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: The Houthi prime minister threatens shipping through the Bab al Mandab strait; the UN will attempt to push for a six-month extension for Yemen’s truce; STC-backed fighters attempt to assassinate ROYG-backed official in southern Yemen
Somalia: AFRICOM airstrike targets al Shabaab in likely support of US-trained Danab forces in southern Somalia; US-trained Danab forces raid an al Shabaab checkpoint in southern Somalia
Yemen Security Brief:
Houthi movement Prime Minister Abdul Aziz bin Habtour warned on July 19 that the Houthis may attack commercial traffic passing through the Bab al Mandab strait in response to US-Saudi-Israeli coordination.[i] Bin Habtour said that the Houthi movement has “final say” over the Bab al Mandab and said the Houthis would act “to preserve the Arab identity of the Red Sea” in the face of an “American conspiracy” to make it a “Zionist Lake.”
Reuters reported that the UN will work to secure a six-month extension of the truce agreement.[ii] The Houthi Supreme Political Council indicated on July 16 that the Houthis do not intend to extend the truce beyond its August 1 expiration date.[iii]
Shabwah Defense Forces (SDF) fighters attempted to assassinate the Shabwah commander of the ROYG-backed Special Security Forces (SSF) in Ataq city, Shabwah governorate, southern Yemen, on July 19.[iv] The attempted assassination coincided with clashes between the SDF and SSF elsewhere in Ataq city.[v]
Somalia Security Brief:
US Africa Command (AFRICOM) conducted an airstrike targeting al Shabaab fighters in Libikus, Jamame district, Lower Jubba, on July 17.[vi] The airstrike killed two al Shabaab fighters and caused no civilian casualties. AFRICOM likely conducted the strike to protect Danab forces operating in the area.
US-trained Danab Special Forces raided an al Shaabab checkpoint in Libikus, Jamame district, Lower Jubba, on July 19.[vii] Somali sources claimed that Danab killed five al Shabaab militants during the operation and captured one additional member.
[ii] Reuters, “U.N. presses Yemen warring parties for six-month truce extension –sources,” July 18, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/un-presses-yemen-warring-parties-six-month-truce-extension-sources-2022-07-18/.
[iii] Christopher Muth and Max Ryabinin, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – July 18, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, July 18, 2022, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-july-18-2022.
[iv] Mareb Press, “Forces loyal to the STC destabilize the security of Shabwah governorate… Our sources reveal what happened in the provincial capital and the fate of the Special Forces commander after the attempt to assassinate him,” July 19, 2022, https://marebpress.net/news_details.php?sid=185850&lang=arabic.
[vi] US Africa Command Pubic Affairs, “Somali, U.S. forces engage insurgents in support of the Federal Government of Somalia”, United States Africa Command, July 18, 2022, https://africom-web-app.azurewebsites.net/pressrelease/34612/somali-us-forces-engage-insurgents-in-support-of-the-federal-government-of-somalia
[vii] Hiiraan Online, “Government forces killed five al Shabaab militants in Jubbaland”, July 19, 2022, http://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2022/July/187056/government_forces_killed_five_al_shabaab_militants_in_jubbaland.aspx