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. House of Representatives passes resolution stating U.S. military assistance to Saudi-led coalition is not authorized by congress; ISIS Wilayat Aden-Abyan conducts suicide attack in Aden city, southern Yemen; al Houthi-Saleh leader states Saudi-led coalition can end war with direct dialogue

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab releases video of raid on SNA base in Lower Jubba, southern Somalia; Kenyan opposition accuses Western diplomats of influencing electoral commission; Kenyan MP drafts petition for secession referendum; al Shabaab militants detonate SVBIED targeting AMISOM forces near Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a nonbinding resolution on November 13 stating that U.S. military assistance to Saudi Arabia in its war in Yemen is not authorized by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) or the 2003 AUMF in Iraq. The resolution, which passed 366-30, acknowledges that U.S. military operations in Yemen are authorized only to target Salafi-jihadi groups, not al Houthi-Saleh forces. The resolution is symbolic and does not call for a suspension of U.S. military assistance to the coalition. The Pentagon shares intelligence with the Saudi-led coalition and refuels its warplanes.[1] 

The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) Wilayat Aden-Abyan militants attacked an Emirati-backed al Hizam Security Forces headquarters with a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) in Mansoura district, Aden city, southern Yemen on November 14. The SVBIED caused extensive damage to the al Hizam headquarters and a nearby mosque. ISIS Wilayat Aden-Abyan conducted a complex suicide attack targeting Emirati-backed counterterrorism forces for the first time in ten months in Aden city on November 5.[2]

Al Houthi-Saleh Supreme Political Council President Saleh al Samad stated that the Saudi-led coalition can end the war by engaging in direct dialogue with the al Houthi-Saleh bloc during a rally in Sana’a city, northern Yemen on November 13. Al Samad added that the coalition’s continued intervention in Yemen will force the al Houthi-Saleh bloc to further develop its military capabilities. Demonstrators condemned both the Saudi-led coalition’s violation of UN conventions and the complicity of the international community during the rally. Al Houthi-Saleh demonstrators also protested the Saudi-led coalition’s blockade on al Houthi-Saleh territory in al Bayda, Dhamar, al Jawf, and Hajjah governorates, northern Yemen between November 10 and 13.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab’s al Kataib Media released a video featuring a raid on a Somali National Army (SNA) base on September 2 in Gaduud near Kismayo, Lower Jubba region. The video, titled “And be harsh against them,” included an interview with the suicide bomber who detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) outside the SNA base. The video also showcased the weapons that al Shabaab seized during the raid. Somali forces launched a new campaign to clear al Shabaab from territory surrounding Kismayo on November 11.[4]

The Kenyan opposition party accused Western diplomats of influencing the Kenyan electoral commission during the October 26 re-run election. The National Super Alliance (NASA) party claimed the U.S. and UK pressured the commission to conduct the election despite the chairman’s concerns over the election’s credibility. NASA leader Raila Odinga traveled to the U.S. to lobby for support for new elections. He announced the formation of a National Resistance Movement  branch for Kenyans living in the U.S. on November 13. The Kenyan Supreme Court heard the first petition to nullify the re-run election on November 14. The court will announce its verdict on November 20.[5]

A Kenyan member of parliament (MP) from the opposition NASA party drafted a petition for a secession referendum in 40 of Kenya’s 47 counties on November 13. The MP excluded seven counties dominated by the majority party. The Kenyan parliament will reconvene to debate the petition on November 29 after a three-week recess, which NASA requested to rearrange its leadership. Two Kenyan governors declared their intention to initiate a secession process to create an independent state along Kenya’s coast on November 3. Secession is unlikely, but its appearance in discourse underscores the escalating tensions between rival clans vying for control of Kenya’s government.[6] 

Al Shabaab militants detonated a suicide VBIED targeting an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) convoy along Mogadishu-Afgoi highway in Garasabaley, Banadir region, southern Somalia on November 14. The blast missed the convoy but injured civilians nearby. The convoy was traveling to the U.S. Baledogle Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Wanlaweyn, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia.[7]


