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: AQAP denies a relationship with Bahrain; al Houthi forces attempt four drone attacks targeting Saudi infrastructure; UN Envoy to Yemen meets with al Houthi leaders in Sana’a; Yemeni Vice President travels to al Bayda governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab conducts attacks in Lower Shabelle region; Sudanese military council seeks to add immunity clause to power-sharing agreement

Yemen Security Brief:

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a statement denying any connections to regional governments, specifically Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, as well as former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The statement responded to an al Jazeera story claiming Bahrain was using AQAP to target political opponents. The AQAP statement accused al Jazeera of seeking to strengthen its relationship with the US.[1]

Al Houthi forces launched two Qasef 2k drones targeting Jizan regional airport on July 16. They launched a simultaneous drone attack targeting King Khaled Air Base in Asir region, southern Saudi Arabia. The Saudi-led coalition claimed to intercept all three drones. Saudi-led coalition forces also intercepted another Qasef 2k drone targeting Jizan regional airport in southern Saudi Arabia on July 17.[2]

United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths met with Houthi leaders on July 17 in Sana'a. Griffiths discussed the implementation of the UN-backed Stockholm agreement, including the ceasefire and troop redeployment measures, sources claimed. Griffiths also recently visited Riyadh, Moscow, Muscat, Washington, and Abu Dhabi as part of a two week tour to discuss implementation of the Stockholm agreement signed in December 2018. Griffiths will testify before the UN Security Council on the Yemeni peace process on July 18.[3]

Yemeni Vice President Al Mohsen al Ahmar met with al Bayda Governor Naser al Hadr al Swaydi in southern Yemen to discuss military progress against al Houthi forces in the area on July 16.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

Al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device targeting Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers near Barire town in southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region on July 17. The explosion killed five SNA soldiers. Suspected al Shabaab militants separately detonated a car bomb in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, on July 17. The explosion injured one individual.[5]

Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) is seeking to add a clause to its power-sharing agreement with civilian leaders that would provide the military with immunity from prosecution. The Sudanese Professionals Association, the opposition group that organized the 2018-19 protests, stated that they oppose the inclusion of this clause. Military and civilian leaders agreed on a draft power-sharing arrangement on July 5 but have not yet formally signed the agreement.[6]

Visit our Yemen, Somalia, Saudi Arabia and Sudan story streams.

[1] “AQAP denies relationship with Bahrain exposed by al Jazeera documentary,” SITE Intelligence Group, July 16, 2019, English translation available by subscription at

[2] “Command of the Joint Forces of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen: Coalition Forces intercept, down three drones launched by the Iran-backed Houthi terrorist militia from Amran Province towards civilian facilities in Jazan and Abha,” Saudi Press Agency, July 16, 2019,; Suhail Channel, Twitter, July 17, 2019,; “Houthi aircraft in Saudi sky..air raids on Jizan and the Coalition announces the escalation,” Al Jazeera, July 16, 2019,; and al Masirah TV, Twitter, July 16, 2019,

[3] Ali Rabee and Asma al Ghabri, "Griffiths in Sana'a to resolve security issues and resources and local authorities in Hudaydah," Al Sharq al Awsat, July 17, 2019. https(:)//; and "Griffiths briefed the Security Council Thursday on developments in the situation in Yemen," Al Sahwa Yemen, July 17, 2019,

[4] “Mohsen meets governor of al Bayda and sees the victories of the army in the governorate,” Bawabatii, July 16, 2019,

[5] “Landmine kills five soldiers in Lower Shabelle, Mustaqbal Radio, July 17, 2019,; “Five soldiers killed in bomb attack claimed by al Shabaab,” Mareeg, July 17, 2019,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, July 17, 2019,

[6] “Sudan protesters reject ‘absolute immunity’ for generals,” AP, July 16, 2019,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review – July 5, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, July 5, 2019,

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