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: Emirati foreign minister says UAE’s combat role in Yemen nearly finished; Yemeni prime minister seeks political unity in Aden; al Houthis advance in Taiz; popular resistance clashes with al Houthis in Hajjah and Ibb governorates
Horn of Africa: Somali Federal Parliament amends two articles of provisional constitution; UN approves Kenya’s plan to close Dadaab refugee camp; SNA and AMISOM launch clearing operation near Hudur, Bakool region
Yemen Security Brief
- Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash stated on June 15 that the UAE’s combat role in Yemen is “practically over,” and indicated that the UAE will focus on returning government services in territory governed by President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s administration. The UAE has worked to extricate itself from Yemen’s civil war and turn to counterterrorism operations in recent months. The UAE led an offensive against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in al Mukalla, Hadramawt governorate in April 2016.
- Prime Minister Ahmed bin Daghir called a meeting with representatives of various political parties in Aden on June 15 to encourage unity in the face of degrading security and challenges to President Hadi’s government in Aden. The Southern Movement, a political group which advocates for increased representation and government resources for southern Yemen, attempted to organize protests against the Hadi administration on June 15. Bin Daghir urged parties to set aside narrow interests and work together to improve governance and peacebuilding. He denounced the al Houthis as their one common enemy.
- Al Houthi fighters took control of al Zanqal, Taiz city on June 16. Al Houthi fighters reportedly took advantage of internal divisions in the resistance between the Abu Abbas Brigade, a Salafi group, and those following Hamoud Saeed al Mikhlafi, the leader of the popular resistance in Taiz. Al Houthi fighters and resistance fighters aligned with the Yemeni army have contested Taiz since April 2015.
- Popular resistance forces in the Tihama coastal region led an offensive against an al Houthi checkpoint in northern al Hajjah governorate on June 15. Several fighters were killed in the clashes. Government forces and resistance fighters also attacked al Houthi fighters in Haradh, Hajjah governorate. Al Houthi and popular resistance forces also clashed in Hazm al Udayn district, western Ibb city in central Yemen.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- The Federal Parliament of Somalia amended two key articles of the provisional constitution in an effort to ensure the continuation of governance through the expected August elections on June 15. Parliament altered Article 60 to extend the term of current office holders from the stated four years to the next occurrence of successful elections. Parliament also altered Article 136 to hand off the power to decide on the permanent constitution to the next Somali parliament. The federal elections set to take place in August remain uncertain, and the establishment of indefinite term lengths removes some incentive for current office holders to ensure that the elections take place.
- The United Nations approved Kenya’s plan to dismantle the 328,000-member Dadaab refugee camp by November 2016 on June 15. Kenya has appealed to the international community for the camp’s closure for years, claiming that the refugee camp is a recruiting opportunity for al Shabaab militants. Ethnic Somalis comprise approximately 95% of the camp’s population. Kenya has not released all the details of Dadaab’s closure, but the refugees must return to Somalia.
- Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces began a clearing operation to target al Shabaab in Hudur district, Bakool region. Al Shabaab militants ambushed an AMISOM convoy traveling through the Bakool region on June 10. No enemy contact or casualties have been reported.