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: Awlaki calls for jihad against U.S.; Yemeni government to free al Houthi prisoners; al Qaeda recruitment websites proliferate in Yemen and Somalia; Saleh to return transmitters to al Jazeera and al Arabiya
Horn of Africa: TFG to investigate MP travel; Somali pirates hijack charcoal ship; Puntland government and tribal elders sign agreement; Somali company implicated in UN report denies allegations
Yemen Security Brief
- Anwar al Awlaki, the American born cleric residing in Yemen and linked to the Ft. Hood shootings and attempted Christmas Day bombing, has issued a call for jihad against the United States. U.S. officials have considered adding al Awlaki to the terrorism capture or kill list despite his American citizenship.
- Following the release of over 100 government captives held by al Houthi rebels, Yemeni officials have said that they will also release al Houthi prisoners in keeping with the ongoing truce that has prevailed for over a month. Only a few days ago the truce looked to be close to collapsing after Yemeni government officials accused the al Houthis of failing to abide by the terms of the truce.
- FBI director Robert Mueller said Wednesday that his agency has been tracking the growth of al Qaeda websites in both Somalia and Yemen. Mr. Mueller said his agency was also monitoring the status of some 3,000 Americans currently in Yemen to see if they have become radicalized.
- Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has ordered that the Ministry of Information to return confiscated transmitters to al Jazeera and al Arabiya. The transmitters were originally seized last week to prevent the networks from reporting on the unrest in the south of the country. The government stated that the coverage was biased and had exacerbated the situation.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Somalia’s transitional government said it would look into why some MPs had left the country in response to the UN report alleging that visas to European countries had been auctioned off. Deputy Prime Minister Abdirahim Haji Aden Ibbi vehemently denied the report’s findings.
- Somali pirates have reportedly abducted a ship carrying charcoal bound for Dubai. This week, the TFG announced that illegal charcoal shipments were a major source of income for Islamist militants in Somalia. A spokesman for the pirates claimed that al Shabaab militants had seen off the ship from its port of origin in Kudha, in southern Somalia.
- Elders from the disputed regions of Sool, Ayn, and Sanag signed an agreement with the Puntland government in Garowe. The agreement stated the disputed regions are now officially territories of Puntland. The agreement is expected to increase cooperation between tribes in those regions and the Puntland government.
- The managing director of Swift Traders Company in Mogadishu denied the allegations against his company in last week’s UN report regarding the misappropriation of food aid. An employee of Swift Trader Company, Abukar Omar Adaani, was one of three Somali businessmen accused of funneling millions of dollars of food aid away from its intended recipients.
 “Yemen Preacher Urges Jihad on United States,” Reuters, March 18, 2010. Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE62H1VK20100318
 “Yemen to Free Shi’ite Rebel Prisoners Within Days,” Reuters, March 18, 2010. Available: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/18/AR2010031800597.html
 “Al Qaeda Websites Present Growing Threat, FBI’s Mueller Warns,” The Christian Science Monitor, March 18, 2010. Available: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/0317/Al-Qaeda-websites-present-growing-threat-FBI-s-Mueller-warns
 “Yemeni President Orders Return of Confiscated Transmitters to Arab TVs,” People’s Daily Online, March 18, 2010. Available: http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90854/6923339.html
 “Somalia: Government Says Will Search Why Some of the MPs Went Abroad,” Shabelle Media Network, March 18, 2010. Available: http://allafrica.com/stories/201003180328.html
 “Somali Pirates Claim to Have Hijacked Charcoal Ship,” Reuters, March 18, 2010. Available: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/17/AR2010031702227.html
 “Somalia: Puntland Government, Elders Sign Agreement,” Garowe Online, March 18, 2010. Available: http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Somalia_Puntland_gov_t_Elders_sign_agreement.shtml
 “Somalia: Swift Traders Company Denies UN Group Report,” Mareeg, March 18, 2010. Available: http://www.mareeg.com/fidsan.php?sid=15479&tirsan=3