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 Special Envoy plans joint Yemen talks with al Houthi and Hadi government officials; U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee rejects arms sale to Saudi Arabia and UAE; U.S. Secretary of State says Iranian government must be held accountable for supporting al Houthi movement

Horn of Africa: Ethiopian government says grenade attack is part of plan to disrupt economy; Jubbaland administration announces new offensive in southern Somalia; al Shabaab claims multiple attacks in Lower and Middle Shabelle regions, southern Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths stated he hopes to bring the al Houthi officials and Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi to negotiations in a UN radio interview on June 28. Griffiths reported that negotiations over al Hudaydah port are still ongoing. He also stated that “Hudaydah is an extraordinary and important issue” but negotiations to end the war are his “principal and overriding responsibility.” Griffiths will meet with al Houthi officials and confirm details of these negotiations in the following days. The al Houthi movement and the Hadi government have expressed a willingness to Griffiths to restart negotiations. The UN last held joint talks on Yemen nearly two years ago.[1]

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee rejected the proposed sale of precision guided munitions kits to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. U.S. Senator Robert Menendez stated the Department of Defense and Department of State have not provided sufficient evidence that the Saudi-led coalition is taking steps to reduce civilian casualties or to pursue a political resolution to the conflict. He also said that there is not sufficient evidence that arms sales allowed the U.S. to shape the Saudi-led coalition’s actions.[2] 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated on June 28 that the Iranian government must be held accountable for its support of the al Houthi movement, which is "destabilizing Gulf's security & prolonging suffering of the Yemeni people."[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The Ethiopian government stated that a grenade attack at a rally for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on June 23 was part of a larger plan to disrupt the economy. A power outage and telecoms disruption occurred at the same time of the blast. The Ethiopian government has launched an investigation into the attack.[4]

The Jubbaland administration announced a new offensive against al Shabaab in the Gedo and Jubba regions, southwestern Somalia on June 28. Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces will support the offensive.[5]

Al Shabaab claimed an improvised explosive device (IED) attack targeting U.S.-backed Somali Special Forces in Wanlaweyn town, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia on June 27. Al Shabaab also claimed IED attacks on SNA and AMISOM forces in Balad town, Middle Shabelle region, southern Somalia on June 25.[6]


[1] Tom Mile, “Yemen's warring sides will return to peace talks, U.N. says,” Reuters, June 29, 2018,; and “De-escalation of fighting in Hodeida is key to ‘long-overdue’ resart of Yemen peace talks: UN envoy,” UN News, June 28, 2018,

[2] Letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, June 28, 2018,; and Patricia Zengerle, “U.S. lawmaker holds back support for munitions sale to Gulf allies due to Yemen,” Reuters, June 28, 2018,

[3] Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Twitter, June 28,; and “Pompeo: Iran's supreme leader bears blame for suffering in Yemen,” The National, June 29,  

[4] “Ethiopia says grenade attack part of plot to disrupt the economy,” Reuters, June 29, 2018,

[5] “Jubbaland readies an anti-al Shabaab push, says minister,” Radio Shabelle, June 28, 2018,

[6] “Shabaab claims bombing U.S.-trained Somali Special Forces in Wanlaweyn, AMISOM and SNA forces in Bal’ad,” SITE Intelligence Group, June 28, 2018, available by subscription at

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