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: White House condemns Iranian facilitation of al Houthi-Saleh ballistic missile capabilities; Saudi-led coalition reportedly opens Aden port to commercial and aid ships; Saudi-led coalition airstrikes reportedly kill civilians in Hajjah governorate, northern Yemen; al Houthi-Saleh forces attack Hadi government forces in Taiz governorate, southern Yemen

Horn of Africa: Kenyan opposition leader calls for six-month constitutional review; Kenyan opposition party requests three-week delay of parliament; NGOs and legislator file petitions in Kenyan Supreme Court regarding re-run election; likely al Shabaab militants detonate car bomb outside Immigration Department in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

The White House condemned Iranian facilitation of al Houthi-Saleh ballistic missile capabilities on November 8, stating these missile systems did not exist in Yemen prior to the start of the conflict in 2015. Yemen had a stockpile of scud missiles prior to 2015, however. Saudi Arabia intercepted an al Houthi-Saleh Borkan-2H missile fired from Yemen over Riyadh on November 4. Iranian officials condemned President Donald Trump’s accusation of Iranian involvement with the ballistic missile launch as a baseless lie on November 5. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley called upon the UN to hold Iran accountable for violating two Security Council resolutions on November 7.[1] 

The Saudi-led coalition reportedly opened Aden port to commercial vessels and humanitarian relief on November 8, according to local sources. The Saudi-led coalition implemented a temporary blockade on all Yemeni land, air, and sea ports on November 6 in retaliation for the al Houthi-Saleh ballistic missile. UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) strongly condemned the blockade, calling for an immediate opening of ports of entry to aid. Yemen is almost entirely reliant on imports and aid for provisions. The UN withdrew 8 commercial ships from al Hudaydah port to ensure the safety of crew and goods on November 7.[2]

Saudi-led coalition airstrikes killed and injured 60 civilians, including first responders, at private residences in Hiran area, Aflah al Yaman district, Hajjah governorate, northern Yemen on November 7, according to al Houthi-Saleh aligned sources. The Saudi-led coalition also continued airstrikes in the Jadr and al Jiraf areas of Sana’a city on November 7. The Saudi-led coalition launched several airstrikes targeting Sana’a on November 5 in response to the ballistic missile launch.[3]

Al Houthi-Saleh forces attacked internationally recognized Hadi government forces on the Taiz-Lahij governorate border, southern Yemen. Al Houthi-Saleh forces clashed with Hadi government forces on the border between Tur al Bahah and Hayfan districts, Taiz governorate, southern Yemen on November 7. Al Houthi-Saleh shelling hit residential areas in Hayfan. Hadi government forces seized al Houthi-Saleh territory on November 7 in Jabal Habashy district, northwest of Hayfan in central Taiz governorate, according to a spokesman for the Hadi military.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga called for a six-month constitutional review to limit the powers of the presidency and reform the electoral commission on November 7. Odinga added that an interim government should govern during the review process. Odinga argued that the current presidential system exacerbates ethnic tensions in Kenya due to the insecurity that other ethnic groups feel when the president is not from their community. Kenya has 44 recognized ethnic groups but only the Kikuyu and Kalenjin have held the presidency since Kenya’s independence in 1963.[5]

Kenya’s opposition party is delaying parliament for three weeks due to reported internal conflicts. Raila Odinga’s National Super Alliance (NASA) party requested parliament be delayed until the end of the month to allow the party to select leadership positions. The four main parties that comprise NASA disagree over the allocation of leadership roles within the senate, according to a NASA legislator. The NASA party boycotted the October 26 re-run election due to concerns over the electoral commission's partiality and is attempting to generate support for a new election.[6]

Two NGOs and a former legislator filed petitions in Kenya’s Supreme Court regarding the October 26 re-run election on November 6. Former legislator Harun Mwau filed a petition against Kenya’s electoral commission and President Uhuru Kenyatta challenging the validity of the re-run election. Muslims for Human Rights, a Mombasa-based NGO, and the Kenyan chairman of International Commission of Jurists also filed a petition against the electoral commission, President Kenyatta, and the NASA party for failing to hold a free and fair re-run election. The Institute for Democratic Governance, a Ghana-based NGO, filed a petition against NASA party members for undermining the re-run election. The Supreme Court must rule on the three petitions by November 14.[7]

Likely al Shabaab militants detonated a car bomb targeting a government official outside of the Somali Immigration department in Mogadishu on November 8. Only the official was seriously injured, according to Somali security forces. Al Shabaab is conducting an assassination campaign targeting government officials to destabilize and undermine the Somali Federal Government.[8] 

[1] “White House Statement on Iranian-Supported Missile Attacks Against Saudi Arabia,” The White House, November 8, 2017,; “Iran calls Houthi missile attack targeting Riyadh 'reaction' to Saudi aggression,” Reuters, November 8, 2017,; and “Press Release: Ambassador Haley on Weapons of Iranian Origin Used in Attack on Saudi Arabia,” U.S. Mission to the UN, November 7, 2017,
[2] “Saudi-led coalition reopens Aden port for commercial vessels and relief,” Yemen Monitor, November 8, 2017,; “Saudi-led coalition announces opening of Aden port,” Yafa News, November 8, 2017,; and “The UN and Saudi-led coalition withdraws 8 commercial ships from al Hudaydah port,” Al Masdar, November 7, 2017,
[3] “The Conference condemns the massacre by the Saudi aggression in Hajjah and demands an international investigation,” Yemen Today TV, November 7, 2017,; “The high toll of the victims of the massacre in Hiran, Hajjah is 60 martyred and wounded,” Al Masirah, November 8, 2017,; “The Air Technicial Institute in the capital was damaged by the raids,” Yemen Today TV, November 7, 2017,; and “November 7 Update of the aggression during the past 24 hours,” Al Masirah, November 7, 2017,
[4] “Yemeni army thwart al Houthi-Saleh attempt to attack Taiz-Lahij border,” Aden Tomorrow, November 8, 2017,; “Al Houthi-Saleh troops killed in fights in Taiz,” Saba New, November 7, 2017,; “Yemen army makes fresh gains against rebels in Taiz,” Anadolu Agency, November 7, 2017,; and Demolinari, Twitter, November 8, 2017,
[5] Duncan Miriri and Linda Muriuki, “Kenya's Odinga says constitutional review, talks will pave way out of crisis,” Reuters, November 7, 2017,
[6] Duncan Miriri, “Kenya’s parliament takes three-week break at opposition’s request,” Reuters, November 8, 2017,
[7] Jill Craig, “Kenya's Election Season Extended as 3 Petitions Filed in Court,” Voice of America, November 7, 2017,’; and “Petition filed at Kenya's Supreme Court challenging election results,” Reuters, November 6, 2017,
[8] “Somalia: Mogadishu Car Bomb leaves at least 1 injured,” Garowe Online, November 8, 2017,

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