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: Kuwaiti government demands that Yemeni delegations reach peace agreement within two weeks; forces loyal to President Hadi announce offensive to retake large city in Hajjah; coalition airstrikes target al Houthi-Saleh positions across Sana’a governorate; al Houthi-Saleh forces clash with Hadi government forces in al Jawf; President Hadi denounces al Houthi-Saleh attack on Saudi base

Horn of Africa: Somaliland and Puntland security forces prepare for possible escalation in Sanaag region; Somali officials doubt timeline for parliamentary and presidential elections

Yemen Security Brief

  • The government of Kuwait issued an ultimatum to the government delegation aligned with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the al Houthi-General People’s Congress (GPC) delegation to reach a peace agreement at the Kuwait talks within the next 15 days. The Kuwaiti government stated that the delegations will be asked to leave the country should they fail to reach a peace agreement in this time. The UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed stated on July 16 that the next two weeks may be Yemen’s last chance for the delegations to reach a peace settlement and regain the trust of Yemenis. A pro-Hadi official claimed that the ultimatum was issued in order to incentivize the al Houthi-GPC delegation to make a compromise.[1]
  • The Hadi government military announced a large military operation to retake Haradh city, Hajjah governorate, an area of historical al Houthi influence. Government forces supported by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes seized the Old Customs House in Haradh district, Hajjah governorate and forced al Houthi-Saleh forces to retreat to the center of the city on July 21. Saudi military reinforcements amassed on the Saudi side of the border near Haradh on July 13 after al Houthi-Saleh forces attempted to advance towards the border, according to a Saudi news outlet.[2]
  • Coalition airstrikes targeted al Houthi-Saleh positions near Mt. al Same’a in Arhab, Sana’a governorate on July 21. Airstrikes also struck al Houthi-Saleh positions in Nihm, Sana’a governorate on July 21.[3]
  • Al Houthi-Saleh fighters clashed with government and popular resistance forces in Khab w Sha’af, al Jawf governorate on July 20. Coalition airstrikes also targeted al Houthi-Saleh positions in Ham, a town in northwest al Matun district in al Jawf governorate.[4]
  • President Hadi denounced the al Houthi-Saleh faction on July 20 for its July 19 ballistic missile attack on a Saudi National Guard base in Najran, calling it a “flagrant violation of the cessation of hostilities” reached in April, according to a Saudi news source. Al Houthi-Saleh forces struck the base with an Iranian-made Zelzal-3 ballistic missile, killing at least three Saudi soldiers. Al Houthi-Saleh attacks along the Saudi-Yemen border from Hajjah and Sa’ada governorates have increased in recent weeks.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somaliland and Puntland security forces positioned themselves for a possible escalation near Labho area in Sanaag region on July 21. Fighting between Puntland and Somaliland security personnel broke out on July 18. Somaliland security forces captured ten Puntlandians in the fighting and announced their intention to place the captured men on trial. Puntland and Somaliland are contesting control of the Sanaag and Sool regions of northern Somalia.[6]
  • The chairman of Somalia’s Federal Electoral Implementation Team (FEIT), Omar Mohamed Abdulle, expressed doubts that the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections would occur on time on July 21. Officials also expressed concern for the successful implementation of the thirty percent quota for female representatives.[7]


[1] “Kuwait issues ultimatum to Yemen negotiators,” Agence France Presse, July 21, 2016,; “Speech by Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Yemen, at the opening of the Yemeni peace talks in Kuwait,” The United Nations Office at Geneva, July 18, 2016,; and “Mukhtar Rahbi: For these reasons, Kuwait, Yemen has given the parties a deadline for re-consultation,” Aden Time, July 21, 2016,
[2] “Government army declares a massive operation to liberate the city Harad with the coalition waging intense raids,” al Masdar, July 21, 2016,; "Yemeni forces launch offensive against Al Houthis near Saudi border," Gulf News, July 21, 2016,; "National Army sweeps al Houthi sites and arrives at the walls of Haradh city- Photos," Barakish, July 21, 2016,; “Al Houthi Areas of Influence,” AEI’s Critical Threat Project, July 16, 2015,; and “Saudi military reinforcements to the border with Yemen,” al Arabiya, July 13, 2016,
[3] “Strikes north of the capital Sana’a,” Barakish, July 21, 2016,
[4] “Al-Jawf... Houthi raid destroyed a vehicle in al Matun and clashes south of Khab w Sha’af district,” al Masdar, July 21, 2016,
[5] “Yemen’s Hadi blasts Houthis for attacks on Saudi border regions,” Saudi Gazette, July 21, 2016,; "The launch of a ballistic missile at the Saudi National Guard camp in Najran," Sabanews, July 19, 2016,; and Yemen Post Newspaper, Twitter, July 20, 2016,
[6] “Tension rises between Puntland and Somaliland,” Shabelle News, July 21, 2016,; and “Somaliliand to put captured Puntland Lawmaker on trial,” Shabelle News, July 20, 2016,  
[7] “We are burning the midnight oil to beat electoral deadline -Somali polls chief,” Goobjoog News, July 21, 2016,; and “Clan system cannot deliver 30% quota for women unless government commits, women leaders warn,” Goobjoog News, July 21, 2016,
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