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: UN Security Council holds emergency meeting on imminent Emirati-led offensive on al Hudaydah port; al Houthi forces fire ballistic missiles at Jizan region, southwestern Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab kills one U.S. soldier in attack on U.S-Somali military base in Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia; al Shabaab attacks SNA base in Bakool region, central Somalia; al Shabaab ambushes NISA post outside of Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on June 11 to discuss humanitarian concerns regarding an imminent Emirati-led assault on al Hudaydah port.  UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths met with Emirati officials in the UAE in an attempt to prevent an offensive on the port. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres confirmed the UN is facilitating negotiations to avoid a military confrontation over the port. President Donald Trump’s administration gave Emirati officials a “blinking yellow light” for an assault on the port, according to a U.S. official. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emphasized the need to address the UAE’s security concerns while maintaining the flow of humanitarian aid and commercial imports during a conversation with Emirati officials on June 11. The U.S. and international community pressured the UAE not to assault the port the week of June 4.[1]

Al Houthi forces launched Badr 1 ballistic missiles targeting Jizan city, Jizan region, southwestern Saudi Arabia on June 9 and 10. Fragments of the June 9 missile killed three Saudi civilians, according Saudi state-run news. Saudi-led coalition air defense systems intercepted both missiles, according to coalition Spokesmen Colonel Turki al Maliki.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab conducted a complex attack on a U.S.-Somali military position in Sanguni, Lower Jubba region that killed U.S. Staff Sergeant Alexander W. Conrad and injured four other U.S. Special Operations Forces on June 8. Al Shabaab set off several explosions followed by a small-arms fire and mortars. The attack occurred shortly after a U.S.-backed Somali operation targeting al Shabaab in nearby Jamaame.  This attack marks the second death of a U.S. serviceman in Somalia since the “Black Hawk Down” incident in 1993.  Al Shabaab subsequently conducted a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) attack at the same base on June 9. Somali officials stated that they prevented the VBIED from reaching the base, while al Shabaab claimed that its bomber entered the base and caused dozens of casualties.[3]

 Al Shabaab fighters attacked a Somali National Army (SNA) military base in the Teed area near Hudur in Bakool region, central Somalia on June 11. The attack killed at least four SNA soldiers. The mayor of Hudur stated that SNA forces repelled the attack.  Southwest State security forces began a counter-al Shabaab operation in the area surrounding Hudur on June 9 in response to recent attacks on military bases in the Bay and Bakool regions.[4]

 Al Shabaab militants ambushed a Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) post in Sinka Dheer on the outskirts of Mogadishu on June 10. NISA temporarily stopped public transportation between Mogadishu and Afgoi during the firefight.[5]

[1] “Heavy clashes near Yemen's Hodeidah as U.N. seeks ceasefire,” Reuters, June 10, 2018,;“U.N. Pushes to Avert Catastrophic UAE Attack on Yemen Port,” Wall Street Journal, June 11, 2018,; and “Developments in Hudaydah,” U.S. Department of State, June 11, 2018,
[2] Three killed in Saudi Arabia following Houthi missile attack,” The New Arab, June 9, 2018.; “Military source: the continuation of rocket operations targeting strategic and economic targets,” Saba News, June 11, 2018,; “URGENT: Rocket force targeting industrial city in Jizan with Badr 1 ballistic missile,” Saba News, June 10, 2018,; and “Saudi intercepts missile fired towards Jazan,” Gulf Business, June 11, 2018,
[3] Eric Schmitt and Thomas Gibbons-Neff, “Quick Evacuation in Somalia Firefight Shows Disparity in U.S. Resources in Africa,” New York Times, June 10, 2018,; Barbara Starr and Ryan Browne, “US Service Member Killed in Somalia,” CNN, June 10, 2018,; Shmuel Yosef Agnon, “US Confirms Death of Staff Stg. Alexander W. Conrad, Service Member Killed During A Clash with al Shabaab in Somalia,” Intelligence Briefs, June 11, 2018,; Bill Roggio and Caleb Weiss, “US Special Forces soldier killed in Shabaab ambush,” Long War Journal, June 8, 2018,; and “Suicide car bomb in Somalia injured seven soldiers,” Reuters, June 10, 2018,
[4] “Four killed as Somali forces clash with al Shabaab,” Mareeg, June 11, 2018,; Harun Maruf, Twitter, June 11, 2018,; and  “Somalia Southwest State Forces Begin Military Operation Near Hudur Town,” Shabelle Media,
[5] “Al-Shabaab lays ambush on Somali army base outside Mogadishu, casualties reported,” Goobjoob, June 11, 2018,; and “Al-Shabaab attacks NISA checkpoint outside Mogadishu,” Radio Shabelle, June 11, 2018,
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