forces were pursuing the militants after al Shabaab raided a police station earlier in the day.[vii] Other al Shabaab militants ambushed Kenyan Defense Force soldiers on patrol near Darbo-adado village.[viii]

[i] Yahya Sare’e, Twitter, December 15, 2021,

[ii] SPARegions, Twitter, December 15, 2021,

[iii] News Yemen Fronts, “The Coalition intercepted two ballistic missiles launched by the Houthi militia on Saudi Arabia,” December 16, 2021,

[iv] Dion Nissenbaum, “Yemen’s Houthis seek departure of top Iranian diplomat,” The Wall Street Journal, December 17, 2021,

[v] Al Araby al Jadeed, “Egyptian mediation between Saudi Arabia, the Houthis, and Iran,” December 16, 2021,

[vi] Asad Cabdullahi Mataan, “Roble ‘convenes a meeting’ of state leaders,” Caasimada, December 17, 2021,

[vii] Radio Dalsan, “Fighting erupts between Kenyan forces and Al-Shabaab,” December 17, 2021,

[viii] Somali Dispatch, “Al-Shabaab claims to have launched attacks in Kenya,” December 17, 2021,

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