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,

[ii] Yahya Sare’e, Twitter, December 7, 2021,

[iii] U.S. State Dept – Near Eastern Affairs, Twitter, December 7, 2021,

[iv] Al Arabiya as Saudiya, Twitter, December 6, 2021,

[v] Gordon Lubold, “Saudi Arabia pleads for missile-defense resupply as its arsenal runs low,” The Wall Street Journal, December 7, 2021,

[vi] Brian Slodysko, “Senate rejects bipartisan bid to stop $650M Saudi arms sale,” Associated Press, December 8, 2021,

[vii] Khalid Muhammad Qaid Taiman al Jahmi, Twitter, December 8, 2021,; and Ali al Sakani, Twitter, December 7, 2021,

[viii] Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, “US and UK ambassadors warn election violence in Somalia,” Somali Affairs, December 8, 2021,

[ix] Goobjoog News English, “Weapon sales, demand, the highest in Mogadishu since 2009 – arms dealers,” December 8, 2021,

[x] Radio Risaala, “Casualties of bomb blast in Marka town,” December 8, 2021,

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