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: ISIS Wilayat al Bayda claims to repel AQAP attack in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen; Abdul Malik al Houthi delivers live speech from Sana’a; al Houthi forces fire a Badr 1P ballistic missile at border with Saudi Arabia; Pakistan reiterates its commitment to mediating the Yemen conflict; President Hadi fills top government positions

Horn of Africa: Somali Federal Member States host inaugural Inter-State Security Council meeting in Kismayo, southern Somalia; Somali President Farmajo and Eritrean President Afwerki to meet with Ethiopian PM Abiy in Ethiopia; al Shabaab claims assassination of Hirshabelle state MP in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

ISIS Wilayat al Bayda claimed to repel an attack by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Qayfa area, al Bayda governorate, central Yemen on November 8.[1]

Al Houthi movement leader Abdul Malik al Houthi called for Yemenis to mobilize against the Saudi-led coalition in a live televised speech from Sana’a on November 7. Al Houthi claimed that the escalation of fighting in al Hudaydah city was planned by the U.S., citing recent U.S. calls for a ceasefire by Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. He encouraged al Houthi fighters in al Hudaydah city, western Yemen, and Sa’ada governorate, northern Yemen and denied claims that al Hudaydah city will fall to coalition forces.[2]

Al Houthi fighters fired a Badr 1P ballistic missile at a Saudi military camp in al Jawf governorate,  northern Yemen, near the border with Saudi Arabia on November 8. The strike has not been confirmed.[3]

Yemeni Ambassador to Pakistan Mohammed al Ashabi met with Pakistani President Arif Alvi and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad on November 7. Khan confirmed that Pakistan is ready to mediate between the al Houthi movement and the Hadi government. UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths discussed confidence-building measures with Hadi government Foreign Minister Khaled al Yameni on November 7.[4]

President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi appointed a new Minister of Defense, Mohammad al Maqdishi, and a new Chief of Staff, Abdullah al Nakhi, on November 7. The defense minister post has been vacant for three years after the kidnapping of Mahmood al Subaihi in April 2015. President Hadi also appointed a new Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Governor of Aden, and Deputy Governor of Aden on November 7.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The leaders of Puntland, Jubbaland, Southwest, and Galmudug states met for the first meeting of the Inter-State Security Council under the Council of Inter-State Cooperation (CIC) in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia on November 7. Jubbaland President Ahmed Madobe presided over the meeting. The four Federal Member States announced the formation of the Inter-State Security Council in order to oversee the formation of an army and intelligence service separate from the Somali Federal Government (SFG) on October 21. The four Federal Member States claimed that the new army is necessary because the SFG does not provide sufficient protection.[6]

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo will meet with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki in Bahir Dar, Amhara region, northern Ethiopia on November 9. The meeting will confirm the outcome of the Horn of Africa Economic Integration agreement that the leaders signed in Asmara, Eritrea in September.[7]  

Al Shabaab claimed to assassinate a member of Hirshabelle state parliament, Abdul Wali Muhamad Ibrahim, in Mogadishu on November 8. Al Shabaab claimed to detonate an improvised explosive device targeting Ibrahim’s car near Villa Somalia. The attack has not been confirmed.[8] 

[1] “IS Claims Repulsing AQAP assault on multiple positions of its fighters in al Bayda,” SITE Intelligence Group, November 8, 2018, English translation available by subscription at

[2] “Text of the speech of Mr. Abdul Malik Badruddin al Houthi on the latest developments 2019-11-07,” 26 Sep, November 7, 2018,

[3] “The rocket force is targeting a mercenary camp at al Jawf junction,” Al Masirah, November 8, 2018,

[4] “Meeting with the Yemeni ambassador… Prime Minister of Pakistan renews his country’s desire to mediate in the Yemen crisis,” Al Mashad Al Yemeni, November 7, 2018; “Pakistan can play role in Yemen peace process if stakeholders agree: PM Imran,” Geo TV, November 7, 2018,; “Yemen Ambassador meets PM Imran, discusses regional situation,” The News, November 7, 2018,; and MNA, Twitter, November 7, 2018,

[5] “Appointed defense minister and new governor of the interim capital of Aden,” Media Network Agency, November 8, 2017,; “Yemen President appoints new minister of defence, chief of staff,” Channel News Asia, November 8, 2018,; and “A republican decree appointing the Defense Minister of Major General Abdullah al Nakhi as Chief of Staff,” Saba New, November 7, 2018,

[6] “Maiden Inter-State Security Council opens in Kismayu,” Goobjoog, November 7, 2018,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review - October 25, 2018,” Critical Threats Project at The American Enterprise Institute, October 25, 2018,

[7] Abdinur Mohamed, Twitter, November 8, 2018,; and “Eritrea president’s visit to Ethiopia Amhara region confirmed,” Africa News, November 7, 2018,   

[8] “Shabaab claims assassinating Hirshabelle MP in Mogadishu, Killing Official for Somali Special Forces in Lower Shabelle,” SITE Intelligence Group, November 8, 2018, English translation available by subscription at 

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