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: Al Houthi movement attempts two attacks on Saudi airports; STC President meets with tribal sheikhs in Shabwah  

Horn of Africa: Sudanese military and civilian leaders reach three-year power sharing agreement; SFG begins integration of ASWJ in Galmudug; al Shabaab attacks Ethiopian AMISOM base in Hiraan; al Shabaab executes accused spies in Lower Jubba; SFG severs ties with Guinea over Somaliland; largest southern Ethiopian ethnic group may declare new federal state

Yemen Security Brief

The Saudi-led coalition announced that it downed an al Houthi drone near Jizan Regional airport on July 4. The al Houthi movement military spokesperson, Yahya Sarea, also claimed an attempted al Houthi drone attack on Abha Regional Airport. The Saudi-led coalition did not acknowledge this attack. These attacks would be fifth and sixth attempted al Houthi drone attacks on Saudi Arabia since June 29.[1]

President of the Transitional Political Council for the South (STC) Aydarus al Zubaidi met with tribal sheikhs from Shabwah governorate in southern Yemen in Aden on July 4. Al Zubaidi reinforced the STC’s commitment to the people of Shabwah and to the Shabwani Elite Forces. They also discussed the security of oil and gas pipelines in Shabwah. Hadi government-backed forces clashed with STC-backed forces in Shabwah in June.[2] 

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Military and civilian leaders in Sudan reached a power-sharing agreement on July 5. They agreed to form a joint council that will govern the country for a three-year interim period until elections. The leader of the Transitional Military Council, Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al Burhan, will lead the joint council for the first 21 months before transitioning power to a civilian leader for 18 months. Both sides will nominate five members to the council and jointly nominate the 11th member.[3]

The Somali Federal Government (SFG) began an exercise to integrate Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a (ASWJ) forces into the SFG’s security forces in Dhusamareb, the capital of Galmudug state, on July 4. SFG Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire and officials from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) attended the ceremony.[4]

Al Shabaab attached an Ethiopian AMISOM base in Halgan town in Hiraan region in central Somalia on July 4. An al Shabaab-aligned media source said that the attack killed three peacekeepers.[5]

Al Shabaab announced that it had executed five accused spies in Hagar town in Lower Jubba region on July 3. Al Shabaab broadcast the news on its al Andalus radio station and said that the men were accused of spying for American, Kenyan, and Somali intelligence services.[6]

The SFG severed diplomatic ties with Guinea on July 4 after the President of Somaliland received an official welcome during a visit to Conakry, Guinea’s capital. Somaliland is seeking international recognition for independence from Somalia.[7]

Representatives of the Sidama, the largest ethnic group in southern Ethiopia, may unilaterally declare the creation of a new regional state on July 18. The Ethiopian government must organize a referendum on the issue before July 18 in order to prevent a unilateral declaration. International Crisis Group argues that the dispute must be resolved with proper preparation in order to avoid destabilizing conflict.[8]

[1] “Houthis declare targeting Jazan and Abha airports,” al Jazeera, July 5, 2019,; “Coalition: dropping Houthi aircraft in the direction of Jazan airport,” Barakish, July 5, 2019,; “Arab Coalition intercepts Houthi drones targeting Saudi Arabia’s Jazan Airport,” al Arabiya, July 5, 2019,; and Al Masirah, Twitter, July 4, 2019,  

[2] “Details on the Meeting of President Zuabidi and Sheikhs of tribes in Shabwah,” Aden Lang, July 5, 2019,; and “President al Zubaydi meets with Tribal Sheikhs and leaders of the Nama tribe from Shabwa,” STCaden, July 5, 2019,

[3] Declan Walsh, “Sudan Power-Sharing Deal Reached by Military and Civilian Leaders,” New York Times, July 4, 2019,

[4] “Somalia starts process to integrate Ahlu Sunna forces into the Somali Security Forces,” African Union Mission in Somalia, July 5, 2019,

[5] “Somalia: 3 peace makers after AU troops clash with al Shabaab,” Mareeg, July 4, 2019,

[6] “Al-Shabab executes five spies, including CIA informants in Somalia,” Garowe Online, July 4, 2019,

[7] Abdi Guled, “Somalia cuts diplomatic ties with Guinea over Somaliland,” Associated Press, July 4, 2019,; and “As Somalia fumes at Guinea, Somaliland ‘begs’ for international recognition,” Africa News, July 5, 2019,

[8] “Time for Ethiopia to Bargain with Sidama over Statehood,” International Crisis Group, July 4, 2019,

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