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: The STC and its allies continue their media and protest campaign against the First Military Region; Houthi forces threaten anti-Houthi naval forces in the Red Sea; AQAP reestablishes website; AQAP fighters detonate IED targeting STC-backed forces
Somalia: SNA clear another al Shabaab haven in south-central Somalia with US drone support; US claims recent drone strikes in south-central Somalia
Yemen Security Brief:
The Southern Transitional Council (STC) continued to agitate against the First Military Region in Wadi Hadramawt on December 17. The leader of a pro-STC, likely STC-support political group said that the First Military Region could either leave Hadramawt “by peace or by war.”[i] The STC’s spokesperson called on the Saudi-led coalition to order the First Military Region to leave Wadi Hadramawt on the same day in a speech in Wadi Hadramawt.[ii]
The Houthi Coastal Defense Brigade commander said on December 17 that the Houthis are “closely monitoring...hostile forces” in the Bab al Mandeb and Red Sea.[iii] He added that the protection of these areas is a Houthi “responsibility” and Houthi forces have the “ability to do so.”
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) re-established its website on December 18.[iv]
Likely AQAP fighters detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a STC-backed al Hizam Security Forces vehicle in Lauder district, Abyan governorate on December 19.[v] Yemeni media did not report any casualties.
Somalia Security Brief:
Somali National Army (SNA) forces with US drone support cleared al Shabaab from Daru Na’im, Adan Yabal district, Middle Shabelle region, on December 17.[vi] Somali officials claimed to kill at least 50 al Shabaab militants. Al Shabaab claimed to kill 19 soldiers and wound 13 others in the fighting.[vii]
The US claimed recent drone strikes targeting al Shabaab in Middle Shabelle Region, south-central Somalia, on December 18.[viii] The first strike was in support of SNA forces near Juhay, Adale district, on December 14, killing seven al Shabaab militants.[ix] The second strike on December 17 killed eight al Shabaab militants near Daru Na’im.
[ii] SMA News, “al Kathiri: The People of Hadramawt are Ready to Fight the Battles Against the First Military Zone, if it is Imposed on Us,” December 17, 2022, https://smanews.org/%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%ac%d9%86%d9%88%d8%a8-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%b9%d8%b1%d8%a8%d9%8a/313380/.
[iii] 26 September News Houthi, “Maj. Gen. Mohammed al Qadri: We Are the Masters of Our Seas, and We Are the Ones Who Will Rule and Protect Them,” December 17, 2022, https://26sep.net/index.php/local/49051-2022-12-17-12-45-56.
[iv] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, December 18, 2022, https://twitter.com/Dr_E_Kendall/status/1604449947448971264?s=20&t=8qnurtHJyL0wr27xvAIZxg.
[vi] Goobjoog, “Somali Military Kills 50 Al-Shabab Fighters in New Operation,” December 18, 2022, https://goobjoog.com/english/somali-military-kills-50-al-shabab-fighters-in-new-operation/.
[vii] Radio al Furqaan, “19 members of the SFG killed in a battle today in Middle Shabelle,” December 18, 2022, https://radioalfurqaan.com/2022/12/19-ka-tirsan-ciidanka-df-oo-lagu-dilay-dagaal-maanta-ka-dhacay-sh-dhexe/.
[viii] U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs, “Federal Government of Somalia combats terrorists,” US Africa Command, December 18, 2022, https://www.africom.mil/pressrelease/34831/federal-government-of-somalia-combats-terrorists.
[ix] U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs, “Federal Government of Somalia combats terrorists”; Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – December 16, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, December 16, 2022, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-december-16-2022.