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: Houthis accuse UK, US, and Saudi Arabia of preventing peace in Yemen; STC-backed forces announce successful counter-AQAP operations in Abyan; PLC deputy and STC vice president Bahsani travels to Wadi Hadramawt

Somalia: NISA and international partners clear al Shabaab haven in southern Somalia; likely al Shabaab IED attack targets Ugandan-trained soldiers in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

Houthi President Mahdi al Mashaat accused the United States and the United Kingdom of “blackmail” against Saudi Arabia to prevent a peace agreement between Saudi Arabia and the Houthi movement.[i] Mashaat falsely added that Saudi Arabia “bears responsibility” for the lack of a peace agreement. The Houthis have repeatedly stalled peace negotiations by demanding that an agreement between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia come before intra-Yemeni talks.[ii]

The Southern Transitional Council (STC)-backed 1st Support and Reinforcement Brigade commander said on May 12 that STC-backed forces “killed many” al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula fighters and destroyed “many networks of mines and explosive devices” during an operation in Wadi al Khayala, Mahfad district, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen.[iii]

Presidential Leadership Council Deputy and STC Vice President Faraj al Bahsani visited several officials, including the 1st Military Region commander, in Seiyun, Hadramawt governorate, southern Yemen, on May 13.[iv] The First Military Region opposes the STC, which is trying to increase its own control over Hadramawt at the expense of the First Military Region.[v] Bahsani said that he will conduct a number of visits in Hadramawt to evaluate local authorities.

Somalia Security Brief

National Intelligence and Security Agency forces with unspecified international partner drone support cleared al Shabaab havens near Ali Futo, Kurtunwarey district, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia, on May 13.[vi] Somali officials claim the operation killed at least 44 al Shabaab militants.

Likely al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a Somali National Army (SNA) vehicle IVO Kahda district, Mogadishu, on May 14.[vii] The attack killed at least four Ugandan-trained SNA soldiers that the Somali Federal Government deployed in Mogadishu in April.[viii] The Islamic State’s Somalia province has also carried out IED attacks in Mogadishu before.[ix]

[i] Al Masirah, “President al Mashaat: The Americans do not want a solution, and Saudi Arabia bears responsibility if it decides to submit to the Americans,” May 5, 2023,

[ii] South24, “In Yemen’s Crisis: Is Saudi Arabia a Mediator or a Party?” April 15, 2023,; Reuters, “Houthi official says Saudi Arabia cannot be a mediator in the Yemen War,” March 15, 2022,

[iii] SMA News, “The Southern Forces cleanse the mountains of Wadi al Khayala from terrorist elements,” May 12, 2023,

[iv] SMA News, “al Bahsani arrives in Seiyun after a successful foreign visit to address some important issues,” May 13, 2023,

[v] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – December 7, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, December 7, 2022,; Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 26, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 26, 2022,

[vi] Ahmed Mohamed, “Somalia Official Says 44 Militants Killed in Military Operation,” Voice of America, May 13, 2023,

[vii] Garowe Online, @GaroweOnline, Twitter, May 14, 2023,

[viii] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Salafi-Jihadi Movement Weekly Update – May 10, 2023,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, May 12, 2023,

[ix] Peter Denham and Damaris De La Cruz, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – April 5, 2023,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, April 5, 2023,

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