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: Houthi defense minister warns Gulf States against defense cooperation with the United States; nominee for US ambassador to Saudi Arabia supports strengthening Saudi air defense; likely Houthi militants assassinate Yemeni journalist in Aden
Somalia: Regional forces repel al Shabaab complex attack in central Somalia; al Shabaab raids a KDF base in eastern Kenya; al Shabaab ambushes a KDF convoy in eastern Kenya
Yemen Security Brief:
Houthi defense minister Mohammed Nasser al Atifi warned Gulf States against seeking air defense cooperation with the United States on June 17.[i] He said the “interception systems” the Gulf States are “rushing to possess” are not able to intercept the Houthis’ missiles and drones. Atifi specifically referenced the US Patriot surface-to-air missile system.
US ambassador to Saudi Arabia nominee Michael Ratney indicated he would seek to strengthen Saudi defenses during his confirmation testimony on June 16.[ii] He said he aims to bolster Saudi defenses in light of repeated Houthi attacks against the kingdom over the previous year.
Possible Houthi militants detonated an improvised explosive device targeting Yemeni journalist Saber al Haidari in Aden city, southern Yemen, on June 16.[iii]
Somalia Security Brief:
Likely Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a (ASWJ) militia fighters and regional forces reportedly repelled an al Shabaab complex attack on Badho village, Adado district, Galgudud region, central Somalia, on June 17.[iv] The defending forces claimed to kill at least 67 al Shabaab militants, wound at least 33 more, and capture a suicide vehicle improvised explosive device (VBIED) and the driver.[v] Locals posted media showing dozens of dead alleged al Shabaab militants.[vi] Al Shabaab claimed to kill 27 defending fighters while suffering nine casualties but provided no proof.[vii] Al Shabaab simultaneously mortared the regional capital Dhusamareb, approximately 75 miles west of Bahdo, likely intending to fix potential defense reinforcements.[viii] Al Shabaab previously tried to seize Bahdo in fighting that killed at least 20 al Shabaab fighters on January 7.[ix]
Al Shabaab militants raided a Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) base in Kiunga, Lamu County, eastern Kenya, on June 16.[x]
Al Shabaab militants ambushed a KDF election security convoy near Riba, Wajir County, eastern Kenya, on June 16.[xi] Kenya is set to hold elections on August 9.
[ii] The National, “Nominee for US ambassador to Saudi Arabia vows to strengthen kingdom's military defenses,” June 16, 2022, https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/us-news/2022/06/16/nominee-for-us-ambassador-to-saudi-arabia-vows-to-strengthen-kingdoms-military-defences/.
[iii] Al Ghad TV, “A Yemeni journalist was killed in an explosive device explosion in his car,” June 16, 2022, https://www.alghad.tv/%d9%85%d9%82%d8%aa%d9%84-%d8%b5%d8%ad%d9%81%d9%8a-%d9%8a%d9%85%d9%86%d9%8a-%d9%81%d9%8a-%d8%a7%d9%86%d9%81%d8%ac%d8%a7%d8%b1-%d8%b9%d8%a8%d9%88%d8%a9-%d9%86%d8%a7%d8%b3%d9%81%d8%a9-%d8%a8%d8%b3%d9%8a/; @RSF_inter, Twitter, June 16, 2022, https://twitter.com/RSF_inter/status/1537329522890227713?s=20&t=EP4rSSo9SkbiTxVbrMCpWA.
[iv] Radio Dalsan, “Al Shabaab announced number of members killed in fighting in Baxdo,” June 17, 2022, https://www.radiodalsan.com/wararka-idaacadda/al-shabaab-oo-shaacisay-tirada-xubnaha-looga-dilay-dagaalkii-ka-dhacay-degaanka-baxdo/.
[v] SONNA, “Minister Falagle : 67 Al-Shabaab militants killed in Bahdo town,” June 17, 2022, https://sonna.so/en/2022/06/17/minister-falagle-67-al-shabaab-militants-killed-in-bahdo-town/; @sntvnews1, Twitter, June 17, 2022, https://twitter.com/sntvnews1/status/1537727472514519042?s=20&t=Asz7PtGJOoYTbh2IbQFBNg.
[vi] @Keydmedia, Twitter, June 17, 2022, https://twitter.com/Keydmedia/status/1537754385501110272.
[vii] Somalimemo, “Fighting erupts in Baxdo and Al Shabaab issues statement,” June 17, 2022, https://somalimemo.info/articles/16587/Dagaal-ka-dhacay-Baxdo-iyo-Al-Shabaab-oo-war-kasoo-saaray.
[viii] @HarunMaruf, Twitter, June 17, 2022, https://twitter.com/HarunMaruf/status/1537649956852465664.
[ix] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – January 7, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, January 7, 2022, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-january-7-2022.
[x] Somalimemo, “Jihadist forces carry out new attacks in Lamu and Wajir,” June 16, 2022, https://somalimemo.info/articles/16582/Xoogag-Jihaadi-ah-oo-weeraro-cusub-ka-fuliyay-Lamu-iyo-Wajeer.