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]

[i] 26 September News (ROYG), “Yemen and the UAE sign an agreement on military and security cooperation and combating terrorism,” December 8, 2022,

[ii] Ansarollah, “Deputy Foreign Minister calls on Abu Dhabi to modify its hostile behavior towards Yemen,” December 9, 2022,

[iii] Al Masirah, “Lt. Gen. al Ruwaishan confirms that the opens are open in the face of aggression,” December 8, 2022,

[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,

[v] Yemen Future, “Yemen: Economic War escalates as UN-backed truce efforts falter,” December 8, 2022,

[vi] Radio al Furqaan, “Al Shabaab forces have moved into an area near Beledweyne,” December 8, 2022,

[vii] Horseed, “Al Shabaab forces fought in an area on the outskirts of Beledweyne,” December 8, 2022,

[viii] Radio Risaala, “The government forces destroyed al Shabaab in Galgadud,” December 7, 2022,

[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,

[x] Calamada, “Al Shabaab killed the intelligence chief in Gedo,” December 9, 2022,

[xi] Horseed, “NISA director Mahad Salaad spoke about the killing of the NISA commander in Gedo region,” December 9, 2022,; Puntland Post, “Jubaland conducting an independent investigation into the killing of Commander Bakal Kooke,” December 9, 2022,

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