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 orders pro-STC protest organizer to remove protest camps; Tariq Saleh’s spokesperson announces Saleh-Aydarus al Zubaidi meeting in Abu Dhabi.
Somalia: US kills high-ranking Islamic State global financier in ground raid in northern Somalia; Somali forces clear al Shabaab from havens in north-central Somalia; al Shabaab mortars town in central Somalia
Yemen Security Brief:
The Saudi-led coalition commander in Hadramawt ordered a prominent pro-Southern Transitional Council (STC) politician and protest organizer to remove his protest camps in the Adab area of Wadi Hadramawt, eastern Yemen, on January 27.[i] The coalition threatened to use force if the pro-STC protesters refused to move their protest camp. The protesters were demanding that the coalition integrate 800 pro-STC militants into Yemeni government forces, according to pro-government media.
The spokesperson for Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) Deputy Tariq Saleh’s National Resistance Forces said Saleh met with STC President and PLC Deputy Aydarus Zubaidi likely in Abu Dhabi on January 27.[ii] He did not report what Saleh and Zubaidi discussed.
Somalia Security Brief:
US Special Forces raided an Islamic State–Somalia (IS–S) camp in the ‘Al Miskad mountains, Bari region, northern Somalia, on January 26. The US defense secretary said the raid killed high-ranking IS-S member Bilal al Sudani and ten other members.[iii] Sudani reportedly played a key role in the Islamic State’s global administrative network.[iv] The Islamic State administrative node based in Somalia primarily facilitates financing and logistics for the Islamic State affiliates in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mozambique and has also transferred money to the Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan.[v] This was the first US ground raid in Somalia since 2020.[vi]
Somali forces cleared al Shabaab from areas in El Dheere district, Galgudud region, north-central Somalia, on January 25.[vii] Somali officials claimed to destroy a vehicle equipped with an anti-aircraft gun and kill a local commander.
Al Shabaab mortared Beledweyne town, Hiraan region, central Somalia, on January 25. The mortars landed in residential neighborhoods, wounding several civilians.[viii]
[i] Mareb Press, “Hadramawt.. The Coalition Leadership Issues Strict Directives to a Prominent Leader in the Transitional Council, Threatening Him with Use of Force if Refused,” January 27, 2023, https://marebpress.net/news_details.php?lang=arabic&sid=190117
[ii] Sadiq Daweed, Twitter, January 27, 2023, https://twitter.com/SDwaid/status/1618943936470605825
[iii] Lloyd J. Austin III, “Statement by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III on Somalia Operation,” US Department of Defense, January 26, 2023, https://www.defense.gov/News/Releases/Release/Article/3279923/statement-by-secretary-of-defense-lloyd-j-austin-iii-on-somalia-operation/
[iv] Eric Schmitt and Helene Cooper, “Senior ISIS Leader in Somalia Killed in U.S. Special Operations Raid,” The New York Times, January 26, 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/26/us/politics/isis-leader-us-somalia-raid.html
[v] United Nations Security Council, “Fifteenth report of the Secretary-General on the threat posed by ISIL (Da’esh) to international peace and security and the range of United Nations efforts in support of Member States in countering the threat,” July 26, 2022, https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/ctc/sites/www.un.org.securitycouncil.ctc/files/n2243078.pdf
[vi] New America, “The War in Somalia,” accessed January 27, 2023, https://www.newamerica.org/international-security/reports/americas-counterterrorism-wars/the-war-in-somalia/
[vii] Radio Risaala, “Government forces attacked an area where al Shabaab was located,” January 25, 2023, https://radiorisaala.com/ciidamada-dowladda-oo-weeraray-degaan-ay-ku-sugnaayeen-al-shabaab-3/
[viii] Shabelle Media, “Al-Shabaab mortars rain down on Beledweyne,” January 26, 2023, https://shabellemedia.com/al-shabaab-mortars-rain-down-on-beledweyne/