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 soldiers clash with armed locals in al Mahrah governorate, eastern Yemen; ISIS Wilayat al Bayda releases a video of attack on AQAP in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen; U.S. House of Representatives blocks bill on U.S. support for Saudi-led coalition; U.S., UK, Saudi, and Emirati officials discuss Yemen in Riyadh

Horn of Africa: Ethiopian authorities arrest former deputy of intelligence service; Somalia’s Southwest state postpones elections to November 28; newly confirmed U.S. Ambassador to Somalia arrives in Nairobi

Yemen Security Brief

Saudi soldiers clashed with armed locals near the Nishtun seaport in Haswayn district, al Mahrah governorate, eastern Yemen on November 14. Locals were protesting against Saudi Arabia’s decision to establish military checkpoints in the governorate. Saudi soldiers killed at least three protesters. Local tribes held a meeting to discuss ways to escalate protests after the deaths. Al Mahrah governor Rajeh Bakrit and the Saudi military claimed that the protesters were smugglers aligned with the al Houthi movement. Saudi Arabia began an anti-smuggling operation in al Mahrah in November 2017.[1]

‘Amaq News Agency released a video of an ISIS Wilayat al Bayda attack on al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen, on November 14. The short clip shows a November 11 attack on AQAP in the Za’j area of Wald Rabia district in al Bayda governorate. ISIS Wilayat al Bayda claimed to kill 10 AQAP fighters in the attack.[2]

The U.S. House of Representatives blocked a bill for an authorization vote on U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen on November 14. Representative Ro Khanna introduced the War Powers Resolution, which invoked the 1973 War Powers Act to declare a special privilege which would allow the issue to come to a vote in Congress. The House Rules Committee stripped the bill of its special privilege on November 13.[3]

Senior officials from the U.S., Saudi Arabia, UK, and the UAE met in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on November 15 to discuss the worsening economic and humanitarian situation in Yemen. Representatives from the four countries agreed to establish a Technical Advisory Committee that will meet monthly to work on economic stabilization measures for Yemen.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Ethiopian authorities arrested the former deputy of the National Intelligence and Security Service, General Yared Zerihun, in Addis Ababa on November 15. Authorities have arrested over 60 intelligence and military officials for corruption and human rights abuses since November 12.[5]

Somalia’s Southwest state postponed its presidential election from November 17 to November 28 on November 15. Multiple electoral committee members resigned on November 5.[6]

U.S. Ambassador to Somalia Donald Yamamoto arrived in Nairobi to lead the U.S. Mission to Somalia on November 15. The U.S. Senate confirmed Yamamoto on October 11.[7]

[1] “Saudi soldiers fire at Yemeni protesters in al Mahrah, killing one,” Middle East Eye, November 14, 2018,

[2] “AMAQ Video Shows IS Attack on AQAP Position in al-Bayda,” SITE Intelligence Group, November 14, 2018, English translation available by subscription at

[3] Conor Finnegan “House blocks bill to end support for Saudi coalition in Yemen as UK yields diplomatic progress,” ABC News, November 15, 2018,; and Haley Britsky, “House Republicans vote to continue supporting Saudi-led coalition in Yemen,” Axios, November 14, 2018,

[4] “KSA, UAE, USA, UK identify key actions to address situation in Yemen,” Al Arabiya, November 15, 2018,; and “Saudi-Emirati-British meeting to support Yemen,” Sky News, November 15, 2018,

[5] “Ethiopia arrests former deputy spy chief Yared Zerihun,” BBC News, November 15, 2018,; and “Ethiopia arrests ex deputy intelligence chief in corruption, rights crackdown,” Reuters, November 15, 2018,

[6] Harun Maruf, Twitter,; and “Govt calls for timely election in Southwest as electoral officials resign,” Garowe, November 6, 2018,

[7] “Arrival of U.S. Ambassador to Somalia Donald Yamamoto,” U.S. Mission to Somalia, November 15, 2018,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review: October 12, 2018,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, October 12, 2018,

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