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: Yemen and UAE sign counterterrorism cooperation agreement; Houthi official threatens to attack the UAE; Houthi official threats to return to the “military option” to “break the siege”; US Envoy to Yemen commends Saudi truce efforts and condemns Houthi efforts to block the truce; ROYG-controlled Central Bank freezes accounts of 12 companies accused of transporting fuel to Houthi areas
Somalia: Al Shabaab attacks local militia base in central Somalia; SNA destroys al Shabaab positions in north-central Somalia; al Shabaab assassinates regional intelligence official
Yemen Security Brief:
Yemeni Defense Minister Mohsen al Daari and UAE Justice Minister Abdullah al Nuaimi signed an agreement on military, security, and counterterrorism cooperation on December 8.[i]
The Houthi deputy foreign minister condemned the UAE-Yemen agreement on December 9. The minister threatened the UAE with additional attacks against the UAE if the UAE refuses to “modify” its “hostile behavior,” including cooperation with Israel.[ii]
The Houthi deputy prime minister for defense and security affairs said on December 8 that the Houthis retain “the military option” to “break the siege on Yemeni airports and ports.”[iii]
US Envoy to Yemen Timothy Lenderking said during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on December 6 that the Houthis “prevented the UN from securing a new truce agreement in October.”[iv] Lenderking added that Saudi Arabia has taken “proactive steps… to secure the truce and ensure continued [Saudi] restraint.”
The Yemeni government (ROYG)-controlled Central Bank of Yemen froze the accounts of 12 companies accused of supplying fuel to Houthi-controlled areas on December 6.[v] The move is retaliation for Houthi attacks against ROYG oil infrastructure, which threatens the Yemeni government’s revenue.
Somalia Security Brief:
Al Shabaab attacked a local militia base in Beer Hani, Beledweyne district, Hiraan region, central Somalia, on December 8. Al Shabaab claimed to overrun the area and seize control.[vi] Local commanders claimed they repelled the attack and local militias still control the area.[vii]
Somali National Army (SNA) forces destroyed al Shabaab positions in a key crossroads area less than 15 miles from Dhusamareb town in Galgadud region, north-central Somalia, on December 7.[viii] The SNA and al Shabaab have been contesting this area since September 2022.[ix]
Al Shabaab assassinated the Gedo regional National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) chief along the road between Luuq and Dolow towns in the Gedo region, southwestern Somalia, on December 9.[x] NISA and the Jubbaland State administration opened separate investigations into the assassination.[xi]
[iv] US State Department, “US Special Envoy for Yemen House Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and Global Counterterrorism,” December 9, 2022, https://www.state.gov/u-s-special-envoy-for-yemen-house-foreign-affairs-committee-subcommittee-on-the-middle-east-north-africa-and-global-counterterrorism/.
[vi] Radio al Furqaan, “Al Shabaab forces have moved into an area near Beledweyne,” December 8, 2022, https://radioalfurqaan.com/2022/12/ciidamada-al-shabaab-oo-la-wareegay-degaan-u-dhow-baladweyne/.
[vii] Horseed, “Al Shabaab forces fought in an area on the outskirts of Beledweyne,” December 8, 2022, https://horseedmedia.net/ciidamada-dowladda-al-shabaab-oo-ku-dagaallamay-degaan-ku-yaalla-duleedka-magaalada-beledweyne-376046.
[viii] Radio Risaala, “The government forces destroyed al Shabaab in Galgadud,” December 7, 2022, https://radiorisaala.com/ciidanka-dowladda-oo-burburiyay-fariisimo-shabaab-ku-lahaayeen-galgaduud/.
[ix] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – September 23, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, September 23, 2022, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-september-23-2022.
[x] Calamada, “Al Shabaab killed the intelligence chief in Gedo,” December 9, 2022, https://calamada.com/shabaabul-mujaahidiin-oo-khaarajisay-taliyihii-sirdoonka-gedo-akhriso-bayyaan/.
[xi] Horseed, “NISA director Mahad Salaad spoke about the killing of the NISA commander in Gedo region,” December 9, 2022, https://horseedmedia.net/agaasimaha-hayadda-nisa-mahad-salaad-oo-ka-hadlay-dilka-taliyihii-nisa-ee-gobalka-gedo-376069; Puntland Post, “Jubaland conducting an independent investigation into the killing of Commander Bakal Kooke,” December 9, 2022, https://puntlandpost.net/2022/12/09/jubaland-oo-baaritaan-madax-bannaan-ku-samaynaysa-dilka-taliye-bakaal-kooke/.