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: U.S. judge throws out suit against Awlaki’s placement on a capture or kill list; Fahd al Quso designated as global terrorist by U.S. State Department and UN; WikiLeaks cables portray Yemen as a hubs for arms trade; Yemen to receive four helicopters in contract with Bell Helicopter

Horn of Africa: Fighting in Mogadishu leaves two dead and five wounded; TFG soldier executed in Mogadishu for killing fellow fighter; 300 insurgents complete military training in Baidoa

Yemen Security Brief

  • Nasser al Awlaki’s lawsuit aimed at proving that the placement of his son Anwar al Awlaki on a U.S. capture or kill list is unlawful was thrown out by U.S. District Judge John Bates on Tuesday.  The Yemeni born American cleric has urged Muslims to attack Americans and has been linked to the Fort Hood shooting and the Christmas day bombing.  The suit was dismissed because Judge Bates said Awlaki’s father did not have the authority to bring the case to court.  He wrote, “The serious issues regarding the merits of the alleged authorization of the targeted killing of a U.S. citizen overseas must await another day or another nonjudicial forum.”[1]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) member Fahd al Quso was designated as a global terrorist by the U.S. State Department and the UN on Tuesday.  His designation as a global terrorist will cause all of his assets to be frozen.  Quso was imprisoned in Yemen from 2002-2007 for his involvement in the USS Cole bombing in Yemen in 2000, and has since been involved in the leadership of AQAP.  Reports circulated in October that al Quso had been killed in a U.S. airstrike in North Waziristan in Pakistan, but Jason Blazakis, chief of the State Department’s Terrorist Designations Unit said, “we wouldn’t have designated him if we believed him deceased.”  Ambassador for counterterrorism to the State Department Daniel Benjamin said, “Today’s joint designation by the United States and the United Nations alerts the public that Fahd al Quso is actively engaged in terrorism…These actions expose and isolate individuals like al Quso and results in denial of access to the global financial system.”[2]
  • A July 2009 cable uncovered by WikiLeaks says that Washington sees Yemen as a key point in the movement of arms to Hamas and the Gaza Strip as well as a distribution point for arms going to Somalia and other East African countries.  The statement reads, “We understand a significant volume of arms shipments to Hamas make the short 24-hour transit across the Red Sea from Yemen to Sudan.”  In the memo it was brought up that the U.S. government is seeking permission from the Yemeni government to take up surveillance of Yemen’s coast and waters.  Other memos alluded to Yemeni purchases of arms from Serbian and Bulgarian dealers, which are encouraging a “robust black market” for guns in Yemen.[3]
  • As part of a $27 million contract with Bell Helicopter to support Yemen’s military requirements, Yemen will receive four Huey II helicopters and pilot and maintenance training in January 2011.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Review

  • Fighting between al Shabaab and the TFG and AMISOM Tuesday night left two dead and at least five wounded.  The fighting began when al Shabaab attacked AMISOM bases at Makka al Mukarama road.[5]
  • Nur Ahmed Shire, a 25-year old TFG soldier, was executed in Mogadishu after being convicted of killing another TFG soldier in June 2010.  Both soldiers were bodyguards of MP Mohamed Jama Furuh.[6]
  • Al Shabaab spokesmen in Baidoa announced that 300 insurgents have completed military training and are headed to Mogadishu to join the fight against the TFG and AMISOM.  Al Shabaab showed off their new militants to a group of civilians in Baidoa, and urged them to “join the jihad” against the TFG and AMISOM forces.[7]

[1] “Judge Tosses Targeted-Killing Case of Cleric,” AP, December 7, 2010. Available:
[2] “State Department Targets al Qaeda Operative in Yemen,” Wall Street Journal, December 7, 2010. Available: “US Adds AQAP Operative Fahd Quso to Terrorist List,” The Long War Journal, December 7, 2010. Available:
[3] “Yemen Key Transit Hub for Hamas Arms: Leaked Memo,” AFP, December 7, 2010. Available:
[4] “Yemen Expands Military Fleet,” Yemen Observer, December 8, 2010. Available:
[5] “2 Die, 5 Others Wounded in Mogadishu Last Night,” Mareeg Online, December 8, 2010. Available:
[6] “Somalia: TFG Executes Soldier, Shabaab Trains 300 Insurgents,” Garowe Online, December 7, 2010. Available:
[7] Ibid.
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