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: Al Houthi attacks could deplete Saudi Patriot missiles in months; al Houthi drones target Saudi communications infrastructure; UAE-backed forces recapture Shabwah governorate

Somalia: Somali forces engage in a costly battle with al Shabaab in central Somalia; National Consultative Council concludes with limited agreements; Somali counterterrorism forces disrupt a potential al Shabaab ground attack in southern Somalia 

Yemen Security Brief:

Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman asked Gulf partners for additional Patriot missiles to replenish Saudi stocks during the Gulf Cooperation Council summit in December.[i] A senior US official said the current al Houthi rate of drone and missile attacks would deplete Saudi stocks in “months.”

The al Houthi movement launched three explosive-laden drones targeting civilian communications infrastructure in southern Saudi Arabia on January 7.[ii] The Saudi-led coalition did not specify a location or if the coalition intercepted the drones.

The UAE-backed Giants Forces and Yemeni Army elements captured Ain district, Shabwah governorate, central Yemen on January 8 and 9.[iii] Ain district was the last district under al Houthi control in Shabwah governorate. The al Houthis reportedly withdrew from both Ain district, Shabwah governorate and some areas of Numan district, al Bayda governorate, southern Yemen on January 8.[iv]

Somalia Security Brief:

Al Shabaab militants attacked Galmudug State and Somali National Army forces near Adakibir village in the Galgudud region of central Somalia on January 9. The fighting killed an SNA colonel, lieutenant colonel, and at least three other soldiers.[v] Somali forces claimed to kill at least 21 al Shabaab fighters. [vi] Al Shabaab attacked Bahdo village, 25 miles north of Adakibir, on January 7.[vii]

National Consultative Council meetings concluded with agreements on election procedures and limited security arrangements on January 9.[viii] All regions will complete lower house elections between January 15 and February 25. The participants also agreed that clan elders and the delegates they pick to vote must be registered and published before election day, a key demand of opposition groups. The regional leaders also agreed to deploy African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces to “strengthen the security of the Presidential Palace.” The parties did not agree on the contentious issue of command of the armed forces or lay out how they would enforce many of the election procedures.

Somali Gorgor Forces attacked a gathering of al Shabaab militants near Tawakal village in the Lower Shabelle region of southern Somalia on January 10.[ix] Military officials claim the operation killed at least 25 al Shabaab fighters. The al Shabaab militants were reportedly grouping to attack Barire town, 2.5 miles southeast of Tawakal.[x]

[i] Andrew England, Samer al Atrush, and James Politi, “Saudi Arabia turns to Gulf states to replenish depleted air defenses,” January 9, 2022,

[ii] Al Arabiya English, “Iran-backed Houthis target civilian infrastructures in Saudi Arabia: Arab Coalition,” January 8, 2022,

[iii] Mareb Press, “’The Giants’ regain the last districts of Shabwah,” January 9, 2022,

[iv] Akhbar Yemen, “Urgent: The liberation of the first districts of al Bayda governorate and the flight of the Houthi militia,” January 8, 2022,

[v] Somali Dispatch, “Al-Shabaab kills commander of 13th Battalion of the Somali National Army,” January 10, 2022,

[vi] Halbeeg, “SNA kills over 20 al-Shabaab fighters in central Somalia,” January 10, 2022,

[vii] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – January 7, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, January 7, 2022,

[viii] Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimu, Twitter,, January 9, 2022; Salaax Saciid Sabriye, “18 points from the Consultative Council meeting,” Caasimada, January 9, 2022,

[ix] Istar Cabdi Yusuf, “Somalia: Al-Shabaab Kills 25 in Fighting,” Caasimada, January 10, 2022,

[x] Abdirisak Tuuryare, “Somalia: 25 killed as SNA forces clash with al Shabab,” January 10, 2022,

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