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: Yemeni Shiite rebels form al Ummah political party

Horn of Africa: TFG and KDF troops reportedly plan the seizure of al Shabaab strongholds Bardhere and Afmadow; AMISOM asks UNSC to increase troop size; Somali MPs continue physical fighting over the election of a new speaker in parliamentary meetings

Yemen Security Brief

  • An al Houthi-linked political party has been formed in Yemen led by Mohammed Miftah, called al Ummah (the community). The announcement was made at a publicity event in Sana’a which reportedly had more than one thousand attendees. Miftah stated that the party is not defined by any particular sect or group. He also said that the party will not be an object of the “foreign devil.” Many of the party’s leaders are defectors of the al Haq party.[1]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Transitional Federal Government (TFG) spokesman for troops in the Gedo region Adam Ahmed Hirse said that his forces, backed by Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) are close to Bardhere, an al Shabaab stronghold, and are planning to seize the town soon. Eyewitnesses also reported that TFG and KDF troops are surrounding the al Shabaab-held town of Afmadow in Lower Jubba region. Local residents reported “mass displacements” for fear of an upcoming battle.[2]
  • The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) seeks to strengthen its military campaign by asking the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to increase its troop size from 12,000 to 17,000. AU Peace and Security commissioner Ramtane Lamamra added that the request aims to capitalize on the recent gains made against al Shabaab, including the seizure of the formerly al Shabaab-held Beledweyne.[3]
  • Somali MPs continue to fight over the election of a new speaker of parliament in Mogadishu. President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed eventually denounced the newly elected speaker Madobe Nunow and claimed that Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, who was voted out last month, is still the speaker. Three MPs were taken to the hospital.[4]

[1] Ali al Dabibi, “New Political Party ‘Maddened by the Foreign Devil,’ Birth of al Ummah Party,” Al Masdar Online, January 5, 2012. Available: (Arabic)
Mohammed al Qadhi, “Yemen’s Shiite Rebels Form Political Party,” The National, January 5, 2012. Available:
[2] “Somali Official: We Are Close to Capture Bardhere, Shabab Stronghold,” Mareeg Online, January 5, 2012. Available:,-Shabab-stronghold&sid=22473&tirsan=3
“Tension Runs High in Afmadow town of Southern Somalia,” Mareeg Online, January 5, 2012. Available:
[3] “AU Prepares Big Anti-Shabab Military Push in Somalia,” Mareeg Online, January 5, 2011. Available:
[4] “Somalia MPs Brawl Over Election of New Speaker,” BBC News, January 5, 2012. Available:
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