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: Al Houthi forces fire ballistic missiles at towns in Hajjah governorate; Hadi government and Houthis respond to UK Foreign Secretary’s statements on peace process; STC President speaks to UK parliament in London

Horn of Africa: U.S. congressional delegation visits Eritrea for first time in 14 years; Somali President meets with Ethiopian Prime Minister in Addis Ababa; UAE rumored to fund Somali anti-Qatar protests in London

Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi militants fired two ballistic missiles at al Abbaysah town in northern Kushar district in Hajjah governorate in western Yemen on March 5. Al Houthi forces have been conducting operations against Hajoori tribal forces since the Hajoor began an uprising against the al Houthi movement in January 2019. Al Houthi militants separately fired a Zilzal 1 ballistic missile targeting a Saudi weapons cache west of Jabal al Nar in Jizan region in southern Saudi Arabia on March 4, according to al Houthi media.[1]

President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government issued a statement on March 4 in response to UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s visit to Aden city on March 3. Hunt had lamented a lack of progress in the UN-brokered deal to demilitarize al Hudaydah city in western Yemen during his visit. The Hadi government asserted it has the exclusive right to manage state affairs and that there is no national or international law that gives any external power the right to administer al Hudaydah city. The al Houthi movement also criticized Hunt’s remarks and claimed that Hunt had misrepresented what the parties had agreed on at the UN-held peace talks.[2]

Transitional Political Council for the South (STC) President Aydarus al Zubaidi spoke to British parliamentarians in London about the state of the conflict in southern Yemen on March 5. Zubaidi stressed that southern Yemeni actors must not be excluded from the peace process.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

A U.S. congressional delegation traveled to Asmara, Eritrea’s capital, to meet with the Eritrean Foreign Minister, Presidential Adviser, and Head of Economic Development on March 3. This is the first official U.S. congressional delegation to Eritrea in 14 years. Members of the delegation stated that they hope that U.S. nationals currently detained by the Eritrean government will be released promptly.[4]

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, on March 5. The two leaders discussed strengthening bilateral ties and regional issues. Abiy also offered to mediate an ongoing dispute between Kenya and Somalia over oil rights.[5]

Somali media reported that the UAE paid Somalis in London to protest Qatar’s activities in Somalia. The UAE’s embassy in London reportedly reached out to British-Somali lawmakers, politicians, and businessman to plan a protest outside Qatar’s embassy in London for March 9.[6]

[1] “Tribes respond to attack on a gang of 5 axes and Houthis more than 75 dead and the militia retaliates by firing two ballistic missiles,” Al Montasaf, March 5, 2019,; and “Zilzal 1 hits a store of mercenaries’ weapons and ammunition west of Jabal al Nar in Jizan,” 26 Sep Net, March 04, 2019,

[2] “URGENT Official: Yemeni government responds to British foreign minister after visiting Aden and his televised remarks,” al Mashad al Yemeni, March 5, 2019; “Yemen’s rebels slam UK foreign secretary over his comments,” Associated Press, March 4, 2019,; and Foreign & Commonwealth Office and The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, “Foreign Secretary visits Yemen to bolster support for UN peace process,” UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, March 5, 2019,

[3] Abdy Yeganeh, Twitter, March 5, 2019,; and Aydarus al Zubaidi, “STC: UK essential partner for securing solution for South Yemen,” STC EU, March 4, 2019,

[4] “1st US Congressional Delegation in 14 years visits Eritrea,” Associated Press, March 4, 2019,; and Tesfa News, Twitter, March 4, 2019,

[5] “Ethiopia seeks to mediate Somalia-Kenya over oil blocks row,” Mareeg, March 5, 2019,; Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban, “Somali president in Addis Ababa for talks with Ethiopian PM,” Africa News, March 5, 2019,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review - February 19, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute,

[6] “UAE funds protests against Qatar’s operations in Somalia,” March 5, 2019, Mareeg,

View Citations
Arrow down red
Apr '19
Mar '19
Feb '19