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: US may impose additional sanctions on Houthis; Houthis support Iran-backed Iraqi militia attack on UAE; Houthi leader claims US, Israel, and UK encouraged UAE to reenter Yemen; UAE foreign minister discusses regional issues with Iran; French aircraft will intercept drones and missiles in UAE airspace

Somalia: Al Shabaab-planted IED kills civilians in southern Somalia; US-trained forces target al Shabaab militants in southern Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

The US State Department spokesperson said the re-designation of the Houthi movement as a foreign terrorist organization remains on the table in a press conference on February 2.[i] The spokesperson added the United States will likely take additional action on individual Houthi leaders and entities.

The Houthi military spokesperson expressed support for the attack by Kata’ib Hezbollah-backed Iraqi façade group Awliya Waad al Haq targeting the UAE.[ii] Awliya Waad al Haq targeted the UAE with three drones on February 2.[iii] The spokesperson called the UAE a “client,” possibly alluding to its relationship with the United States or Israel.[iv]

Houthi leader Abdul Malik al Houthi said the United States, Israel, and the United Kingdom encouraged the UAE to re-enter the Yemeni conflict.[v] Houthi called the UAE an “American tool.” He added the Saudi-led coalition is “failing,” while Iran’s Axis of Resistance is becoming “stronger and more stable.”

Iranian foreign minister Amir Abdollahian and Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan discussed regional issues in a phone call on February 3. The Emiratis emphasized the importance of de-escalation and adherence to a political solution in Yemen based on the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative.[vi] The Iranians stressed the danger of Israeli presence in the region.[vii]

The French defense minister announced the French forces at al Dhafra Airbase, Abu Dhabi, UAE, will support the Emirati Air Force in “surveillance, detection, and interception missions” in Emirati airspace.[viii]  

Somalia Security Brief

A civilian bus struck an al Shabaab improvised explosive device near Abdi Dhore, Kismayo district in the Lower Jubba region of southern Somalia, on February 4.[ix] The IED killed at least ten people and wounded three more.[x]

US-trained Danab forces cleared al Shabaab militants from villages in Qoryooley district, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia, on February 3.[xi] Danab officials claimed Danab soldiers killed seven al Shabaab militants, captured two more, and destroyed three Al-Shabaab courts.[xii] Operations took place in Degwariiri, Dar es Salaam, Mubarak, and Adiimoole villages, Qoryooley district.

[i] Ned Price, “Department Press Briefing – February 2, 2022,” US Department of State, February 2, 2022,

[ii] Yahya Sarea, Twitter, February 3, 2022,

[iii] Sabereen News, Telegram, February 2, 2022,; and Emirati News Agency (WAM), Twitter, February 2, 2022,

[iv] Yahya Sarea, Twitter, February 3, 2022,

[v] Al Mayadeen, “Al Houthi: US-Israeli orders were issued to the UAE to escalate in Yemen,” February 3, 2022,

[vi] Emirati News Agency (WAM), “Abdullah bin Zayed receives a phone call from the Iranian foreign minister,” February 3, 2022,

[vii] Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “UAE, Iran top diplomats discuss Houthi attacks in phone call,” February 3, 2022,

[viii] Florence Parly, Twitter, February 4, 2022,

[ix] Radio Risaala, “Dead in car bomb blast on outskirts of Kismayo,” February 4, 2022,

[x] Puntland Post, “More than 10 killed in blast near Kismayo,” February 4, 2022,

[xi] Somali Dispatch, “DANAB military officials carried out operation in Lower Shabelle,” February 3, 2022,

[xii] Keydmedia, “DANAB Forces Arrest Two al Shabaab Officials,” February 3, 2022,

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