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 expresses concern over situation in Yemen; World Food Programme warns of impending aid suspension in al Houthi-controlled areas; al Houthi forces claim attacks in southwestern Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: AFRICOM conducts airstrike against al Shabaab in Middle Jubba region; Mukhtar Robow’s militia clashes with al Shabaab in Bakool region

Yemen Security Brief

The UN Security Council held a session on Yemen at the UN headquarters in New York City on June 17. The Security Council released a statement following the meeting calling on all parties to implement the UN-brokered 2018  Stockholm Agreement to alleviate the country’s humanitarian crisis. The Security Council noted that 70,000 people had died in the conflict since 2016 while 250,000 people were displaced in 2019 alone. The UN noted that there are 30 active frontlines in the conflict and that the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention has not resulted in any major changes in territorial control since 2016.[1]

The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) warned on June 17 that it would begin a phased suspension of food assistance to al Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen later in the week. The WFP previously threatened the suspension in response to al Houthi interference in the organization’s operations.[2]

Al Houthi forces claimed to seize multiple Saudi-led coalition military positions near the Yemeni border in Jizan region in southwestern Saudi Arabia on June 18. The al Houthi claims are unconfirmed. Al Houthi forces intensified cross-border attacks into southwestern Saudi Arabia in May.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

United States Africa Command (US AFRICOM) conducted an airstrike targeting al Shabaab militants near Jilib, an al Shabaab-controlled town in Middle Jubba region in southern Somalia, on June 16. The strike killed two militants.[4]

Militiamen loyal to former al Shabaab deputy leader  Mukhtar Robow attacked al Shabaab fighters in Bakool region in southern Somalia on June 17. Robow’s militiamen, known as the “Spiders,” claimed to kill senior al Shabaab tax official Mohamed Hassan Barqab in an ambush in the Kulanjarer area of Bakool. Robow, a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, defected to the Somali Federal Government (SFG) in 2017. The SFG arrested him in December 2018 when he attempted to run for President of Somalia’s South West State.[5]

[1] “United Nations Officials Urge Parties in Yemen to Fulfill Stockholm, Hodeidah Agreements, amid Security Council Calls for Opening Aid Corridors,” United Nations, June 17, 2019,; and Maher Farrukh, Twitter, June 18, 2019,

[2] “U.N. food chief warns aid suspension in Yemen likely to start this week,” Reuters, June 17, 2019,; and “Yemen’s Houthi rebels accused of diverting food aid from hungry,” The Guardian, June 17, 2019,

[3] “Control of a number of enemy mercenary sites in Jizan,” September 26, June 18, 2019,; and “Threat Update – May 29, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, May 29, 2019,

[4] “U.S. airstrikes target al-Shabaab in support of the Federal Government of Somalia,” United States Africa Command, June 17, 2019,; and “US says 2 al Shabaab killed in new airstrikes in Somalia,” Mareeg, June 18, 2019,

[5] “Somali militias clash with al Shabaab, Cmdr killed,” Mareeg, June 18, 2019,; Gabe Joselow, “Former al-Shabab spokesman, Mukhtar Robow, is running for office in Somalia,” November 25, 2018,; and “Somalia violence: Deadly Baidoa clashes over Robow arrest,” December 14, 2018,

View Citations
Arrow down red
Jul '19
Jun '19
May '19