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. Senate votes to bring measure on ending support for the Saudi-led coalition to floor; UN-led consultations expected to begin as early as December 4; al Houthi forces fire ballistic missile at Najran region, Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab withdraws from Harardhere town, central Somalia following U.S. airstrikes; NISA agents arrest Sahafi hotel attack suspect in Mogadishu; al Shabaab assassins target ISIS sympathizers in Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia; AMISOM troops repel al Shabaab attack in Lower Shabelle region

Yemen Security Brief

The U.S. Senate voted 63 to 37 to bring a measure to the floor to end support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen on November 28. U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis urged the Senate not to support the measure during a classified briefing on U.S. policy in Saudi Arabia and Yemen directly before the vote. Pompeo asserted that a yes vote on the bill would hurt U.S. regional interests and leave Iran in a stronger position in Yemen.[1]

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths met with Yemeni political parties, including the al Islah party, in Amman, Jordan on November 29. Griffiths hopes to begin UN-led peace consultations in Stockholm on December 4 after the evacuation of 50 wounded al Houthi fighters to Oman, which is scheduled for December 3. Al Houthi movement leader Mohamad Ali al Houthi said that he believes the al Houthi delegation will arrive in Sweden on December 3. UK Ambassador to Yemen Michael Aron also said that he expects peace talks to begin next week.[2]

The al Houthi movement fired a Badr 1-P ballistic missile at a Saudi helicopter pad in Bir Askar, Najran region, southern Saudi Arabia on November 28. Al Houthi forces claimed to kill two pilots and destroy several helicopters.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants withdrew from Harardhere town, Mudug region, central Somalia on November 29. United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) conducted multiple airstrikes in Harardhere last week, killing dozens of militants. Al Shabaab has controlled Harardhere for 10 years.[4]

Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) agents arrested a suspected al Shabaab commander in Mogadishu on November 29. The commander orchestrated the complex attack on the Sahafi Hotel in Mogadishu on November 9, according to NISA officials. Al Shabaab militants killed over 50 people in the attack.[5]

Likely al Shabaab militants killed an ISIS sympathizer in Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia on November 29. Al Shabaab assassins are searching for other ISIS sympathizers in Afgoi.[6]

African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops repelled an al Shabaab attack in Gandawi, Shalambood, Lower Shabelle region on November 28. Al Shabaab claimed to ambush Ugandan AMISOM troops in Shalambood on November 28, inflicting multiple casualties. AMISOM denied that its forces suffered any casualties in the attack.[7]

[1] Gardiner Harris, Eric Schmitt, Helene Cooper and Nicholas Fandos, “Senators, Furious Over Khashoggi Killing, Spurn President on War in Yemen,” The New York Times, November 28, 2018,; “Yemen war: Vote in US Senate delivers rebuke to Trump,” BBC News, November 29, 2018,; and “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Remarks to Congress on Yemen November 28, 2018,” U.S. Department of State, November 28, 2018,

[2] Brian Rohan, “British diplomat says Yemen talks on next week in Stockholm,” The Washington Post, November 29, 2018,; Mohammed Ghobari, “Yemen’s peace talks to start in Sweden next week: British envoy,” Reuters, November 29, 2018,; Adam Baron, Twitter, November 29, 2018,

[3] “The Rocket Force Targets the Apache Helicopter Landing Pad and Pilots in Najran,” Al Masirah, November 29, 2018,; and Mu Xuequan, “Yemen’s Houthi rebels fire ballistic missiles at Saudi military airport,” Xinhua, November 28, 2018,

[4] “Al Shabaab abandons major stronghold in Harardhere,” Mareeg, November 29, 2018,; Live from Mogadishu, Twitter, November 29, 2018,; and Somalia Live Update, Twitter, November 29, 2018,

[5] “NISA Arrest Mastermind of Sahafi Hotel Attack That Killed Over 50 People in Mogadishu, Somalia,” Strategic Intelligence, November 29, 2018,; Harun Maruf, Twitter, November 29, 2018,; and “Death toll from Somali blast rises over 50,” AFP, November 10, 2018,

[6] Harun Maruf, Twitter, November 29, 2018,

[7] AMISOM, Twitter, November 28, 2018,; and Akhbar al Umma, Telegram, November 28, 2018.

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