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: U.S. Senate tables resolution to withdraw U.S. support to Saudi-led coalition; U.S. President Trump discusses Saudi investment in the U.S. with Saudi Crown Prince; two members of Yemen President Hadi’s cabinet resign; AQAP militants attack Emirati-backed forces in Shabwah governorate; al Houthi forces disperse a demonstration commemorating late former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s birthday in Sana’a

Horn of Africa: U.S. airstrike targets al Shabaab militants in Mubarak, Lower Shabelle region; UAE-trained SNA soldiers clash with NISA forces in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

The U.S. Senate tabled a resolution to withdraw U.S. support to the Saudi-led coalition on March 20. The U.S. Senate voted 55 to 44 to table the resolution, blocking an effort led by Senators Bernie Sanders (VT-I), Mike Lee (UT-R), and Chris Murphy (CT-D) to withdraw U.S. support for the coalition. The U.S. Department of Defense lobbied congress not to withdraw support to the coalition. DoD officials argued that the U.S. would lose its ability to shape the Saudi-led coalition’s actions and that the humanitarian crisis would worsen without U.S. assistance to the coalition.[1]

U.S. President Donald Trump expressed hope that Saudi purchases of U.S. weapons would bolster American wealth during a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman in Washington D.C. on March 20. Bin Salman and Trump discussed Saudi investment pledges in the U.S. worth $400 billion when fully implemented. Bin Salman and Trump also discussed Yemen’s humanitarian crisis and Iranian actions in Yemen. Several U.S. senators questioned Bin Salman about Yemen during a meeting on March 20, according to Senator Bob Corker (TN-R).[2]

Two members of internationally recognized Yemen President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s cabinet resigned. President Hadi rejected a resignation attempt by Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Aziz Jubari on March 19. Jubari expressed his frustration with the lack of Hadi government control on the ground and inability of the Hadi government to perform its duties. Hadi government Minister of State Saleh al Sayadi also announced his resignation on March 20. Al Sayadi cited the inability of the Hadi government to fulfill its mandate and the subordination of the Hadi government to the Saudi-led coalition as reasons for his departure.[3]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants attacked Emirati-backed Shabwani Elite Forces at a checkpoint near Ataq city, Shabwah governorate, eastern Yemen on March 19. Shabwani Elite Forces clashed with AQAP militants and arrested an AQAP local commander in Mas area, east of Ataq city on March 16. Emirati-backed forces conducted a counterterrorism operation in al Said district, south of Ataq city at the end of February.[4]

Al Houthi movement forces used gunfire to disperse a large demonstration in front of the house of the late former president Ali Abdullah Saleh on March 21, according to local sources. The demonstrators gathered to commemorate Saleh’s birthday.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) conducted an airstrike targeting al Shabaab militants near Mubarak, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia on March 19. The airstrike killed two al Shabaab militants and wounded three others. The airstrike destroyed one vehicle. U.S.-backed Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces recaptured Mubarak from al Shabaab in an offensive to recapture territory from al Shabaab in southern Somalia on February 12.[6]

UAE-trained SNA soldiers and Somali National Intelligence and National Security Agency (NISA) forces mistakenly exchanged gunfire at Tarabunka junction in Mogadishu on March 21. The incident killed at least two people and injured several others. Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire called for better coordination and leadership to prevent future accidents. A similar incident occurred in Mogadishu in January 2018.[7]

[1] “Senate rejects bid to end U.S. support for Saudi campaign in Yemen,” Reuters, March 20, 2018,
[2] “Trump Praises U.S. military sales to Saudi as he welcomes crown prince,” Reuters, March 20, 2018,
[3] “Another minister in the Yemeni government announces his resignation,” Al Masdar, March 20, 2018,; “The first government minister to surprise President Hadi at a high-level meeting to resign and decide to retire,” From Yemen, March 19, 2018,; “Jabari resigns in protest against government disruptions, Hadi rejects,” Al Masdar, March 19, 2018,; and Saleh al Sayadi, Facebook, March 21, 2018,
[4] “Injured in attack on militants targeting security point,” Aden Tomorrow, March 19, 2018,; “An armed attack on a security spot in Shabwah and elite forces confront the attackers,” Aden Lang, March 19, 2018,; “Two dead and wounded members of the Shabwa elite in armed ambush in Shabwah,” Yemen News, March 20, 2018,; and "Shabani Elite arrested al Qaeda leader after violent clashes in Mas area,” Al Mashhad Al Araby, March 16, 2018,
[5] “Breaking: Faiqah al Sayyed escapes from death in Sana’a,” Ibb Press, March 21, 2018,; and “Houthis attack a gathering of the supporters of ‘Saleh’ in front of his last house in Central Sana’a,” Al Masdar, March 21, 2018,
[6] “U.S. Conducts Airstrike in Support of the Federal Government of Somalia,” United States Africa Command, March 21, 2018,; “US Military Says it Killed Two Al Shabab Members in Fresh Airstrike,” Radio Shabelle, March 21, 2018,; and “Two Al-Shabaab militants killed in US airstrike in southern Somalia,” Goobjoog, March 21, 2018,  
[7] “PM Khaire rebukes soldiers over clash, demands commanders take full charge,” Goobjoog, March 21, 2018,; “Troops Within Somali National Army Clash in Mogadishu,” Radio Shabelle, March 21, 2018,; “2 Killed In Mogadishu Fighting Between SNA & NISA,” Radio Dalsan, March 21, 2018,; and “Breaking: Rival government forces clash in Mogadishu,” Hiiraan Online, March 21, 2018,
View Citations
Arrow down red
Apr '18
Mar '18
Feb '18