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: AQAP releases special issue of its English-language online magazine focused on recent bombing attempts; former Saudi intelligence chief thinks Yemen poses a great threat to the rest of the Arabian Peninsula; British minister says giving Yemen humanitarian and security assistance is Britain’s “highest priority”; Adm. Mike Mullen believes AQAP will follow through on threats; eight teams arrive in Aden for 20th Gulf Cup

Horn of Africa: 13 dead in fighting between al Shabaab and Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a in central Somalia; Ban Ki-moon expresses concern over continued recruitment of child soldiers; ten dead, 17 wounded in fighting in Mogadishu; Somali PM says he will support IDPs in Somalia and refugees outside the country; Kenya has said it will support Somaliland’s sovereignty; UK Foreign Office approves a plan to have mercenaries fight pirates in Somalia; two members of PM Mohamed’s cabinet resign; tribal chief in Boosaaso in Puntland murdered; first piracy trial in 400 years convenes in Germany

Yemen Security Brief

  • In a special third edition of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) English-language online magazine Inspire, AQAP claimed that its recent attempts to bomb U.S. cargo planes, which it calls Operation Hemorrhage, cost only $4,200 and were indicative of its new strategy of using smaller attacks to harm the U.S. economy.  Inspire editors wrote, “To bring down America we do not need to strike big… [With the] security phobia that is sweeping America, it is more feasible to stage smaller attacks that involve less players and less time to launch.”  Bragging about the planning involved in the attack, AQAP’s head of foreign operations claimed that the attacks were not meant to cause maximum casualties, but were intended to cause harm to the American economy.[1]
  • Former Ambassador to the U.S. and Saudi intelligence service chief Turki al Faisal said in a speech in the U.S. on Friday that the situation in Yemen poses an imminent security threat to the rest of the Arabian Peninsula.  Faisal said, “The situation in Yemen in general is making it easy for the terrorists to infiltrate into Saudi Arabia and operate actively there.  Also, many Yemenis flee into the kingdom amid conflicts and deteriorating humanitarian situation in their country.”  Faisal also believes that Yemeni tribes are protecting al Qaeda.  In his speech, he urged his country’s leaders to deploy forces to Saudi Arabia’s border with Yemen to protect the country.[2]
  • British Junior International Development Minister Alan Duncan said giving Yemen humanitarian and security assistance is Britain’s “highest priority.”  Citing the need to establish stability throughout the country, Duncan said, “We want to underpin the country now rather than having to step in later should things get worse.  I should stress very strongly we are not telling Yemen what to do, we are working with them as partners to support them in facing their challenges.”[3] 
  • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen says he believes that the threat made in AQAP’s most recent edition of Inspire that it will continue to carry out small-scale attacks in the U.S.  is serious, and he believes that AQAP will follow through on the threat.[4]
  • The eight teams that will be participating in the Gulf Cup in Aden arrived on Sunday.  Dozens of security checkpoints were established and security throughout the city has been heightened in anticipation of the event, which will last until December 4.  In August, Southern Movement leaders called for a boycott of the competition because participation would support the government when “the south is bleeding.”  Yemen has already deployed 30,000 troops across Aden to maintain security and a joint American-British security team inspected stadiums prior to the event.[5]


Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Both sides claimed victory in recent clashes between al Shabaab and Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a that left 13 dead in Wardumale and Tulo Oman villages in Galgudud region.[6]
  • UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern over the continued recruitment of child soldiers in the Somali conflict in a statement released this weekend.  In his statement he urged Kenyan authorities to address the recruitment of child soldiers going on in its refugee camps.[7]
  • Fighting between al Shabaab militants and TFG and AMISOM forces flared up in Mogadishu on Sunday when al Shabaab bombed TFG bases in Hawl Wadag district.  TFG and AMISOM troops responded by shelling Bakara market.  Ten people were killed and 17 wounded in the clashes.[8]
  • TFG Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed said in a speech on Sunday that he will work to support the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Somalia and Somali refugees outside of the country.  In his speech, he urged Islamist groups Hizb al Islam and al Shabaab to allow aid agencies to help refugees.[9]
  • According to Somaliland Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullahi Omar, Ethiopia will support Somaliland in its fight for recognition as a sovereign state.  Omar said, “We are pleased that the Ethiopian government in promoting our interest.  Ethiopia is working on economy, diplomacy and security issues that we expect will help us to achieve our final goal, which is full diplomatic recognition.”[10]
  • The U.K. Foreign Office and the TFG have approved a plan to have former members of the Special Boat Service, a U.K. security firm, train Somalis to defend their coast from pirates and potentially taking part in the fight on Somali territory.  A U.K. state document revealed this weekend read, “The plan is particularly sensitive because previous attempts to train Somali military recruits have seen them swap sides and join the pirates or Islamic insurgents.”[11]
  • Two members of PM Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s newly appointed 13-member cabinet resigned this weekend.  Assistant Minister of Planning and International Relations Abdiaziz Hassan Mohamed resigned on Saturday and Assistant Minister of Education and National Heritage Feisal Omar Guled resigned on Sunday.  Guled said, “I believe some government officials interfering new cabinet, therefore I made a personal view to leave the post.”[12]
  • Issa Hassan Omar, a chief in the Boosaaso region in Puntland, was murdered on Sunday by three unknown gangsters.[13]
  • The trial of 10 Somali pirates accused on trying to hijack a German ship in April began in Hamburg, Germany.  The defendants face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison in the first piracy trial in Germany in 400 years.[14]

[1] “Report: Would-Be Plane Bombers Post Attack Details,” AP, November 21, 2010. Available:

“Qaeda Branch Aimed for Broad Damage at Low Cost,” New York Times, November 20, 2010. Available:

“AQAP Releases Third Issue of “Inspire”, Dedicated to Parcel Bomb Plot,” SITE Intel Group, November 20, 2010. Available at SITE.
[2] “Yemen Poses Direct Security Threat to Kingdom- Saudi Warns,” Yemen Post, November 20, 2010. Available:
[3] “British Officials Give Yemen Highest Priority,” Yemen Observer, November 20, 2010. Available:
[4] “Mullen Says al-Qaida Threat from Yemen is Serious,” AP, November 21, 2010. Available:
[5] “Gulf Cup to Open in Violence-Wracked Yemen,” AP, November 21, 2010. Available:
[6] “Heavy Fighting Broke Out in Central Somalia, Rivals Claim Victories,” Mareeg Online, November 20, 2010. Available:

“23 People Killed in Somalia Weekend Fighting,” AP, November 21, 2010. Availabl:
[7] “Bank-moon Expresses Concern Over Recruiting Children For Clashes in Somalia,” Mareeg Online, November 20, 2010. Available:
[8] “Clash Between al-Shabab, Government Soldiers Flares up in Mogadishu,” Mareeg Online, November 20, 2010. Available:
“23 People Killed in Somalia Weekend Fighting,” AP, November 21, 2010. Available:
[9] “Somali PM Vows Supporting Weak Displaced Somalis,” Mareeg Online, November 21, 2010. Available:
[10] “Ethiopia Says to Support Somaliland Recognition,” Somaliweyn, November 21, 2010. Available:
[11] “British Mercenaries to Take on Somali Pirates,” Daily Nation, November 21, 2010. Available:  
[12] “Another Somali Assistant Minister Resigns,” Garowe Online, November 21, 2010. Available:
[13] “Somalia: Armed Gangsters Gunned Down a Local Chief in Bosaso,” Somaliweyn, November 21, 2010. Available:
[14] “Germany’s First Pirate Trial for 400 Years Opens,” AFP, November 22, 2010. Available:
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