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: Houthi military official threatens regional attacks; Houthi information official threatens Dubai; UAE-backed offensive reverses Houthi gains; UAE UN representative calls for greater US support against Houthis

Somalia: Al Shabaab and government forces clash in north-central Somalia; IS-S militants blackmail Mogadishu merchants; rogue militia seizes areas of regional capital in central Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

The deputy chief of the Houthi General Staff said the Houthi movement targeted al Dhafra airbase, UAE, because al Dhafra is a “springboard” for bombing the “Yemeni people” on January 26.[i] The general added the Houthis can “reach into any aggressor or supportive country.”

The Houthi deputy information minister threatened to attack the Dubai World Expo.[ii] The Dubai World Expo runs through March 2022. The Dubai Expo postponed a concert due to “emergency circumstances” on January 26.[iii]

The UAE-backed Giants Brigades captured most of Harib district, southern Ma’rib governorate, on January 25.[iv] The Giants Brigades entered the southern Mala’a Pass, connecting Harib and al Jubah districts, southern Ma’rib governorate.

The permanent Emirati representative to the UN said the UAE requires greater US support to intercept Houthi missiles.[v]

Somalia Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) and ambushed Somali Federal Government (SFG) forces near Sinqdho, south of Beledweyne, Galgudud region, north-central Somalia.[vi] The initial attack killed one soldier and injured twelve others. Government forces counterattacked later in the day and claimed to kill 20 al Shabaab militants and defuse four additional IEDs along the road.[vii]

Islamic State-Somalia (IS-S) militants are threatening and bombing Mogadishu merchants if they do not pay taxes to IS-S.[viii] Merchants also claimed IS-S orchestrated two vehicle-borne improvised explosive device bombings in Mogadishu on 18 JAN and 24 JAN that targeted traders who refused to cooperate.

A militia rebelling against the Hirshabelle State government seized areas of Beledweyne, the regional capital of Hiraan, central Somalia, on January 25.[ix] Fighting between government forces and rebels began on December 31, 2021.[x] One of the militia’s leaders arrived in Mogadishu for talks with President Farmaajo and National Intelligence and Security Agency commander Yasin Farey on January 19.[xi] The SFG reportedly dispatched 100 special forces to Beledweyne on January 26.[xii]

[i] Al Alam, “Maj. Gen. al Mushaki: The second Yemen Cyclone confirms the growing strength of Yemeni deterrence,” January 26, 2022,

[ii] Ansar Allah Media Center, Twitter, January 25, 2021,

[iii] Sabereen News, Telegram, January 26, 2022,

[iv] Al Arabiya, “Yemen government forces sweep through Ma’rib in setback for Houthis,” January 26, 2022,; and Mareb Press, “Urgent: A military source to ‘Mareb Press’: The Giants and the National Army forces control Mala’a pass,” January 25, 2022,

[v] 26Sep (Houthi), “The UAE reveals its need for American support to confront Yemeni missiles,” January 26, 2022,

[vi] Zahra Axmed Gacal, “Damage caused by an explosion on DF forces and subsequent fighting,” Caasimada, January 25, 2022,

[vii] SNTV News, Twitter, January 26, 2022,

[viii] Goobjoog News, “EXCLUSIVE: Traders in Somalia’s largest market close shops amid unrelenting ISS terror,” January 25, 2022, “

[ix] Puntland Post, “Armed forces seize Beledweyne neighborhoods,” January 25, 2022,

[x] Puntland Post, “casualties in fighting in Beledweyne,” December 31, 2021,

[xi] Radio Risaala, “General Huud arrives in Mogadishu to meet with Farmajo,” January 19, 2022,

[xii] Harun Maruf, Twitter, January 26, 2022,

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