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: Houthi members meet with other Axis of Resistance factions; Houthis claim Saudis are willing to discuss salary payments; Houthi drones attack Yemeni Coast Guard headquarters; Houthi media outlets unveil Houthi 3-step plan to escalate the conflict in Yemen
Somalia: Al Shabaab militants recapture a recently liberated town in north-central Somalia; AFRICOM confirms another drone strike in central Somalia; SNA commandos destroy several al Shabaab bases in southern Somalia; local clan forces fight each other for control of recently liberated areas; the United States announces new rewards for information on al Shabaab leadership
Yemen Security Brief:
A Houthi Political Bureau member met with three Hamas officials in Sana’a, Yemen, on November 10.[i] Other Houthi members reportedly met with three Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) members, and a key Lebanese Hezbollah official in Hudaydah governorate, Yemen on November 9. Iranian officials reportedly encouraged Houthi naval forces to undertake strikes on maritime shipping in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab strait.[ii]
The Houthi Minister of State Abdul Aziz al Bakir said on November 12 that Saudi Arabia and the Houthi movement held negotiations in Sana’a covering the payment of salaries to Houthi-controlled ministries. Bakir said that the Saudi delegation to Sana’a invited Houthi President Mahdi al Mashaat to Riyadh to continue “political talks.”[iii]
An unspecified number of likely Houthi explosive-laden drones targeted Yemen’s Coast Guard headquarters based in al Hayma, al Khawkhah district, Hudaydah governorate, Yemen on November 10. The Yemeni coast guard commander said the attack injured three Yemeni Coast Guard members.[iv]
Houthi media outlet Ansar Allah listed three stages to escalate military operations in Yemen. Houthi media said Houthi forces will continue targeting energy infrastructure within Yemen before targeting critical Saudi and Emirati infrastructure. The final stage would be attacks against international shipping in the Red Sea and Bab al Mandeb.[v]
Somalia Security Brief:
Al Shabaab secured the Wabho town, Elbur district, Galgadud region, north-central Somalia, on November 13. Al Shabaab militants recaptured the town without resistance after Somali National Army (SNA) and local Ma’awisley militia forces withdrew.[vi] The SNA had previously captured the town on November 9.[vii]
United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) claimed on November 11 that it conducted a drone strike likely between Mahas and Wabho, Hiraan-Galgadud regional border, central Somalia, on November 9.[viii] AFRICOM assessed the strike killed at least 17 al Shabaab militants that were attacking Somali forces. AFRICOM said the strike was approximately 285 kilometers northeast of Mogadishu. This corresponds to the road between Mahas and Wabho, where anti-al Shabaab forces reportedly clashed with al Shabaab on November 9.[ix]
SNA Danab commandos destroyed several al Shabaab bases in towns near Kismayo, Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia, on November 14. The commandos also demined the roads in the area.[x]
Abgal sub-clan militia clashed with each other in recently liberated areas of Adale district, Middle Shabelle region, south-central Somalia, on November 12. The fighting stems from a land dispute that arose after liberating it from al Shabaab militants.[xi]
The United States announced new monetary rewards for information on al Shabaab leadership and financial networks on November 14.[xii]
[i] Ali al Qahoom, Twitter, November 10, 2022, https://twitter.com/alialqhoom/status/1590662731841310723.
[ii] Mzahem Alsaloum, Twitter, November 09, 2022, https://twitter.com/Mzahem_Alsaloum/status/1590403453851176960.
[iii] Abdualazziz al Bakir, Twitter, November 12, 2022, https://twitter.com/AAzizalbukiir/status/1591512666979422212.
[iv] Fares Alhemyari, Twitter, November 10, 2022, https://twitter.com/faresalhemyari/status/1590735605222510592?s=46&t=-gPUZc136-IEzW2WJ9GriQ.
[vi] Hiiraan Online, “Somali Government Forces Pull Out of a Key Town in Galgadud Region,” November 13, 2022, http://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2022/Nov/188689/somali_government_forces_pull_out_a_key_town_in_galgagud_region.aspx.
[vii] Goobjoog News, ”SNA Troops Drive Out Khawarij Militants from Whabo Town, Ending a 15-Year Siege,” November 9, 2022, https://goobjoog.com/english/sna-troops-drive-out-khawarij-militants-from-whabo-town-ending-a-15-year-siege/.
[viii] AFRICOM Public Affairs, “Federal Government of Somalia combats terrorists with support from U.S. forces,” November 11, 2022, https://www.africom.mil/pressrelease/34827/federal-government-of-somalia-combats-terrorists-with-support-from-us-forces.
[ix] Brian Carter and David Hessen, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – November 9, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-november-9-2022.
[x] Radio Dalsan, ”The army carried out planned operations in Lower Jubba,” November 14, 2022, https://www.radiodalsan.com/wararka-idaacadda/ciidanka-xoogga-oo-howlgallo-qorsheysan-ka-fuliyay-jubbada-hoose/.
[xi] Radio Dalsan, ”Clan Militias Contesting Control for Newly Liberated Regions in Middle Shabelle Asked to Stop Fighting,” November 14, 2022, https://www.radiodalsan.com/en/78584/2022/11/clan-militias-contesting-control-for-newly-liberated-regions-in-middle-shabelle-asked-to-stop-fighting/.
[xii] US Embassy Mogadishu, @US2SOMALIA, Twitter, November 14, 2022, https://twitter.com/US2SOMALIA/status/1592173545790078976.