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: STC escalates rhetoric against Yemeni Army; Houthis launch recruitment campaign; Saudi-led coalition destroy Houthi WBIED in Red Sea; US Secretary of State and UN special envoy discuss Yemen; tensions rise between local and central Houthi officials

Somalia: AMISOM forces ambush al Shabaab militants in southern Somalia; US leaders meet with SNA and AMISOM forces; security forces clash in central Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

A Southern Transitional Council (STC) official in Hadramawt governorate, eastern Yemen, called for the “escalation” of protests demanding the removal of Yemeni Army troops from the governorate on February 17.[i] The call for additional protests follow statements from the STC’s leadership on February 16.[ii]

Houthi movement political leaders launched a recruitment and mobilization campaign on February 16.[iii] The Houthi Supreme Political Council president said the campaign aims to “respond to [American and Saudi involvement in Yemen] by all available means.”

The Houthis launched a water-borne improvised explosive device (WBIED) from Hudaydah port, western Yemen, on February 18.[iv] The Saudi-led coalition destroyed the WBIED in the southern Red Sea.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg discussed US support for de-escalation measures in Yemen in a phone call on February 18. Blinken said resolving the conflict in Yemen remains a priority for the US.[v]

Local sources reported a dispute between local Houthi officials in Ibb governorate, southwestern Yemen, and Houthi officials from Sana’a and Sa’ada over a “systematic and intentional” marginalization of local officials on February 17.[vi] Sana’a and Sa’ada-based Houthi officials reportedly used Ibb and its institutions for patronage and money collection.

Somalia Security Brief

African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces ambushed al Shabaab militants near KM 60 airfield, Merca District, Lower Shabelle, southern Somalia, on February 16.[vii] AMISOM killed at least 20 al Shabaab militants. The AMISOM operation took place hours after al Shabaab conducted coordinated attacks on Somali security targets around Mogadishu.[viii]

 The US Ambassador to Somalia, US Africa Command commander, SNA commander, and Ugandan military representatives discussed “mutual security interests” in Somalia in a meeting at Baledogle Airfield, Wanlaweyn district, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia, on February 17. [ix]  

Haramcad special police forces and Beledweyne police clashed in Beledeweyne, Hiraan region, central Somalia, on February 17.[x] Haramcad forces killed Beledweyne’s police commissioner, Mohamed Hussein Duurjooge. President Farmaajo and his allies deployed Turkish-trained Haramcad and Gorgor forces to Beledweyne to “secure election sites” on January 26.[xi] Prime Minister Roble and the Council of Ministers ordered the withdrawal of Gorgor and Haramcad forces from Beledweyne on January 27. Anti-Farmaajo politicians believe the Haramcad and Gorgor presence is a blatant attempt to rig upcoming elections involving Farmaajo’s national security advisor Fahad Yasin.

[i] Hadramawt Net, “The Escalation Committee holds an expanded meeting and calls on all the people of Hadramawt to respond to the escalation program,” February 17, 2022,

[ii] Brian Carter, Liam Karr, Max Ryabinin, Christopher Muth, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – February 16, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, February 16, 2022,

[iii] Saba News, “President Al-Mashat launches the ‘Yemen Hurricane’ campaign to mobilize and mobilize,” February 16, 2022,; Khabar Agency, “Houthi militia launches a mobilization campaign to ‘mobilize fighters’ amid UN efforts to resume peace consultations,” February 17, 2022,

[iv] Al Arabiya, “Arab Coalition destroys explosives-laden boat launched by Houthis in Red Sea,” February 18, 2022,; Al Bawaba, “The destruction of a booby-trapped boat belonging to the Houthis in the southern Red Sea,” February 18, 2022,

[v] Office of the Spokesperson, Department of State, “Secretary Blinken’s Call with UN Special Envoy for Yemen Grundberg,” February 18, 2022,

[vi] Al Masdar, “For reasons that focus on influence, positions, and money... Disputes escalate between the leaders of the Houthi militia in Ibb and Sana’a,” February 17, 2022,

[vii] Halbeeg, “AMISOM kills over 15 al Shabaab fighters in Lower Shabelle,” February 17, 2022,

[viii] Brian Carter, et al., “Gulf of Aden Security Review – February 16, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, February 16, 2022,

[ix] SONNA, “US Ambassador, AFRICOM commander meet with SNA chief commander in Baldogle,” February 17, 2022,

[x] Goobjoog, “Beletweyne police chief shot dead by Turkish-trained Harama’d forces,” February 17, 2022,

[xi] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – January 18, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, January 18, 2022,

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