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: Al Houthi-Saleh spokesman denounces White House support for Saudi-led coalition; Saudi Arabia urges UN to take action against Iran’s support of al Houthi movement

Horn of Africa: Uganda to withdraw AMISOM forces in December 2017; UN reports increased ISIS membership in Somalia in 2017; al Shabaab detonates IED in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi-Saleh spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam denounced the White House’s political and military support for the Saudi-led coalition on November 9. The White House issued a statement on November 8 condemning Iranian facilitation of al Houthi-Saleh ballistic missile capabilities in response to the November 4 al Houthi-Saleh ballistic missile fired at Riyadh. Salam also defended the ballistic missile launch as a defensive act and threatened members of the Saudi-led coalition with more missile attacks if airstrikes continue.[1] 

The Saudi Arabian mission to the UN urged the Security Council to take action against Iran’s support of the al Houthi-Saleh bloc in Yemen on November 9. Saudi Arabia cited Iran’s involvement in smuggling weapons to Yemen and the alleged presence of Lebanese Hezbollah in Yemen as proof of Iran’s intent to undermine Saudi Arabia’s security. Al Houthi-Saleh Foreign Minister Hisham Sharaf called on the UN to punish the Saudi-led coalition’s war crimes during a meeting with UN World Food Programme Country Director Stephen Anderson in Sana’a city, northern Yemen, on November 9. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley urged the UN to take action against Iran for violating UN Security Council Resolutions on November 7.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

A Ugandan military spokesman announced on November 9 that Uganda will gradually withdraw its African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces from Somalia beginning in December 2017. AMISOM Ambassador Francisco Madiera announced on November 7 that 1,000 AMISOM forces will withdraw from Somalia by December 31. Uganda has 6,000 troops deployed under AMISOM in Somalia.[3]  

ISIS in Somalia has grown from a few dozen members to over 200 in 2017, according to a UN report. The UN also expressed concern over ISIS militants fleeing from Syria and Iraq to Somalia.  U.S. Africa Command conducted two airstrikes that targeted ISIS in Somalia leader Abdulqader Mumin on November 4. ISIS conducted five attacks in Puntland, northeastern Somalia this year.[4]

Al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a Somali security convoy in Mogadishu, Somalia on November 9. The bomb detonated prematurely and injured two civilians.[5]


[1] “Abdul Salam: Yemeni missiles defensive, condemns Washington as a cover for aggression,” Al Masirah, November 9, 2017, http://almasirah.net/details.php?es_id=15375&cat_id=3.
[2] “Saudi Arabia calls on UN Security Council for action against Iran,” Al Arabiya, November 9, 2017, https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/11/09/Saudi-Arabia-calls-on-UN-Security-Council-for-action-against-Iran.html; “Saudi Arabian letter to UN Security Council states it will take action to respond to al Houthi violence,” Al Masdar, November 9, 2017, http://almasdaronline.com/article/95342; and “Foreign Minister meets UN WFP Country Director in Sana’a,” Yemen Today, November 9, 2017, http://yementodaytv.net/details.php?recordID=34308.
[3] “Uganda Says to Start Withdrawing Troops From Somalia,” All Africa, November 9, 2017 http://allafrica.com/stories/201711090972.html.
[4] Katharine Houreld, “Islamic State’s footprint spreading in northern Somalia: UN,” Reuters, November 8, 2017, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-somalia-islamic-state/islamic-states-footprint-spreading-in-northern-somalia-u-n-idUSKBN1D828Z.  
[5] Roadside bomb wounds two civilians in Mogadishu, Radio Shabelle, November 9, 2017, http://radioshabelle.com/roadside-bomb-wounds-two-civilians-mogadishu/.

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