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. considering increased military and security involvement in Yemen; parcel bombers may be hiding in Shabwah governorate; U.S. intends to increase social and economic aid to Yemen
Horn of Africa: A San Diego woman is charged for links with al Shabaab; fighting between TFG and al Shabaab in Mogadishu leaves seven dead, 12 injured; Ahlu Sunna and al Shabaab clash in Galgudud leaving 18 dead; Somali-born Briton responsible for negotiations that freed British couple from pirates; clashes in Beled Hawo leave 20 dead; al Shabaab releases 15-minute video of Eid al Fitr activities; Kenya asks for international piracy conference
Yemen Security Brief
- U.S. military leaders are drawing up a proposal for greater involvement in Yemen, specifically the establishment of forward operating bases and the improvement of intelligence gathering systems. According to President Obama, limited intelligence about al Qaeda operations in Yemen (the U.S. gets most of its current intelligence from Saudi Arabia) has created a “window of vulnerability.” While the U.S. may be interested in moving more special operatives from Sana’a into the field to train Yemeni troops, Sana’a officials worry that putting foreigners in the field could create more problems. These proposals have not yet been submitted to U.S. legislators.
- Yemeni security forces claim that the suspects behind the failed parcel bombs are hiding in Shabwah governorate and will likely be found within the week. The source claimed that information critical to the investigation was given to the Yemeni government by Saudi security forces.
- In addition to expanding its military assistance to Yemen, the U.S. is looking to address social and economic concerns. The U.S. intends to change the way its aid is administered, one being to move many projects from urban to rural areas. Janet Sanderson, deputy assistant to the Secretary of State said, “We’ve reoriented our aid programs towards quick impact projects, things that get on the ground in Yemen as quickly as possible.” This year U.S. State Department aid to Yemen was $67.5 million (in addition to $155 million military aid), up from $40 million in 2009. In 2011 it is expected to be $106 million.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- A San Diego woman is being charged with conspiring to send financial assistance to al Shabaab. Nima ali Yusuf is the fourth person to be charged in San Diego this month for links to al Shabaab.
- Fighting between al Shabaab and the TFG and AMISOM in Mogadishu left at least seven people dead and 12 more injured. The fighting began when al Shabaab militants attacked TFG troops in Bondhere district.
- Fighting between Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a and al Shabaab in Dhusamareb in Galgudud region left at least 18 people dead. Al Shabaab claimed victory in the clashes and has regained control of Dhusamareb. According to senior Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a commander Abdi Wali Diiriye, al Shabaab controls ten districts of the town.
- Somali -born Briton Dahir Abdullahi Kadiye, a member of the same tribe as the pirates that kidnapped the British couple released this weekend, spent six months traveling between London and Adado to negotiate the release of the Chandlers. Kadiye said, “My children inspired me to go back to Somalia and talk to the pirates to release the British. They were born and grew up in Britain so it was embarrassing for my family that Somali pirates were attacking people going about their business in the ocean.” Kadiye did not say whether or not a ransom was negotiated.
- Al Shabaab militants attacked government and Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a forces in Beled Hawo in the southern Gedo region. 20 people were killed in clashes and al Shabaab took control of the town. However, Ahlu Sunna was able to retake control of Beled Hawo within hours of the takeover.
- Al Shabaab’s media arm al Kata’ib News Channel released a 15 minute video of al Shabaab’s activities during Eid al Fitr, which is the holiday at the end of Ramadan. The video also displays footage from protests against Pastor Terry Jones’s Quran burning and al Shabaab officials rallying the population for jihad.
- Kenya has called for an international conference to discuss the piracy problem, saying that Kenya’s duty to try piracy suspects captured by foreign navies is too big a burden for the nation, which doesn’t have the adequate resources to try all of the pirates being brought to Kenya.