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 movement leader delivers speech commemorating Iranian-initiated Quds Day; Hadi government forces claim advancing in al Jawf governorate’s al Hazm district; Saudi-led coalition forces reportedly kill al Houthi officials in al Bayda governorate; al Houthis reportedly launch ballistic missile toward Ma’rib city; STC delegation arrives in Saudi Arabia to meet Saudi officials
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab claims control over Khorof Kharar in northeastern Kenya; SNA holds security talks with Galmudug officials; Somali opposition parties sign memo condemning non-AMISOM Ethiopian troop presence in Somalia
The Gulf of Aden Security Review will be published on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays going forward.
Yemen Security Brief:
Al Houthi movement leader Abdul Malik al Houthi delivered a speech on May 21 commemorating Quds Day, an Iranian-initiated annual holiday that expresses solidarity with Palestinians and hostility toward Israel. His message included a warning to Muslims about the evil of Jews and a declaration of readiness to fight against Israel. The al Houthi movement has been part of Iran’s “Axis of Resistance” since 2015, which opposes the existence of Israel.
Forces aligned with the internationally recognized Yemeni government of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi claimed advancing in al Hazm district in al Jawf governorate in northern Yemen on May 21. Hadi government-backed forces claimed capturing multiple al Houthi sites in the district’s east, killing several al Houthi officials. Al Houthi militants seized al Hazm city, the capital of al Jawf governorate on March 1.
Saudi-led coalition forces reportedly killed several al Houthi officials during airstrikes targeting al Houthi positions in Qaniya district in al Bayda governorate in central Yemen on May 21. The airstrikes killed the al Houthi Director of Military Intelligence of Yemen’s southern Ibb governorate, according to multiple non-Houthi media sources. Hadi government-backed forces claimed killing an al Houthi official and several al Houthi militants in Qaniya district on May 19.
Al Houthi militants reportedly launched a ballistic missile on a residential neighborhood in Ma’rib city, the capital of Ma’rib governorate in northern Yemen on May 21. Al Houthi militants launched a ballistic missile toward Ma’rib city in early April.
A Transitional Political Council of the South (STC) delegation reportedly arrived in Saudi Arabia on May 19 for talks with Saudi officials. The delegation included STC President Aydarus al Zubaidi but appears to have excluded STC Vice President Hani Bin Brik, who previously criticized the Saudi-led coalition. The STC declared self-rule in southern Yemen in late April, violating the power-sharing November 2019 Riyadh Agreement between the STC and Hadi’s government.
Horn of Africa Security Brief:
Al Shabaab claimed control over the Khorof Kharar area in Wajir County in northeastern Kenya on May 16. Al Shabaab claimed it destroyed two Kenyan military bases and a Safaricom telecommunications center in Khorof Kharar. Kenyan Defense Forces reportedly launched airstrikes on suspected al Shabaab hideouts along the Kenyan-Somali border on May 16.
The Somali National Army (SNA) is holding talks with state and local military officials in central Somalia’s Galmudug State capital to discuss the ongoing fight against al Shabaab. The SNA chief visited several military camps in Galmudug where Somali troops are allegedly preparing for an offensive to retake al Shabaab-controlled territory. The SNA captured Janaale in southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region from al Shabaab with military support from the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) and US Africa Command in mid-March.
Several Somali political opposition parties signed a statement calling non-AMISOM Ethiopian troops in Somalia “occupiers,” noting that there is no formal agreement between AMISOM and Somali officials permitting their presence in Somalia. Hundreds of Ethiopian troops crossed the Somali-Ethiopian border into southwestern Somalia’s Gedo region in late March.
 “The text of the speech of the leader of Ansar Allah, Abd-al Malik Badr al-Din al-Houthi, on the occasion of International Jerusalem Day,” Al Manar, May 21, 2020, https://almanar.com.lb/6712400; and Katherine Zimmerman, “Iran’s man in Yemen and the al Houthis,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, January 17, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/irans-man-in-yemen-and-the-al-houthis.
 “Urgent: A military source provides news of the victories from Al-Jouf and the areas falling from the Houthis,” Mareb Press, May 21, 2020, https://marebpress.net/news_details.php?lang=arabic&sid=163820; and Pamela Makadsi and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – March 2, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-march-2-2020.
 “Houthi military intelligence director killed by air strike in Al Bayda (details),” Al Mashhad Al Yemeni, May 22, 2020, https://www.almashhad-alyemeni.com/166921; and Kalissa Azooz and Muhammad Ramadhito, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – May 20, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, May 20, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-may-20-2020.
 “The Houthis target a residential neighborhood in the city of Ma’rib with a ballistic missile,” Mareb Press, May 21, 2020, https://marebpress.net/news_details.php?lang=arabic&sid=163795; “Violent explosion shakes the city of Marib,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, May 21, 2020, https://www.almashhad-alyemeni.com/166809; and Omar Fahmy, Nayera Abdullah and Sandra Maler, “Yemen's Houthis launch ballistic missile at Yemeni city of Marib: Saudi state TV,” Reuters, April 8, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-marib/yemens-houthis-launch-ballistic-missile-at-yemeni-city-of-marib-saudi-state-tv-idUSKCN21Q3B9.
 “A delegation from the southern "Transitional" in Yemen visits Saudi Arabia ... and Riyadh refuses to receive Hani bin Brik,” Al Quds al Arabi, May 19, 2020, https://www.alquds.co.uk/%d9%88%d9%81%d8%af-%d9%85%d9%86-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%a7%d9%86%d8%aa%d9%82%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%8a-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%ac%d9%86%d9%88%d8%a8%d9%8a-%d9%81%d9%8a-%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%8a%d9%85%d9%86-%d9%8a%d8%b2%d9%88/; and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – April 27, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, April 27, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-april-27-2020.
 “Shabaab Claims Assassination of Mudug Governor in Suicide Bombing, Taking Control Over Kenyan Town,” SITE Intelligence Group, May 21, 2020, available by subscription at www.siteintelgroup.com; “Al-Shabaab suspects destroy Safaricom mast in Wajir,” Mustaqbal Radio, May 17, 2020, https://www.mustaqbalradio.net/al-shabaab-suspects-destroy-safaricom-mast-in-wajir; Bruhan Makong, “Al-Shabaab suspects destroy Safaricom mast in Wajir,” Daily Nation, May 16, 2020, https://www.nation.co.ke/counties/wajir/3444790-5554336-mxygb5/index.html; and Muhammad Ramadhito and Kalissa Azooz, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – May 18, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, May 18, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-may-18-2020.
 “SNA chief holds talks with military officials in Galmudug,” Radio Shabelle, May 21, 2020, https://www.radioshabelle.com/sna-chief-holds-talks-with-military-officials-in-galmudug/; and Pamela Makadsi and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – March 17, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 17, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-march-17-2020.
 “Somalia: Pressure mounts on FGS to boot out non-AMISOM Ethiopian troops,” Garowe, May 20, 2020, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/somalia-pressure-mounts-on-fgs-to-boot-out-non-amisom-ethiopian-troops; and Pamela Makadsi and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – March 23, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, March 23, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-march-23-2020.