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 CENTCOM commander visits UAE; Yemeni and Saudi forces launch an offensive in northwest Yemen; STC establishes new security force in Hadramawt

Somalia: Al Shabaab captures a town in southwestern Somalia; rebel soldiers target government personnel in central Somalia; US-trained counterterrorism forces clear al Shabaab bases in southern Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

US Central Command Commander Gen. Frank McKenzie visited Abu Dhabi to discuss American support to the UAE.[i] McKenzie accused Iran of developing and building missiles for use against the UAE. McKenzie said the F-22s at al Dhafra provide the world’s best “look-down radars,” capable of detecting land-attack cruise missiles and drones. McKenzie also clarified the USS Cole will conduct operations to interdict weapons shipments.

Yemeni Army forces besieged Houthi positions in Haradh city, Hajjah governorate, northern Yemen, on February 4.[ii] Yemeni Army forces captured some positions in southeastern Haradh city on February 7. The Saudi Defense Ministry reportedly deployed the 11th Armored Brigade and elements of the 18th Saudi Brigade in support of the Haradh operation.[iii]

A pro-Southern Transitional Council (STC) political leader in Hadramawt opened the first training facility for the Hadramawt Defense Forces on February 5.[iv] The politician said the establishment of the Hadramawt Defense Forces will support the Hadramawt Elite Forces and defend Hadramawt governorate from the “Islah militias.” The STC accuses the Islah party of meddling in Hadramawt’s security.

Somalia Security Brief

Al Shabaab claimed to capture Dinsoor, Bay region, southwestern Somalia, on February 5.[v] Al Shabaab militants reportedly overran South West Forces’ bases in the town, killing 10 soldiers. Al Shabaab also claimed to mortar the Ethiopian AMISOM base on the Dinsoor outskirts, where the remaining South West troops retreated, killing two soldiers on February 6.[vi]

Anti-Hirshabelle state rebels fired mortars targeting the Beledweyne airport before the Hirshabelle State president’s arrival to Beledweyne, central Somalia, on February 5.[vii] Rebel forces reportedly briefly engaged federal Turkish-trained Gorgor and Haramcad forces afterward.[viii] Djiboutian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces in charge of airport security fired artillery at rebel locations in response. There are no reported casualties.

US-trained Somali Danab forces cleared al Shabaab strongholds near Kismayo, Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia, on February 7.[ix] The Danab commandos killed at least seven al Shabaab militants and destroyed multiple hideouts in small villages on the Kismayo outskirts.

[i] Phil Stewart, “After Houthi attacks, senior US general in UAE to bolster defenses,” Reuters, February 6, 2022,

[ii] Al Mashhad al Yemeni, “Army forces penetrate into Haradh city after the siege of the Houthi militia… and the announcement of its complete liberation is imminent,” February 7, 2022,

[iii] Mareb Press, “The Saudi Ministry of Defense is pushing two military brigades in support of the National Army in the operations to liberate the governorates of Sa’ada and Hajjah,” February 5, 2022,

[iv] SMA News, “The Hadramawt Defense Force…a southern step that killed the Brotherhood’s sleep and confused their accounts,” February 5, 2022,

[v] Radio al Furqaan, “Al-Shabaab Mujahideen Froces Attack Dinsor,” February 5, 2022,

[vi] Liban Jehow Abdi, Twitter, February 7, 2022,

[vii] Halbeeg, “Hirshabelle state leader arrives in Beledweyne amid high tensions,” February 6, 2022,

[viii] Hiraan Online, “Description: Recent mortar attack on Beledweyne airport and subsequent fighting,” February 5, 2022,

[ix] Somali Dispatch, “Danab Forces Carry Out Operations In Lower Juba Region,” February 7, 2022,

View Citations
Arrow down red
Mar '22
Feb '22
Jan '22