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: IRGC and Hezbollah fighters reportedly smuggled out of Yemen in UN-sponsored medical evacuation to Oman; Hadi government delegation arrives in Sweden for UN-led peace consultations; Emirati-backed forces capture al Houthi navy headquarters in al Hudaydah

Horn of Africa: U.S. re-establishes permanent diplomatic presence in Somalia; U.S.-backed Somali forces raid al Shabaab checkpoints in Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

Iranian IRGC soldiers and Hezbollah militants were among the al Houthi members who were evacuated from Yemen to Oman on December 3, according to pro-Saudi media. The al Houthi movement issued passports with fake names for the IRGC and Hezbollah members. The UN sponsored an evacuation of 50 wounded al Houthi fighters to Oman on December 3. UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths allegedly was aware of the evacuation of IRGC and Hezbollah members.[1]

EDITOR'S NOTE: CORRECTIONA previous version of this Security Review had a November date for the UN-led peace consultations. The consultations are scheduled to begin on December 6.President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s delegation, led by Yemeni Foreign Minister Khalid al Yamani, arrived in Stockholm, Sweden for UN-led peace consultations on December 5. The al Houthi delegation arrived in Stockholm on December 4. Consultations are scheduled to begin on December 6.[2]

Emirati-backed Yemeni forces captured the al Houthi navy headquarters in al Hudaydah city, according to a pro-Hadi government source. Giants Brigade forces reportedly found lists of foreign trainers of al Houthi forces, Iranian-made equipment, and military plans. Giants Brigade forces attacked the al Houthi navy headquarters after al Houthi forces violated a ceasefire and shelled residential areas under coalition control, according to a Giants Brigade spokesperson.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The United States Department of State reestablished a permanent diplomatic presence in Somalia for the first time since 1991 on December 2. The U.S. re-established its diplomatic mission for Somalia in 2015 but based it in the U.S. embassy in Nairobi. Newly confirmed U.S. Ambassador to Somalia, Donald Yamamoto, made his first trip to Mogadishu on November 15.[4]

U.S.-backed Somali National Army (SNA) forces raided two al Shabaab checkpoints in Awdheegle town, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia on December 4. Suspected U.S. aircraft also conducted an airstrike targeting an al Shabaab car filled with explosives in the same area that was being prepared for a complex attack. United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) did not confirm the operation.[5]


[1]“Houthi militias escape Lebanese and Iranian intelligence agents with fake names on UN flight,” Al Yemen Today, December 4, 2018,; “and “Houthis escape Iranians and Lebanese with fake names and fake passports,” Sabq, December 4, 2018,

[2] “The Government Delegation Heads to Sweden to Participate in Peace Consultations,” 7adramout, December 5, 2018,

[3] “Important findings following Houthi militias in control of National Army,” Mareb Press, December 4, 2018,

[4] Heather Nauert, “Reestablishment of a Permanent Diplomatic Mission Presence in Somalia,” U.S. Department of State, December 4, 2018,; “State Department announces re-establishment of ‘permanent diplomatic presence’ in Somalia,” CNN, December 5, 2018,; and “US re-establish permanent diplomatic presence in Somalia,” Goobjoog, December 5, 2018,

[5] “Somali Officials Report Deadly US-backed raid on al Shabaab,” Associated Press, December 5, 2018,; “US, Somali forces raid on Al Shabaab base in Awdhegle town,” Mareeg, December 5, 2018,; and “Fighter jets bomb Al-Shabaab stronghold in Somalia,” Radio Shabelle, December 5, 2018,

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