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: Saudi-led coalition claims to intercept al Houthi drones; al Houthi movement promotes anti-US Twitter campaign; al Houthi and anti–al Houthi forces clash in Ma’rib governorate
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab releases third video criticizing SFG; Puntland State forces claim to arrest suspected al Shabaab militants in Puntland State; Somali president schedules meeting to discuss delayed presidential elections
Yemen Security Brief:
The al Houthi movement launched four explosive-laden drones targeting Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport in the kingdom’s Asir region on February 10. The Saudi-led coalition claimed to intercept two of the drones. The attack hit a civilian plane at the airport but did not cause any casualties. The coalition forces last claimed to intercept four al Houthi drones on February 7.[i]
The al Houthi movement encouraged supporters to participate in an anti-US Twitter campaign on February 9. The al Houthi movement shared a cartoon of the US President holding a “stop war” sign while preventing an oil tanker from docking in Yemen.[ii]
Al Houthi and anti–al Houthi forces clashed in the Hilan area of Sirwah district in central Yemen’s Ma’rib governorate on February 10. The Saudi-led coalition launched airstrikes in Sirwah district targeting al Houthi positions on February 9.[iii]
Horn of Africa Security Brief:
Al Shabaab released the third episode of its documentary series criticizing the Somali Federal Government on February 9. The video focuses on Somalia’s dependence on foreign aid and the critical role Turkey plays in Somalia’s economy. The group released the second and first episodes on February 7 and 5, respectively.[iv]
Somali Puntland State forces claimed to arrest suspected al Shabaab militants near the al Madow mountains in northeastern Somalia’s Puntland State on February 9. Puntland State forces claimed to arrest 25 suspected al Shabaab and Islamic State militants in northern Somalia’s Bari region in mid-January.[v]
Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmajo” scheduled a meeting with state leaders in Puntland State’s capital Garowe for February 15 to discuss organizing federal presidential elections. Puntland and Jubbaland State leaders supported holding further talks but said officials should instead meet in Somalia’s capital in the presence of international representatives. The Union of Somali Presidential Candidates and some members of Parliament refused to recognize Farmajo as Somalia’s President after his term expired on February 8.[vi]
[i] “Saudi-led coalition destroys 2 rebel drones from Yemen,” Anadolu Agency, February 10, 2021, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/world/saudi-led-coalition-destroys-2-rebel-drones-from-yemen/2140156; Amelia Frederking and Lauren Detter, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – February 8, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, February 8, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-february-8-2021-602195a21dfe1; and “Yemen’s Houthis say they carried out drone attack on Saudi airport,” Reuters, February 10, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/yemen-security-saudi-airport/update-2-yemens-houthis-say-they-carried-out-drone-attack-on-saudi-airport-idUSL1N2KG0XB.
[ii] “Ansar Allah (Houthi Movement) Pushes Supporters Towards Anti-U.S. Twitter Campaign,” SITE Intelligence Group, February 9, 2021, available by subscription at www.siteintelgroup.com.
[iii] “The Yemeni Minister of Defense announces the killing of 20 Houthis in the battles for Ma’rib, and international calls for a ceasefire,” Al Jazeera, February 10, 2021, https://www.aljazeera.net/news/politics/2021/2/10/%d9%88%d8%b2%d8%a7%d8%b1%d8%a9-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%af%d9%81%d8%a7%d8%b9-%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%8a%d9%85%d9%86%d9%8a%d8%a9-%d8%aa%d8%b9%d9%84%d9%86-%d9%85%d9%82%d8%aa%d9%84-20-%d8%ad%d9%88%d8%ab%d9%8a%d8%a7.
[iv] Liibaan Jeexoow , “Farmajo ‘False Promises and False Dreams’ Part 3,” Somalimemo, February 9, 2021, https://somalimemo.net/articles/14334/Farmaajo-Ballanqaadyo-Been-ah-iyo-Himilo-Halaanhal-ah-Qaybtii-3aad; and Lauren Detter and Amelia Frederking, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – February 8, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, February 3, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-february-8-2021.
[v] “Puntland Defense Forces Conduct Security Operations in Calmadow Mountains,” Horseed Media, February 9, 2021, https://horseedmedia.net/2021/02/09/ciidamada-difaaca-puntland-oo-hawgalo-ka-sameeyey-buuraleyda-calmadow/; and Rahma Bayrakdar and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – January 13, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, January 13, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-january-13-2021.
[vi] “Puntland rebuffs Villa Somalia’s calls for dialogue in Garowe, suggests Mogadishu as appropriate venue,” Hiiraan, February 10, 2021, http://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2021/Feb/181630/puntland_rebuffs_villa_somalia_s_calls_for_dialogue_in_garowe_suggests_mogadishu_as_appropriate_venue.aspx; Lauren Detter and Amelia Frederking, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – February 3, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, February 3, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-february-3-2021; “Candidates announce they do not recognize Farmajo as President,” Mareeg, February 8, 2021, https://mareeg.com/musharaxiinta-oo-shaaciyay-in-madaxweyne-aysan-u-aqoonsaneyn-farmaajo/; and Aggrey Mutambo, “Somalia: Which Way for Farmaajo? Somalia At Crossroads As Opposition Withdraws Recognition,” All Africa, February 9, 2021, https://allafrica.com/stories/202102080718.html.