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: Hadi delegation prepares to leave Kuwait without a political resolution; UN Special Envoy for Yemen and Islamist al Islah party denounce al Houthi-GPC power-sharing agreement; Hadramawt commander offers pardon to AQAP and ISIS militants; Hadi government forces clash with al Houthi-Saleh fighters northeast of Sana’a; al Houthi-Saleh forces claim to kill four Saudi soldiers in Asir province, Saudi Arabia
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants clash with Ethiopian AMISOM and SNA forces near Hudur, Bakool region; Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a (ASWJ) militias drive al Shabaab forces from Guriel, Galgaduud region; Puntland cabinet members vow to retake land from Somaliland
Yemen Security Brief
- The UN-led peace process in Kuwait may end without yielding a political resolution. A member of the government delegation aligned with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, Abdul Aziz Jabari, announced that the delegation will leave Kuwait on July 30. Peace talks between the Hadi government and al Houthi-General People’s Congress party (GPC) delegations began three months ago and have not produced a comprehensive peace deal.
- The al Houthi political wing, Ansar Allah, signed an official power-sharing agreement on July 28 with the General People’s Congress (GPC), a political party affiliated with former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. The agreement creates a supreme political council with ten representatives from each side. Its chairmanship will alternate between the two parties. The decision also dissolved the pre-existing al Houthi Supreme Revolutionary Committee. UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed denounced the power-sharing agreement for violating UN Security Council Resolution 2216, which calls upon parties to avoid “unilateral actions” that could jeopardize any future political reconciliation process in Yemen. The official spokesman for the al Houthi-GPC delegation, Mohammed Abdul Salam, claimed that peace talks are still the best way forward but noted that the Hadi delegation is not the only actor empowered to make unilateral decisions. The Islamist al Islah party allied with the Hadi government denounced the move by the al Houthi-Saleh faction, calling it a “step that eliminates all efforts for peace in Yemen.” Al Islah also criticized the international community for its reluctance to implement UNSCR 2216.
- A Yemeni army commander working with the Saudi-led coalition in Hadramawt governorate announced on July 29 that any al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) or Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) militants who turn themselves in to authorities in the next two weeks will be pardoned. His announcement follows a series of suicide explosive attacks in al Mukalla that began in May 2016.
- Hadi government and popular resistance forces clashed with al Houthi-Saleh fighters in Yam and Bani Faraj areas in Nihm district, eastern Sana’a governorate on July 28. These forces continue to actively contest Nihm district, including strategic mountaintops overlooking the main road into Sana’a.
- Al Houthi-Saleh snipers killed four Saudi soldiers in al Rabua, Asir province in southern Saudi Arabia on July 28, according to al Houthi sources. Saudi media has not reported on the attack. Al Houthi-Saleh fighters fired three Yemeni-made rockets on the Jazan province, Saudi Arabia, according to al Houthi media.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab militants clashed with Ethiopian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces and Somali National Army (SNA) troops stationed in Moragabey village near Hudur in Bakool region on July 28. The militants killed three Ethiopian AMISOM soldiers and two SNA troops. The militants fled the area following the attack.
- Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a (ASWJ), a Sufi Islamist paramilitary group, began operations to combat al Shabaab in the Galgaduud region of central Somalia on July 28. ASWJ has recaptured multiple towns from al Shabaab militants this week. Al Shabaab representatives held unsuccessful talks with local elders in Guriel town of Galgaduud region on preventing civilian casualties. The talks will restart next month.
- Puntland officials vowed to retake territory lost to Somaliland in clashes between the two states that began on July 18. Both states claim sovereignty of overlapping lands in the Sool and Sanaag regions of northern Somalia. Somaliland forces entered villages in Sool region on July 28 to intimidate civilians into voting in the 2017 Somaliland elections.