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: Saudi-led coalition to allow al Houthi medical evacuation to Oman; ISIS claims to attack AQAP in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen; AQAP supporters comment on poor health of emir Qasim al Raymi; Emirati-backed forces seize outskirts of al Hudaydah port; Iranian Strategic Council on Foreign Relations chairman meets former Austrian President to discuss Yemen conflict

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab executes foreign fighter in Middle Jubba region, southern Somalia; Ethiopia arrests dozens of officials over corruption and assassination attempt on PM; 300 people flee ethnic violence in northwestern Ethiopia; former al Shabaab deputy leader Mukhtar Robow meets with UK ambassador to Somalia; AMISOM moves forward with withdrawal plans

Yemen Security Brief

The Saudi-led coalition announced that it will permit the UN to oversee an al Houthi medical evacuation of up to 50 wounded fighters to Oman on November 13. UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt met with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdul Aziz al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as well as officials from the UAE and President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government in Riyadh on November 12 in an effort to boost support for upcoming UN peace consultations.[1]

ISIS Wilayat al Bayda claimed to attack al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) positions in Za’j area of Walad Rabia district, northwestern al Bayda governorate, central Yemen on November 12. ISIS claimed to kill 10 AQAP fighters and wound many others. The attack is unconfirmed.[2]

AQAP supporters expressed concern for AQAP emir Qasim al Raymi’s poor health on social media on November 7 and 8. AQAP referenced Raymi’s poor health in a video on October 30.[3]

Emirati-backed Yemeni forces seized outskirts of al Hudaydah CORRECTION An earlier version of the Security Review stated that Emirati-backed Yemeni forces seized the outskirts of the port. Emirati-backed Yemeni forces are still on the outskirts of the city and have not yet reached the port. city on November 12 and 13. Emirati-backed forces stormed al Rabsa district southwest of al Hudaydah on November 11.  Emirati-backed Yemeni forces claimed to kill 140 al Houthi fighters on November 12 and 13 during operations in al Hudaydah city. Saudi-led coalition aircraft bombed the entrance al Hudaydah port on November 12, according to al Houthi sources. Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al Yamani stated that Emirati-backed forces are keen to maintain operations at al Hudaydah port, protect local civilians and infrastructure, and guarantee the continued arrival of commercial goods and humanitarian supplies on November 12.[4]

Iranian Strategic Council on Foreign Relations Chairman Kamal Kharrazi met with former Austrian President Heinz Fischer in Vienna, Austria on November 9. Kharrazi and Fischer discussed the importance of ending the conflict in Yemen.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab executed an Egyptian jihadist, Abu Anas al Misri, in a mosque in Jilib town, Middle Jubba region, southern Somalia on November 11. Al Shabaab members killed the jihadist after he refused to surrender and pulled a grenade. Al Shabaab members detained other CorrectionA previous version of the Security Review stated that al Shabaab arrested additional foreign fighters. It is not known whether the fighters that the group arrested were foreigners or locals.fighters and also targeted a former proselytization chief, Moallim Daud, in Gedo region, southern Somalia on November 12. It is not known whether al Shabaab killed or captured Daud.[6]

Ethiopia arrested 63 intelligence officials, military personnel, and officials in the state-owned Metec Corporation over allegations of corruption and rights violations on November 12. Those arrested include former Metec CEO Kinfe Dagnew and former head of the Information Network Security Agency (INSA), Tekleberhan Woldaregay. Ethiopian Attorney General Berhanu Tsegaye also accused and arrested dozens of Ethiopian security officials, including the leadership of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), of ordering an assassination attempt against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Addis Ababa in June. Tsegaye implied that Getachew Assefa, the former NISS chief, had a role in the attack. Ethiopian authorities arrested many of the officials, but others escaped arrest. The intelligence officers instructed members of Abiy’s Oromo ethnic group to conduct the assassination attempt to create the impression that the Oromo population did not endorse Abiy, according to Tsegaye.[7]

Approximately 300 members of the Tigrayan and Kimant ethnic groups fled to Sudan due to ethnic violence in Metema town, Amhara region, northwestern Ethiopia in recent days. Ethnic Amhara youth attacked Tigrayan businesses with rocks and rifles in Metema on November 6 in retaliation for a recent attack against Amhara. The clashes killed at least four people.[8]

Former deputy al Shabaab leader and Southwest state presidential candidate Mukhtar Robow met with the United Kingdom’s ambassador to Somalia, David Concar, in Baidoa, Bay region, Southern Somalia on November 10. Robow received an eligibility certificate from the Southwest state electoral commission on November 5 despite the Somali Federal Government’s calls for him to be disqualified. Southwest President Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden resigned on November 7.[9]

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is moving forward with plans to withdraw some of its troops in February 2019 in accordance with the latest UN resolution, according to an AMISOM spokesman. AMISOM leaders, Somali government officials and African Union representatives developed a Concept of Operations in a recent conference in Nairobi that will guide AMISOM activities and operations before AMISOM’s complete withdrawal in 2021.[10]


[1] “Saudi-led coalition to allow evacuation of wounded Yemen rebels,” The Guardian, November 13, 2018,

[2] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, November 13, 2018,

[3] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, Novemeber 07, 2018,

[4] “Liberation of al Hudaydah… Joint forces seize control of parts of the port,” Alyoum8, November 13, 2018,; “Yemeni army advances into al Hudaydah amid clashes,” Anadolu Agency, November 12, 2018,; “Yemen army seize al rabsa district and besiege al Hudaydah,” Youm7, Novemeber 12, 2018,; and “Condemnations of the targeting of al Hudaydah port by the enemy,” Al Masirah, November 13, 2018,

[5] “Iran’s commitment to fulfil its obligations/America is not trustworthy,” Fars News Agency, November 9, 2018,

[6] Harun Maruf, Twitter, November 12,

[7] “Dozens in court as Ethiopia says security chiefs ordered attack on PM,” Reuters, November 12, 2018,; Aaron Maasho, Twitter, November 12, 2018,; and Addis Fortune, Twitter, November 12, 2018,

[8] “Ethiopians flee to Sudan after ethnic based attack,” Ethiopia Observer, November 8, 2018,

[9] Harun Maruf, Twitter, November 10, 2018,; “Gulf of Aden Security Review - November 7, 2018,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, November 7, 2018,

[10] “AMISOM ready to withdraw,” The East African, November 12, 2018,

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