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 to hold political talks in Geneva; Iranian cargo ship sailing to Yemen to submit to UN inspections in Djibouti; al Houthis attack Saudi positions in Najran and Jizan

Horn of Africa: Kenyan airstrike targets al Shabaab in Gedo region; Somali security forces arrest five suspected al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • The UN announced on May 20 that it will host Yemeni political talks in Geneva on May 28. The UN statement encouraged all groups involved in the conflict to participate in the talks in good faith and without preconditions. Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government appears to have responded poorly to the announcement, protesting that they have not received enough time to prepare and that the conference should only take place if the al Houthis submit to UN Resolution 2216, which would require them to disarm. The al Houthi movement has yet to respond to the UN announcement.[1]
  • Pentagon spokesman Steve Warren announced that the Iran Shahed, an Iranian cargo ship carrying humanitarian aid to the Yemeni port al Hudaydah, linked up with Iranian warships from the Iranian 34th fleet in the Gulf of Aden on May 19. Warren emphasized that U.S. officials are not concerned by the activity of the ships, and Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahiah announced on May 20 that the Shahed will dock in Djibouti to submit to UN inspections, as the U.S. had previously called for.[2]
  • Al Houthi militants clashed with Saudi military forces in Najran and Jizan provinces along the Saudi-Yemeni border on May 20. One Saudi soldier was killed in the fighting in Jizan.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Kenya conducted an airstrike near Gadondhawe, Gedo region on May 20. The attack targeted an al Shabaab base near the Somali-Kenyan border. It is not clear how effective the attack was.[4]
  • Somali security forces arrested five suspected al Shabaab members in Mogadishu on May 20.[5]

[1] “New York, 20 May 2015 – Statement attributable to Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the resumption of a political process in Yemen,” UN, May 20, 2015. Available:
“U.N. peace conference to be held in Geneva May 28,” al Arabiya, May 19, 2015. Available:
“Yemen foreign minister says government might not attend talks,” Reuters, May 20, 2015. Available:
[2] “Iran to allow UN inspection of Yemen aid ship in Djibouti,” Reuters, May 20, 2015. Available:
“Pentagon says Iran warships ‘linked up’ with cargo vessel,” May 19, 2015. Available:
[3] “Clashes between Saudis and al Houthis in Najran,” Onaeg, May 20, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
“Clashes along Saudi-Yemeni border with al Houthis and casualties,” 24, May 20, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Kenya jets bomb Al Shabaab base in Gedo,” Dalsan Radio, May 20. Available:
[5] “5 Al-Shabaab suspects arrested in Mogadishu,” Bar Kulan, May 20. Available:
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