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 Committee on Foreign Relations passes legislation aimed at pressuring Saudi Arabia to end the Yemeni conflict and addressing the humanitarian crisis; pro-AQAP media group founded; al Houthi forces fire a ballistic missile at Jizan port, Saudi Arabia; internationally recognized Yemeni president appoints new foreign minister; Sudanese president reaffirms commitment to the Saudi-led coalition

Horn of Africa: Somali prime minister appoints six new ministers; Puntland and Somaliland forces clash in Sool region, northern Somalia; SNA forces arrest two ISIS militants in Mogadishu; al Shabaab militants attack two military bases in Lower Shabelle, southern Somalia; al Shabaab militants assassinate state lawmaker in Puntland, northern Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations passed Senate Joint Resolution 58, which seeks to pressure Saudi Arabia to end the Yemen conflict, protect Yemeni civilians, and address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, on May 22. The bipartisan legislation requires the U.S. Secretary of State to certify that Saudi Arabia is taking action to end the war, increasing humanitarian aid shipments, and reducing harm to Yemeni civilians. Congress may withdraw funding for military assistance to Saudi Arabia’s military efforts in Yemen if the Secretary of State fails to certify Saudi compliance within 30 days of the bill’s enaction.[1]

A media group called the “al Badr Media Foundation” announced its establishment in support of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on Telegram and Twitter on May 23. The group stated its goal of refuting anti-AQAP messaging, spreading al Qaeda’s message to younger individuals, and promoting security.[2]

Al Houthi forces launched a Badr 1 short-range ballistic missile targeting Jizan port in Jizan region, southwestern Saudi Arabia on March 24. Saudi air defenses intercepted the missile, according to Saudi-led coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al Maliki.[3]

Internationally recognized Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi appointed Yemen’s UN Ambassador Khalid al Yamani as the new foreign minister on May 23. Al Yamani replaces former Hadi government Foreign Minister Abdul Malik al Mikhlafi, who is set to become an advisor to President Hadi. President Hadi also named Yemen’s US Ambassador Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak as the new Yemeni Ambassador to the UN.[4]

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al Bashir reaffirmed Sudan’s commitment to Saudi-led coalition operations in Yemen during a meeting with Saudi Assistant Minister of Defense Mohammed Abdullah al Aish in Khartoum on May 24. Sudanese Defense Minister Ali announced that Sudan is reconsidering its support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen on May 2. Sudan has deployed nearly 3,000 soldiers to Yemen.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire appointed six new ministers, including the Minister for Defense and Minister for Religious Endowment, on May 24. Minister of Defense Hassan Ali Mohamed replaced Mohamed Mursal, who became the Lower House speaker in April. Khaire also appointed five new deputy ministers and two new state ministers.[6] 

Competing forces from Puntland and Somaliland clashed for the second time in May in the Tuko Raq area of Sool region in northern Somalia on May 24. Each side released a press statement accusing the other side of attacking first. Somaliland security forces attacked Puntland military forces near Tuko Raq on May 15. Somaliland and Puntland both claim the Sanaag and Sool regions in northern Somalia. Somaliland forces expelled Puntland officials from Tuko Raq in 2017.[7] 

Somali National Army (SNA) forces arrested two Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) militants in Mogadishu on May 23. One of the militants assassinated a police officer in Bakara Market in Mogadishu on March 22, according to the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency. ISIS has assassinated four Somali government personnel in Mogadishu in May.[8]

Al Shabaab militants attacked two military bases in Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia overnight on May 23. Al Shabaab militants raided a Somali National Army (SNA) outpost in Bulo Marer village, sparking a gunfight that lasted several hours. Al Shabaab militants also fired mortar rounds at an AMISOM camp manned by Burundian troops in the Elasha Biyaha area.[9]

Suspected al Shabaab militants assassinated a Puntland state lawmaker in northern Galkayo town in Puntland, northern Somalia on May 23. Al Shabaab frequently targets Somali government personnel.[10]

[1] “Senate Foreign Relations Committee Passes Young Yemen Legislation to Address World’s Largest Humanitarian Crisis,” Senator Todd Young, May 22, 2018,
[3] “Breaking: Ballistic missile fired on Jizan port,” Saba, May 24, 2018,; “Missile force targets Jizan port with a Badr 1 ballistic missile,” Al Masirah, May 24, 2018,; “Coalition Forces Command RSADF Destroy A Ballistic Missile Fired By Iran-backed Al Houthi Terrorist Militias on KSA,” SPA, May 24, 2018,; and “Saudi air defenses intercept Houthi ballistic missile targeting Jazan,” Al Arabiya, May 24, 2018,
[4] “Khalid al Yamani, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak delegate of the Republic of Yemen to the UN,” Saba, May 23, 2018,; and “Yemen appoints new minister of foreign affairs: SABA,” May 23, 2018,
[5] “President of the Republic receives Assistant Defense Minister,” SUNA, May 24, 2018,; and “Sudan says committed to Yemen military campaign, weeks after signaling doubts,” Reuters, May 24, 2018,
[6] “Somali PM Hassan Ali Khaire names new ministers,” Radio Shabelle, May 24, 2018,; and “PM Khaire fills vacant posts, appoints Hassan Mohamed to defense,” Goobjoog, May 24, 2018,
[7] “Heavy fighting between Puntland and Somaliland erupts in Tukaraq,” Radio Shabelle, May 24, 2018,; and “Somalia: Fighting between Puntland and Somaliland forces reignites in Tukaraq,” Garowe Online, May 24, 2018,
[8] “Somalia: Two ISIS shooters arrested in Mogadishu,” Mareeg, May 23, 2018,
[9] “Al-Shabaab attacks separate military bases in Lower Shabelle region,” Radio Shabelle, May 24, 2018,; “Somalia: Al-Shabab targets AU base outside of capital,” Garowe Online, May 23, 2018,
[10] “Puntland parliamentarian shot dead in Galkayo, central Somalia,” Radio Shabelle, May 24, 2018,

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