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: AQAP’s media arm releases a video urging Arabs to take arms to protect the gains made throughout the Arab Spring; U.S. military leaders allegedly fed misleading intelligence by Yemeni government resulting in a missile attack on a local political leader; wave of labor unrest continues throughout Yemen

Horn of Africa: Gunman kills two Doctors Without Borders workers in Mogadishu; fighting breaks out between al Shabaab militants and AMISOM troops near Mogadishu; al Shabaab releases five communiqués on jihadist forums threatening Djiboutian troops and reporting recent attacks and activities

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) media arm al Malahem Foundation released a video on jihadist forums featuring former Guantanamo detainee Ibrahim al Rubaish on December 27. Rubaish urges Arabs to take arms to protect gains made in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia, and encourages more Arabs to participate in the armed struggles in Syria and Yemen. In Yemen specifically, Rubaish discusses the increasing influence the West has on the opposition, calling it America’s “tool.”[1]
  • Top U.S. military leaders believe the Yemeni government withheld valuable intelligence prior to a U.S. airstrike that killed six people including Jabir Shabwani, deputy governor of Ma’rib governorate in central Yemen on May 25, 2011. U.S. military leaders believe that the Yemeni government knew Shabwani would be at the site of the attack and failed to notify them. The Wall Street Journal reports, “[Shabwani’s] relationship with [President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s] family had soured.”[2]
  • Labor strikes continue throughout Yemen as workers demand reforms and the dismissal of their managers on allegations of corruption. The strikes were sparked by employees of Yemenia Airlines who successfully demanded the dismissal of their director and the son-in-law of President Ali Abdullah Saleh last week.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A security officer Ahmed Ali reported that a former employee shot and killed two foreign Doctors Without Borders workers in its office in Mogadishu.[4]
  • Clashes between al Shabaab militants and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops broke out in Heliwa district outside the capital of Mogadishu. The number of casualties and injuries is unknown.[5]
  • Al Shabaab released five communiqués threatening Djiboutian troops arriving in Mogadishu and reporting recent activities. Al Shabaab claims that 15 Somali soldiers surrendered in Jubba, and that 20 AMISOM soldiers were killed in Dharkenley district outside of Mogadishu in a recent attack. Finally, al Shabaab claims the Haji Saliban clan vowed to fight side by side with al Shabaab.[6]

[1] “AQAP Official Speaks on Gains of Arab Spring, Urges Support for Fighters,” SITE Intelligence Group, December 28, 2011. Available at SITE.
[2] “US Doubts Intelligence that Led to Yemen Strike,” WSJ, December 29, 2011. Available:
[3] “Yemenis, on Strike, Demand that Their Managers Be Fired,” AP, December 28, 2011. Available:
[4] Farah Abdi Warsameh, “2 Doctors Without Borders Workers Shot in Somalia,” AP, December 29, 2011. Available:
[5] “Somalia: Al Shabaab Militants Attack AMISOM,” Garowe Online, December 29, 2011. Available:
[6] “Shabaab Threatens Djiboutian Forces, Reports Attack, Activities,” SITE Intelligence Group, December 27, 2011. Available at SITE.
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