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: President Hadi rejects UN peace proposal; al Houthi delegation meets with Iranian-backed Iraqi Shia militia in Baghdad; popular resistance forces claim to kill al Houthi-Saleh troops in northern al Dhaleh governorate; Saudi-led coalition targets al Houthi-Saleh positions in northern Yemen

Horn of Africa: Puntland Security Forces drive ISIS-linked forces from Qandala, Bari region; al Shabaab militants attack SNA positions in Lower and Middle Shabelle region

Yemen Security Brief

  • President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi reiterated his rejection of a UN peace plan for Yemen in a letter to the UN Security Council on December 6. President Hadi warned that the plan would legitimize the al Houthi-Saleh faction and create a “dangerous international precedent” that encourages actors to ignore democratic outcomes. President Hadi added new conditions for the peace process, including a self-imposed ten-year exile for the al Houthi-Saleh faction’s top leadership. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) announced its support for the UN peace plan at the 37th GCC summit on December 7. The proposed UN peace plan would transfer President Hadi’s powers to a new consensus vice president. The plan also requires al Houthi-Saleh forces to withdraw from seized territory and hand over heavy weapons to a third party. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hinted at a possible “small breakthrough” with President Hadi at an event in Washington D.C. on December 4.[1] 
  • Secretary General Qais al Khazali of Asaib Ahl al Haq (AAH), an Iranian-backed Iraqi Shia militia, met with an al Houthi delegation in Baghdad on November 29, according to the official AAH website. Al Khazali expressed his support of the Yemenis “steadfastness” in the face of “Saudi aggression.” The al Houthi delegation reportedly met with multiple representatives from AAH while in Baghdad and may have held meetings in the Iranian embassy. AAH spokesman Jawad Tlabawi acknowledged the possibility of cooperation between the al Houthis and Asaib Ahl al Haq on December 6. Tlabawi also stated that the meeting should serve as a warning to Saudi Arabia. The al Houthi delegation also met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi and Iraqi President Fuad Masoum in Baghdad on September 1.[2]
  • Hadi-allied popular resistance forces claimed to kill 10 al Houthi-Saleh troops in Hammak, northern al Dhaleh governorate in central Yemen on December 6. Hadi government forces last attacked al Houthi-Saleh forces in northern al Dhaleh on November 30.[3]
  • Saudi-led coalition airstrikes targeted al Houthi-Saleh positions in northern Yemen between December 6 and 7. The coalition struck a military engineering college in northern Sana’a city on December 7 and an al Houthi-Saleh camp in Attan area, southwest of Sana’a city, on December 6. The coalition reportedly targeted former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s house in al Hudaydah city on December 7.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Puntland Security Forces (PSF) drove ISIS-linked forces from Qandala town in the Bari region of Somalia on December 7. Abdiqadir Mumin’s ISIS-linked forces entered the town on October 26. PSF forces assaulted the port city from sea and land in an operation that began on November 29. PSF claimed to kill 33 of Mumin’s fighters. The militants reportedly fled in the direction of Galgala town in Bari region.[5]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked Somali National Army (SNA) positions in a village located outside Jowhar in Middle Shabelle region on December 7. Al Shabaab claimed to kill three SNA soldiers. Shabaab militants may have also attacked a second SNA position in Warhaman village in Lower Shabelle region on December 7, killing an additional three individuals.[6]

[1] Yara Bayoumy, “Yemen says U.N. roadmap to end conflict sets 'dangerous precedent',” Reuters, December 6, 2016,; “Statement from the summit of Gulf states of Bahrain announces support for the road map presented by the Special Envoy of the United Nations of the Parties to Yemen,” Aden tomorrow, December 2, 2016,; and “Remarks at the Saban Forum,” DoS, December 4, 2016,
[2] “Sheikh Qais al-Khazali Secretary receives an official delegation of the Political Council of the Ansar Allah Yemen,” Ahlu al Haq, November 29, 2016,; “In a statement to "Faras" .. I had a meeting, "Qais al-Khazali," with "Ansar Allah" movement warning message to the Saudi aggression?,” Fars News. December 6, 2016,; “A delegation from the rebels secretly visiting Baghdad and Shiite crowd and meet Iranian leaders,” al Khabar Now, December 2, 2016,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review,” September 1, 2016,,
[3] “10 Houthis killed in battles against government forces in the Hammak area northern al Daleh,” al Masdar, December 6, 2016,
[4] “6 Airstrikes targeting Houthi positions in Sana’a and the home of former president in al Hudaydah,” Aden Times, December 7, 2016,; and “Alliance missiles bombed a camp in Sana’a,” Barakish, December 6, 2016,
[5] “Puntland forces recapture Qandala from IS militants,” Shabelle News, December 7, 2016,; “Puntland forces recapture Qandala town,” Goobjoog News, December 7, 2016,; and “Puntland to show off Qandala operations successes,” Goobjoog News, December 7, 2016,
[6] “Al shabaab says killed 3 Somali soldiers in attack,” Shabelle News, December 7, 2016,; and “Heavy fighting in Southern Somalia kills at least Three,” Shabelle News, December 7, 2016,
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