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: One Yemeni officer killed and one injured in suspected al Qaeda attack in Shabwah governorate; Yemen says pledged U.S. aid not adequate; Southern Movement protests arrest of leading figure; jihadists speculate on the intention of AQAP’s parcel bombs; Arabian Gulf Security Panel denies reports that 20th Gulf Cup will be postponed
Horn of Africa: UN argues more needs to be done to address piracy problem; security officials search for men who launched attack on Muna Hotel, wounding 3; Somaliland denies Puntland allegations that its soldiers fought alongside al Shabaab
Yemen Security Brief
- Suspected al Qaeda gunmen opened fire on a vehicle carrying security officials in Ataq in Shabwah governorate, killing high ranking Yemeni officer Colonel Ali Thawaba and severely wounding another officer.
- A week after U.S. officials announced that military aid to Yemen would be doubled in 2011 to $250 million, the Yemeni government said that is not enough. According to Yemeni Deputy Minister Hesham Sharaf, Yemen is planning a two-year development of its military that will cost $6 billion. Sharaf believes, “Technology like satellites should be in Yemen’s hands, not images handed down to us… We must have special Yemeni forces trained to use combat helicopters, not Americans. If they (Americans) go on the ground, people will criticize us and say we are weak.”
- The arrest of Hassam Baoum, leader of the Supreme Council for the Peaceful Southern Movement, drew thousands of protesters to the streets in southern Yemen. 5,000 protestors in al Dhaleh and 3,000 in Radfan demanded the release of Baoum.
- Since al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed responsibility for the thwarted parcel bomb attacks and the September Dubai plane crash, jihadist forums have begun to speculate about AQAP’s intentions with the parcel bombs. Some claim that AQAP never intended for the packages to explode, but rather they wanted to use the incident as proof that they downed the Dubai plane in September. Others claim that the timing was strategic as the attack came just before the holiday season, and the new paranoia over air cargo will cause chaos in the U.S. A jihadist on the Shumukh al Islam forum wrote, “It is a new kind of war: a war of intelligence, security, financial and security attrition and striking at the heart of the failing Western economy. It is the strategy of terror and intimidation that the West should get ready for because of the coming stage of utter darkness.”
- Head of the Arabian Gulf Security Panel denied reports that the 20th Gulf Cup being held in Yemen will be postponed. A commission from the panel is currently in Yemen inspecting the athletic facilities and determining if the security situation is stable enough to host the event.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Despite international efforts to quell piracy off the coast of Somalia it is still a growing problem, and the UN argues that more needs to be done to fix the problem at its source, namely by creating economic alternatives to piracy for young Somalis. British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said, “As long as piracy is lucrative, with ransom payments adding up to tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars, and other economic incentives so bleak, the incentives are obvious.”
- Security officials are conducting operations to find the men who launched a grenade at Mogadishu’s Muna Hotel, wounding three people. District Commissioner of Hamar Jajab Abdibasid Mohamed Hassan claims that they know who carried out the attack, saying “we shall continue our operations and bring them to justice.”
- Somaliland authorities are rejecting claims made yesterday by Puntland government officials that Somaliland soldiers fought alongside al Shabaab militants against Puntland troops. Puntland livestock minister Said Hassan Shire said, “As revealed by our [Puntland] intelligence agency, more than 70 soldiers who received salary from Somaliland government fought alongside al Shabaab during the Galgala conflict.” Somaliland Information Minister Abdullahi Osman Geljire denied this allegation, saying “We share a border with Puntland there is neighborliness and brotherhood between us and our communities.”