[1] Gregory Hellman, “House declares U.S. military role in Yemen’s civil war unauthorized,” Politico, November 13, 2017, https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/13/house-yemen-civil-war-authorization-244868.
[2] “A least six killed in Yemen suicide bombing claimed by Islamic State,” Reuters, November 13, 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security/at-least-six-killed-in-yemen-suicide-bombing-claimed-by-islamic-state-idUSKBN1DE0LP; “ISIS claims suicide bombing on SBF camp in Aden,” SITE, November 13, 2017, available by subscription at ent.siteintelgroup.com; Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, November 13, 2017, https://twitter.com/Dr_E_Kendall/status/930420863995965442; Demolinari, Twitter, November 13, 2017, https://twitter.com/demolinari/status/930368390597812224; “A suicide car bomb targeting al Hizam headquarters, Al Masdar, November 13, 2017, http://almasdaronline.com/article/95471; “Car bomb explodes outside al Hizam building,” Aden Lang, November 13, 2017, http://adnlng.com/news/82248/; and “Suicide bomber destroys al Hizam office in Aden,” Aden Tomorrow, November 13, 2017, http://adenghd.net/news/287264/.
[3] “Mass rally in the capital, condemning the escalation of aggression and closure of ports,” Yemen Today TV, November 13, 2017, http://www.yementodaytv.net/details.php?recordID=34331; “A protest in al A’rsh, al Bayda, condemning the crimes of the aggression,” Al Masirah, November 11, 2017, http://almasirah.net/details.php?es_id=15435&cat_id=3; “Several protest vigils in Dhamar denouncing aggression and siege,” Al Masirah, November 10, 2017, http://almasirah.net/details.php?es_id=15440&cat_id=3; “A protest demonstration for the children of al Marashi district in al Jawf governorate, condemning the crimes of aggression,” Al Masirah, November 11, 2017, http://almasirah.net/details.php?es_id=15474&cat_id=3; and “A protest vigil for al Aman area, Najra district, Hajjah governorate,” Al Masirah, November 11, 2017, http://almasirah.net/details.php?es_id=15476&cat_id=3.
[4] Shabaab Releases Video on September 2, 2017, Raid on SNA Base in Bulu Gadud, SITE, November 13, 2017, available by subscription at ent.siteintelgroup.com.
[5] John Ngirachu and Patrick Lang'at, “Nasa points finger at envoys in election row,” Daily Nation, November 13, 2017, http://www.nation.co.ke/news/politics/Nasa-points-finger-at-envoys-in-election-row/1064-4185690-c9xc3pz/index.html; “Security tight at Kenya court before hearing on election challenges,” Reuters, November 14, 2017, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-kenya-election/security-tight-at-kenya-court-before-hearing-on-election-challenges-idUSKBN1DE0ZP; and Chris Wamalwa, “Raila Odinga: 'Project Kenya' has failed and this is why,” Daily Nation, November 13, 2017, http://www.nation.co.ke/news/Raila-Odinga-says-Project-Kenya-has-failed/1056-4184546-wbpq3lz/index.html.
[6] Benard Sanga and Patrick Beja, “Sharp division over Joho-Kingi new push for Coast secession,” The Standard, November 12, 2017,
https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001259979/sharp-division-over-joho-kingi-new-push-for-coast-secession; and Patrick Lang'at, MP Peter Kaluma drafts Bill for secession of 40 counties,” Daily Nation, November 14, 2017, http://www.nation.co.ke/news/politics/Peter-Kaluma-secession-40-counties/1064-4185586-13tcbf3z/index.html.
[7] “Security Minister arrives in Kismayo for urgent talks,” Garowe Online, November 14, 2017, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/somalia-security-arrives-in-kismayo-for-urgent-talks.

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