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: Saudi media allege al Houthi leaders disagree over Stockholm Agreement; al Houthi forces recruited 18,000 children during course of war; British UN representative drafts resolution for Yemen; Omani Foreign Minister meets with U.S. Secretary of State to discuss Yemen; al Houthi forces claim to fire ballistic missiles at southern Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab claims to clash with U.S. and Somali forces outside Afgoi; al Shabaab claims to raid police stations in Mogadishu; Ethiopia appoints new consul to Somaliland

Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi military leader Abu Ali al Hakim rejected the recent UN-mediated Stockholm Agreement, according to Saudi media. Al Hakim’s rejection of agreement exacerbated disputes between al Hakim and President of the al Houthi Supreme Political Council Mahdi al Mushat. Saudi media claimed that al Houthi violations of the al Hudaydah ceasefire are due to inter-al Houthi disagreements.[1]

Al Houthi forces have recruited 18,000 children since the beginning of the war in 2014, according to an anonymous senior al Houthi military official. The UN previously reported that al Houthi forces have recruited 2,721 children over the course of the war.[2]

The British representative to the United Nations Security Council drafted a resolution to implement the al Hudaydah ceasefire and alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Yemen on December 19. The U.S. representative to the Security Council requested that a new draft of the resolution condemn Iran, but the Russian representative objected. The Kuwaiti representative also rejected the draft. The Security Council is expected to vote on the draft by December 21.[3]

Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi met with U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in Washington on December 20 to discuss the UN-led consultations.[4]

Al Houthi forces claimed to fire two Zilzal 1 ballistic missiles at Saudi troops in Najran region, southern Saudi Arabia on December 19. Al Houthi forces also claimed to target a Saudi military camp with a Zilzal 1 ballistic missile in Asir region, southern Saudi Arabia on December 19. The strikes have not been confirmed.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab claimed to clash with U.S. and Somali forces in the Balad al Amin area outside of Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia on December 19. Al Shabaab did not report any casualties. The attack has not been confirmed.[6]

Al Shabaab claimed to attack police stations in the Yaqshid district and Garasbaley area of Mogadishu on December 19. The attacks have not been confirmed.[7]

Ethiopia sent a new consul to Hargeisa, Somaliland’s capital, on December 18. Ethiopia recalled the previous consul, Berhe Tesfaye, in October. Ethiopian authorities arrested Tesfaye for corruption on November 8. The Council of Oromo Traditional Leaders and the Somaliland Traditional Leaders pledged to strengthen relations between Ethiopians and Somalilanders and end Oromo-Somali hostilities during a conference in Hargeisa on December 17.[8]

[1] “Sharp split between al Houthi senior leaders,” Al Montasaf, December 19, 2018,; and “Disagreements between senior al Houthi leaders,” 7adramout, December 19, 2018,

[2] “Children as young as 10 fight, kill and die in Yemen’s war,” Associated Press, December 19, 2018,

[3] “Kuwait objects to British draft resolution on Yemen,” Middle East Monitor, December 19, 2018,; Michelle Nichols, “As UN mulls how to back Yemen truce, US wants to call out Iran,” Reuters, December 19, 2018,; and “United Kingdom to put forward United Nations resolution to protect Yemen truce,” Times Now News, December 20, 2018,

[4] “ U.S. Secretary of State meets with Omani Foreign MInister,” Arab Youm, December 20, 2018,

[5] “Al Houthi forces target Saudi troop positions in Najran,” Al Masirah, December 19, 2018,; and “Al Houthi forces target Saudi military camp in Asir,” Al Masirah, December 20, 2018,  

[6] “Shabaab reports engaging in clash with U.S. and Somali forces in Lower Shabelle,” SITE Intelligence Group, December 19, 2018, English translation available by subscription at

[7] “Shabaab reports engaging in clash with U.S. and Somali forces in Lower Shabelle,” SITE Intelligence Group, December 19, 2018, English translation available by subscription at

[8]Goth Mohamed Goth, “Somaliland Traditional elders and Oromo Traditional council Pledge to strengthen relations,” Somaliland Current, December 19, 2018,; “Ethiopia sends consul to Somaliland,” Radio Shabelle, December 18, 2018,; and “Somaliland: Ethiopia Arrests its Ex-General Consul in Hargeisa Brigadier Berhe Tesfaye,” MENA FN, November 20, 2018,

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