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: Anti-al Houthi media report intra-al Houthi fighting in Ibb; al Houthi court issues subpoenas for President Trump, Mohammed bin Salman; US diplomat meets with President Hadi; UN Special Envoy notes “fragile” progress in Yemen

Horn of Africa: SFG President to attend Russia-Africa summit; ICJ postpones maritime dispute hearing at Kenya’s request

Yemen Security Brief

Unknown gunmen shot al Houthi officials Saad Mahrouq and Colonel Amin Hassan al Shabibi in Ibb city in western Yemen on October 18, according to anti-al Houthi media. These sources allege that al Houthi forces are clashing with each other in Ibb.

An al Houthi-controlled court issued subpoenas for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, US President Donald Trump, and former US President Barack Obama for alleged war crimes in Yemen on October 17. The court issued subpoenas for 121 other individuals, including Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, members of the Hadi government, and leaders from Arab nations that contribute to the Saudi-led coalition.[2]

US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale met with President Hadi and members of his government in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on October 17. Hale expressed support for a unified Yemen and ongoing peace talks between the Hadi government and the Transitional Political Council for the South (STC), a southern Yemeni secessionist group, that began on October 7.[3]

UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths expressed some hope for resolving the Yemen conflict on October 17. Griffiths noted that the al Houthi movement had offered to suspend all missile and drone strikes against Saudi Arabia in late September and that the Saudi-led coalition had limited the number of airstrikes conducted in October. Griffiths noted that the progress was fragile, but stated that it was a “step in the right direction.”[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Somali Federal Government (SFG) President Mohammed Abdullahi Farmajo has accepted an invitation to attend the 2019 Russia-Africa summit in Sochi, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin will host the summit, which will run from October 23 to October 24 and will convene approximately 35 African heads of state.[5]

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) postponed a hearing on a maritime-border dispute between Kenya and the SFG on October 18. The ICJ postponed the hearing, which was scheduled for November 4, until June 2020. This is the second time that the ICJ has postponed the hearing at Kenya’s request. Kenya seeks to resolve the dispute through a negotiated settlement rather than through the ICJ.[6]

[1] “Houthi betrays his allies… A New Houthi crime ends the lives of prominent Houthi leaders,” Mareb Press, October 18, 2019,

[2] “Yemen’s rebel court issues ‘subpoena’ for Donald Trump, Barack Obama and MbS,” The New Arab, October 17, 2019,

[3] “Under Secretary David Hale’s Meetings with Republic of Yemen Government Officials,” US Department of State, October 17, 2019,

[4] “Yemen conflict: ‘Fragile’ hopes rise, as violence decreases and life-saving humanitarian funding surges,” UN News, October 17, 2019,

[5] Tuuryare, Abdirisak, “Somali President To Attend Africa-Russia Summit,” Mareeg, October 17, 2019,; and Marchand, Thibault, “Putin signals Russia’s return to Africa with summit,” AFP,

[6] Herbling, David, “Kenya Further Delays Somalia-Border Case as It Seeks Negotiation,” Bloomberg, October 18, 2019,

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