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: U.S. National Defense Authorization Act increases congressional oversight for U.S. support of Saudi-led coalition; Hadi government undersecretary of state meets with Russian ambassador to Yemen; militant detonates SVBIED targeting security official in Aden; STC members refuse to participate in Hadi government parliament

Horn of Africa: Ethiopian PM announces support for multiparty democracy; Eritrea limits military conscription to 18 months; UAE crown prince awards Ethiopian and Eritrean leaders for peace agreement; ISIS claims assassination in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

The U.S. House and Senate Armed Services Committee released the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act on July 23 that includes a provision expanding congressional oversight for U.S. support of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. The provision requires the secretary of state to certify to Congress that the Saudi-led coalition is acting in good faith to resolve the conflict diplomatically, reducing the risk to civilians, and increasing access of humanitarian aid to Yemen. The provision would ban U.S. forces from refueling Saudi and Emirati warplanes if the secretary of state is unable to certify that the coalition is complying with those conditions. The secretary of state is still able to issue a Congress-approved waiver to refuel coalition aircrafts for national security reasons.[1]

Yemeni Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Mansour Baggash met with Russian Ambassador to Yemen Vladimir Dedushkin in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on July 24. Baggash and Dedushkin discussed Russia’s role in facilitating a political resolution to the Yemen conflict, as well as bilateral relations between the two countries. Dedushkin affirmed Russia's support for the Hadi government and confirmed that Russia will continue to provide humanitarian aid to Yemen.[2]

A militant detonated a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) targeting Aden Security fourth battalion commander Rami al Sumaidi near a checkpoint in Inma neighborhood, al Mansoura district, Aden city, southern Yemen July 24. The attack injured Sumaidi and killed two nearby civilians.[3]

Members of the Transitional Political Council for the South (STC) refused to participate in a parliament under the Hadi government, according to a Hadi government official on July 24. Hadi government Minister of State for Parliament and Congressional Council Affairs Mohammad al Himiary added that the lack of security and facilities for members of parliament in Aden is also preventing the Hadi government from holding a session of parliament.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed stated his support for the adoption of a multiparty democracy in Ethiopia on July 22. Ahmed stated that a multiparty democracy would lead to sustained progress and development. Abiy Ahmed has undertaken a series of major political and economic reforms since taking office in April.[5]

The Eritrean government announced at a graduation ceremony in Asmara that mandatory military service will not exceed 18 months. Ethiopia and Eritrea declared an official end to hostilities between the two countries on July 8 after 20 years of conflict. Many Eritreans hope the government will end indefinite military conscription. Thousands of Eritreans have fled the country in recent years to escape conscription.[6]

The Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, Mohamed bin Zayed, awarded medals to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki on July 24. Bin Zayed presented the two African leaders with the UAE’s highest award during a ceremony in Abu Dhabi in recognition of their recent peace agreement.[7]

ISIS claimed the assassination of a financial officer in Bakara market, Mogadishu on July 21.[8]

[1] Rebecca Kheel, “Final defense bill would limit US support to Saudi campaign in Yemen,” The Hill, July 23, 2018,; and “US Congress Seeks to Block F-35 Fighters Sale to Turkey, Limit Support for Saudi Yemen War,” Al Bawaba, July 24, 2018,

[2] "Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry praises Russia's support for the legitimate government," Saba Net, July 24, 2018,

[3] “Civilians dead and wounded in an explosion in Aden," Belqees, July 24, 2018,; "Suicide attack on UAE-backed forces kills two in south Yemen," The New Arab, July 24, 2018,; "Suicide attack kills two in south Yemen," Arab News, July 24, 2018,; and “The commander of the Task Force for the Security of Aden survives an assassination attempt,” Aden Lang, July 24, 2018,     

[4] “Minister: The Transitional council publicly rejects the holding of Parliament in Aden and the deputies targeted,” Al Masdar Online, July 24, 2018,; “Ali Mahmood, “Aden’s STC says Qatar is giving Houthis financial support,” The National, July 23, 2018,

[5] Maggie Fick, “Ethiopia prime minister calls for multiparty democracy: chief of staff,” Reuters, July 22, 2018,; Samuel Gebre, “Ethiopian leader calls for a multiparty democracy,” Bloomberg, July 22, 2018,; and “Prime Minister: Ethiopia has ‘no option’ but multiparty democracy,” VOA, July 22, 2018,

[6] “Eritrean conscripts told unlimited national services will end: sources,” Reuters, July 23, 2018,; and “Eritrean diaspora watches Ethiopia thaw with hope, mistrust,” Washington Post, July 21, 2018,

[7] “Photos: Ethiopia-Eritrea leaders meet in UAE, awarded for peace deal,” Africa News, July 24, 2018,

[8] Terror Monitor, Twitter, July 22, 2018,; and “ISIS claims assassination of financial officer,” Telegram, July 22, 2018.

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