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: President Hadi will visit Doha; STC calls for removal of Yemeni vice president; Yemeni military destroys al Houthi naval mines; AQAP IEDs target al Houthis in al Bayda

Somalia: Puntland president meets with Qatari and Emirati ambassadors; HirShabelle president meets with Ethiopian and Turkish ambassadors; South West State publishes first list of election elders for lower house seats

Yemen Security Brief:

Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi will visit Doha, Qatar and meet with unspecified government officials.[i] UAE-backed al Arab reported on January 14 that Hadi seeks to court Qatar to balance Saudi efforts to sideline the Islah party. Islah has a wing close to the Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar. The UAE is strongly opposed to both Islah and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The head of the Southern Transitional Council’s (STC) Negotiation Affairs Unit called for the removal of Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsen al Ahmar, an Islah party member.[ii] The STC official also said the Yemeni defense and interior ministers “refuse to work with the government.”

The Yemeni 5th Military Region destroyed eight likely al Houthi naval mines off the coast of Hajjah governorate, northwestern Yemen, on January 13.[iii] The 5th Military Region destroyed twenty-seven naval mines in November and December 2021.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) detonated two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) targeting an al Houthi vehicle near Tayyab, Dhi Naim district, al Bayda governorate, central Yemen on January 11. The AQAP claim did not report casualties.[iv]

Somalia Security Brief:

Puntland President Said Deni met separately with the Emirati and Qatari ambassadors to Somalia in Mogadishu on January 11 and 12 respectively. Deni did not disclose what he discussed with the Emirati ambassador.[v] Deni and the Qatari ambassador discussed Qatar’s projects in Somalia and ongoing lower house elections.[vi]

HirShabelle State President Ali Gudlawe met separately with the Ethiopian and Turkish ambassadors to Somalia in Mogadishu on January 13. Gudlawe discussed security cooperation and ongoing lower house elections in both meetings.[vii]  

The South West State Election Implementation Committee announced elections for five lower house seats and the elders that would appoint voting delegates on January 13.[viii] South West State is the first state to publish the names of elders after the agreements made during the National Consultative Council on January 9.[ix]

[i] Al Arab, “Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi in Qatar to relieve pressure on the Brotherhood,” January 14, 2022,

[ii] SMA News, “Al Khabaji to al Ghad al Sharif: Ali Mohsen al Ahmar is obstructing the Riyadh Agreement, and the institution of the presidency must be restructured,” January 13, 2022,

[iii] Akhbar Yemen, “Video… Damage of naval mines planted by the Houthis in the Red Sea,” January 13, 2022,

[iv] Joshua Koontz, Twitter, January 14, 2022,; Joshua Koontz, Twitter, January 12, 2022,

[v] Puntland Post, “President Deni Meets UAE Ambaasador in Mogadishu,” January 11, 2022,

[vi] Radio Risaala, “Puntland President Discusses Election Issues with Ambassadors of Qatar & Sweden,” January 12, 2022,

[vii] Radio Dalsan, “President Ali Gudlawe discusses with Ethiopia the fight against Al-Shabaab,” January 13, 2022,; SONNA, “HirShabelle State President meets with Turkish Ambassodor to Somalia,” January 13, 2022,  

[viii] Radio Risaala, “South West announces names of traditional elders to select 5 seats,” January 13, 2022,

[ix] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – January 12, 2022,” January 12, 2022,


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