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: Secretary General of the Arab League says other Arab countries, not Western ones, need to intervene in Yemen; 27 al Houthi fighters dead and dozens injured after fighting in Sa’ada governorate; U.S. Defense Secretary says U.S. should support Yemen, not intervene militarily; Germany lifts ban on passenger flights from Yemen

Horn of Africa: 16 dead and 47 wounded in fighting in Mogadishu; Hizb al Islam militants arrest five people in Lower Shabelle region; Japan is constructing a military base in Djibouti to fight piracy

Yemen Security Brief

  • Amr Moussa, Secretary General of the Arab League, says that it is the duty of the other Arab nations, not the West, to intervene in Yemen.  Moussa fears that greater U.S. involvement could turn Yemen into a similar situation to Afghanistan.  He did not deny that Yemen needs a great amount of support, saying, “All Arab countries, mainly those in the Arabian Gulf, should assist Yemen.  All of them should pay more attention to this important country with a crucial strategic location that should be concerned by all in the region.”[1]
  • Three days of fighting between government forces and al Houthi rebels in Manbeh district in Sa’ada governorate has left 27 al Houthi fighters dead and dozens more injured.  The fighting began when the al Houthi rebels attacked the pro-government al Jalha tribe.[2]
  • U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates believes that the best option for the United States in Yemen is to support Yemen’s army in fighting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), not to intervene militarily.  He said, “Our biggest tools particularly with respect to Yemen are the partnership capacity of the Yemenis themselves and enabling them to go after these guys.  We don’t need another war.”  Gates added, “And the Yemenis have shown a willingness to go after AQAP. . . . as far as going after the terrorists, yes, they do have the right attitude.”[3]
  • Germany has lifted its ban on passenger flights from Yemen following last month’s thwarted parcel bomb attacks.  Its embargo on cargo shipments from Yemen remains in place.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Fighting between al Shabaab militants and TFG and AMISOM troops in Mogadishu left 16 civilians dead and 47 others wounded throughout the capital, 37 of whom were wounded in shelling in Bakara market.[5]
  • Hizb al Islam militants arrested five people in between Wanlaweyn and Bur Hakaba in Lower Shabelle region, an area under Hizb al Islam control.  Hizb al Islam officials said the men were thieves and, “The operations were aimed at assuring security of the areas which is under our control.”[6]
  • Japan is constructing a military base in Djibouti from which its Self Defense Forces will take part in the fight against piracy off the shores of Somalia.  The base is supposed to be completed by March 2011.[7]

[1] “Moussa Rules Out Military Intervention to Fight AQAP After Recent Mail Plots,” Yemen Post, November 17, 2010.  Available:
[2] “Dozens of Houthi Militants Killed, Injured in Saada Clashes,” Yemen Post, November 17, 2010. Available:
[3] “Best U.S. Option in Yemen? Help It Fight al Qaeda – Gates,” Reuters, November 16, 2010. Available:
[4] “Germany Lifts Yemen Passenger Flight Ban,” AP, November 17, 2010. Available:
[5] “16 Civilians Die in Fighting in Somali Capital,” AP, November 17, 2010. Available:
[6] “Islamist Fighters Detain About 5 People in Wanlaweyn Town,” Mareeg Online, November 17, 2010. Available:
[7] “Japan Constructs Large Military Base in Djibouti: Japanese Media,” PanOrient News, November 15, 2010. Available:
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