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 destroys al Houthi explosive boat in Red Sea; al Houthi movement announces new surface-to-air missile; Yemeni Vice President calls GPC to unite under President Hadi; ISIS sniper kills al Houthi soldier in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab leadership fears losing clan support; al Shabaab conducts five attacks in southern Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

The Saudi-led coalition destroyed an al Houthi explosive-laden boat targeting a Saudi oil tanker near al Hudaydah port in the Red Sea on January 6. Coalition Spokesman Turki al Maliki stated on January 10 that the coalition has a responsibility to protect the Bab al Mandab Strait, a chokepoint for international maritime traffic. The al Houthi movement threatened to disrupt navigation in the Red Sea in response to a coalition effort to advance toward al Hudaydah port on January 9.[1]

The al Houthi movement announced a new Yemen-made surface-to-air missile on January 9. Al Houthi forces claimed to use this missile to down a Saudi warplane in Sa’ada governorate, northern Yemen on January 7. A coalition official blamed the crash on technical failure and stated that that coalition forces rescued two pilots from the crash. The al Houthi movement also claimed that the new missile damaged a F15 warplane over Sana’a.[2] 

Hadi government Vice President Ali Mohsen al Ahmar called for the General People’s Congress (GPC) party to unite under the leadership of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi during an interview with a UK-based Arabic language newspaper in Riyadh on January 10. The GPC fractured after the death of its leader, former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in December 2017. A Sana’a-based, anti-coalition faction of the GPC named a new leader on January 7.[3]

An Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) sniper killed an al Houthi soldier in northwestern al Bayda governorate, central Yemen on January 11. ISIS has conducted one other attack since November 2017. U.S. airstrikes hit two ISIS camps in al Bayda in October 2017.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab leadership fears that a large clan in Mogadishu and central Somalia plans to suspend ties with the group. Al Shabaab’s head of policy and regions, Hussein Ali Fidow, attempted to rally support from Somali clan elders during an emergency meeting in Adan Yabaal, Middle Shabelle region, central Somalia on January 8.[5] 

Al Shabaab militants conducted five attacks in southern Somalia on January 11. Al Shabaab captured Dif, Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia after Jubbaland forces withdrew from the town. Al Shabaab militants shelled the Somali presidential residence and killed a Somali National Army (SNA) soldier near the Bakara market in Mogadishu. Al Shabaab militants detonated an IED targeting SNA forces in Shalambood, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia. Al Shabaab militants also ambushed a Ugandan African Union Mission in Somalia convoy near Marka, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia.[6] 

[1] “Saudi-led coalition says thwarts Houthi attack on oil tanker,” Reuters, January 10, 2018,; “Spokesman for the Coalition Forces: Relief outlets in Yemen are open to international organizations and donor countries to receive aid in addition to the first and last,” Saudi Press Agency, January 10, 2018,
[2] “The Air Force announces the introduction of a new surface-to-air missile system for the battlefield,” Al Masirah, January 9, 2018,; and “The Houthis announce the introduction of a new surface-to-air missile system with local expertise,” Al Masdar, January 10, 2018,
[3] Mohammed Jameh, “Interview with al Quds al Arabi: al Houthi militias are in a state of collapse,” Al Quds Al Arabi, January 10, 2018,
[4] Demolinari, Twitter, January 11, 2018,
[5] Harun Maruf, Twitter, January 11, 2018,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, January 11, 2018,
[6] Al Shabaab claims five attacks in southern Somalia, Telegram, January 11, 2017; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, January 11, 2018,

View Citations
Arrow down red
Feb '18
Jan '18
Dec '17