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: Trump administration to designate al Houthis foreign terrorist organization; al Houthis attack antial Houthi forces in Ma’rib governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab clashes with SNA and AMISOM forces in Hiraan region; suspected al Shabaab militants detonate IED targeting Kenyan forces along Kenyan-Somali border; al Shabaab ambushes SNA military base in Middle Shabelle region

Yemen Security Brief:

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said on January 10 the outgoing Trump administration will designate the al Houthi movement a foreign terrorist organization on January 19. He said Trump’s administration also plans to designate three al Houthi leaders as specially designated global terrorists.[i]

Al Houthi militants attacked anti–al Houthi forces near Rahabah district in central Yemen’s Ma’rib governorate on January 9.[ii]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

Al Shabaab militants clashed with Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia forces in Beledweyne town in southern Somalia’s Hiraan region.[iii]

Suspected al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting Kenyan troops near the Kenyan-Somali border on January 10. The attack killed at least four Kenyan soldiers and injured dozens of others.[iv]

Al Shabaab militants ambushed a SNA military base in central Somalia’s Middle Shabelle region on January 10. The attack killed three SNA soldiers.[v]

[i] Saphora Smith, “Pompeo to declare Houthis a terrorist group amid fears it will worsen Yemen crisis,” NBC News, January 11, 2021,

[ii] “The Houthis are exposed to new loses on southern Ma’rib’s fronts,” News Yemen Fronts, January 10, 2021,; and “Al Houthi militia admits defeat in southern Ma’rib during fierce battles,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, January 10, 2021,  

[iii] “Heavy fighting breaks out in Beledweyne,” Mareeg, January 9, 2011,

[iv] “Kenyan soldiers killed near Somali border,” Mareeg, January 10, 2021,

[v] “Three soldiers killed in Al-Shabaab ambush in Middle Shabelle,” Hiiraan, January 11, 2021,

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