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: Al Houthi drone targets Saudi Arabia; al Houthi movement claims major drone attack on Saudi Arabia; Saudi Patriot missile supply is low; al Houthis use Mi-24 gunship in Ma’rib
Somalia: US and UK warn of election violence; weapons sales boom in Mogadishu; al Shabab conducts grenade attack in southern Somalia
Yemen Security Brief
The al Houthi movement launched one explosive-laden drone targeting "western" Saudi Arabia on December 7.[i] Saudi air defenses intercepted the drone. The al Houthis fired a second explosive-laden drone targeting Jizan region, Saudi Arabia, on December 7. It landed on a public road in Jizan region.
The al Houthi movement claimed it fired 25 drones and “a number of missiles” at Saudi targets in Riyadh, Taif, Jeddah, and southern Saudi Arabia.[ii] There are no videos of the alleged attacks. State Department spokesperson Ned Price broadly condemned al Houthi “drone and missile attacks” on December 6-7.[iii] The al Houthi movement also targeted Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with one ballistic missile on December 6.[iv] Saudi air defenses intercepted the missile.
US and Saudi officials said Saudi stocks of Patriot surface-to-air missiles (SAM) are “dangerously low” on December 7.[v] Saudi Arabia uses the Patriot SAM system to intercept drone and missile attacks. The US Senate rejected a resolution attempting to block a sale of 280 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles to Saudi Arabia on December 7.[vi]
The al Houthi movement used an Mi-24 helicopter gunship for close air support near al Balaq mountain, east of Ma’rib city on December 7.[vii]
Somalia Security Brief
US Chargé d’Affaires in Somalia Colleen Crenwelge and UK Ambassador to Somalia Kate Foster warned about potential election violence during a press conference on November 7.[viii] The two representatives urged non-violence in separate meetings with Farmaajo administration officials, the Somali prime minister’s office, and opposition leaders.
Weapons sales and prices in Mogadishu reached their highest levels since 2009.[ix] Arms traders say political violence in Mogadishu in April and worries about further conflict are spurring the increases.
An al Shabaab militant threw a grenade at a police station in Marka, the regional capital of the Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia, on December 8.[x] The explosion killed at least three people.
[i] Mareb Press, “The coalition announces the details of intercepting and destroying a hostile air target towards Saudi Arabia,” December 8, 2021, https://marebpress.net/news_details.php?sid=180231&lang=arabic.
[ii] Yahya Sare’e, Twitter, December 7, 2021, https://twitter.com/Yahya_Saree/status/1468134936561561604?s=20.
[iii] U.S. State Dept – Near Eastern Affairs, Twitter, December 7, 2021, https://twitter.com/StateDept_NEA/status/1468305385572470789?s=20.
[iv] Al Arabiya as Saudiya, Twitter, December 6, 2021, https://twitter.com/AlArabiya_KSA/status/1467911095767687175?s=20.
[v] Gordon Lubold, “Saudi Arabia pleads for missile-defense resupply as its arsenal runs low,” The Wall Street Journal, December 7, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-arabia-pleads-for-missile-defense-resupply-as-its-arsenal-runs-low-11638878400.
[vi] Brian Slodysko, “Senate rejects bipartisan bid to stop $650M Saudi arms sale,” Associated Press, December 8, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-saudi-arabia-middle-east-rand-paul-yemen-1440cc97a0304f20ca080062a24ca001.
[vii] Khalid Muhammad Qaid Taiman al Jahmi, Twitter, December 8, 2021, https://twitter.com/jO0OuJCfZAYWImk/status/1468563247456473095?s=20; and Ali al Sakani, Twitter, December 7, 2021, https://twitter.com/Alsakaniali/status/1468316425395789825?s=20.
[viii] Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, “US and UK ambassadors warn election violence in Somalia,” Somali Affairs, December 8, 2021, https://www.somaliaffairs.com/features/u-s-and-uk-ambassadors-warn-election-violence-in-somalia/.
[ix] Goobjoog News English, “Weapon sales, demand, the highest in Mogadishu since 2009 – arms dealers,” December 8, 2021, https://goobjoog.com/english/weapon-sales-demand-the-highest-in-mogadishu-since-2009-arms-dealers/.
[x] Radio Risaala, “Casualties of bomb blast in Marka town,” December 8, 2021, https://radiorisaala.com/khasaaro-ka-dhashay-weerar-bambaano-oo-ka-dhacay-magaalada-marka/.