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.

[i] Aden Time, “Hadrami Hiba Leader: The First Region Has Two Options, Either to Leave by Peace or by War,” December 17, 2022,

[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,

[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,

[iv] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, December 18, 2022,

[v] AL Mashhad al Yemeni, “An explosion targeting the Southern Transitional Forces,” December 19, 2022,

[vi] Goobjoog, “Somali Military Kills 50 Al-Shabab Fighters in New Operation,” December 18, 2022,

[vii] Radio al Furqaan, “19 members of the SFG killed in a battle today in Middle Shabelle,” December 18, 2022,

[viii] U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs, “Federal Government of Somalia combats terrorists,” US Africa Command, December 18, 2022,

[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,

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