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: Yemeni government forms new negotiating team; Houthi economic committee “allows” entry of tanker into Shabwani port; Houthi leader releases speech on Houthi officials and domestic policy; Houthis claim UAE and Israel establish military bases on Socotra Island
Somalia: Al Shabaab launches near-simultaneous SVBIED attacks targeting key supply nodes in central Somalia; SNA forces continue to clear al Shabaab militants from villages in south-central Somalia; Somali government officials announce plans to begin new offensives against al Shabaab; Somali security forces rearrest a prominent journalist
Yemen Security Brief:
The Yemeni government formed a new seven-man team for negotiating with the Houthis on October 18.[i] The team includes Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmed bin Mubarak, one Nasserist official, two Islah officials, one official tied to Tariq Saleh, two Southern Transitional Council–affiliated officials, one human rights lawyer, and a “rapporteur.”[ii]
The Houthi Supreme Economic Committee said it “allowed” the entry of a fuel tanker to Bir Ali port, Shabwah governorate, on October 18.[iii] The tanker will reportedly provide fuel to Aden governorate’s power station. The committee framed its decision as an “affirmation…[of] its keenness” to provide services to citizens and “alleviate their suffering.” Bir Ali is under the control of pro-government forces.
Houthi leader Abdul Malik al Houthi released a speech covering the “responsibility” of Houthi officials and domestic policy on October 18.[iv] Houthi set agricultural development as a core Houthi domestic priority to strengthen the “backbone of the national economy” and decrease reliance on imports. Houthi also emphasized the importance of “cooperation… and synergy of efforts” at the expense of “personal ambition.” Houthi also said Houthi officials should ensure they build a strong relationship with the community through social initiatives to accomplish “big things.”
The Houthis claimed that an Emirati intelligence official arrived on Socotra Island, Yemen, on October 19 to establish a joint base and intelligence center with Israel.[v] Houthi media said the official sought to take coastal areas on the island for the establishment of bases near Qalansiya, Socotra. The Houthis also alleged that an Israeli cargo ship arrived from Dubai carrying “military devices and equipment” around the same time as the Emirati intelligence official.
Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed al Jabr met with UN Envoy Hans Grundberg in Riyadh on October 17 to discuss Yemen’s truce.[vi] Jabr said that he emphasized Saudi Arabia’s support for the truce and highlighted the Houthi rejection of the truce. Grundberg also met with Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmed bin Mubarak in Riyadh on October 18.[vii] Bin Mubarak said that the extension of the truce “clashed with the subordination of [the Houthis] to the Iranian regime.[viii]
Somalia Security Brief:
Al Shabaab launched two suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) attacks in Hiraan region, central Somalia, on October 19. The first suicide VBIED damaged a bridge in Burlo Burde.[ix] SNA forces stopped a second bomber before he reached a separate bridge in Jalalaqsi under an hour after the attack in Bulo Burde.[x] Local militia forces captured an al Shabaab VBIED in Beledweyne on October 18 that al Shabaab may have intended to use in a third attack.[xi]
Somali National Army (SNA) and local militia forces continued operations against al Shabaab in Middle Shabelle region, south-central Somalia. SNA and local militia forces ambushed al Shabaab militants near Halfoley, Jowhar district, on October 18. The SNA claims that it killed 17 militants and burned a militant vehicle.[xii] SNA forces also continued clearing villages in the Shabelle River Valley in the Bal’ad district.[xiii] The SNA cleared 12 more villages on October 18 after clearing several villages near Hawadley on October 15.[xiv]
Somali Federal Government (SFG) officials announced the impending start of several military offensives against al Shabaab on October 19. The Somali Interior Minister announced that SNA operations against al Shabaab in Galmudug region, north-central Somalia, would begin before the end of October.[xv] The Minister of Defense announced that SNA operations against al Shabaab in the Bakool and Bay regions, southwestern Somalia, would begin soon.[xvi]
Somali security forces rearrested the secretary-general of the Somali Journalists Syndicate on October 19.[xvii] Security forces had previously arrested the secretary general on October 11 after he criticized the government’s ban on al Shabaab–affiliated media. The SFG released the secretary-general on October 18.[xviii]
[i] Ali al Sakani, Twitter, October 18, 2022, https://twitter.com/Alsakaniali/status/1582554233080987648?s=20&t=UaN_9oJzCfSxnqsJ-7Tyyg.
[ii] Al Araby al Jadeed, “Yemen: leaks about naming members of a government team to negotiate with the Houthis,” October 19, 2022, https://www.alaraby.co.uk/politics/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%85%D9%86-%D8%AA%D8%B3%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%B9%D9%86-%D8%AA%D8%B3%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%A3%D8%B9%D8%B6%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D9%81%D8%B1%D9%8A%D9%82-%D8%AD%D9%83%D9%88%D9%85%D9%8A-%D9%84%D9%84%D8%AA%D9%81%D8%A7%D9%88%D8%B6-%D9%85%D8%B9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%88%D8%AB%D9%8A%D9%8A%D9%86.
[iii] Saba Houthi, “Supreme Economic: Allowing the tanker Hana to transport an oil shipment to Aden electricity under the direction of President al Mashaat,” October 18, 2022, https://www.saba.ye/ar/news3207709.htm.
[iv] Saba Houthi, “The text of the speech of the Leader of the Revolution during the inauguration of the local development program and joint work between state agencies and the components of society,” October 18, 2022, https://www.saba.ye/ar/news3207700.htm.
[v] 26Sep (Houthi), “An Emirati-Zionist plan to convert Qalansiya into a new military base,” October 19, 2022, https://26sep.net/index.php/local/45571-2022-10-19-04-25-15.
[vi] Mohammed al Jabr, Twitter, October 17, 2022, https://twitter.com/mohdsalj/status/1582083944177991680?s=20&t=376WWFG6yg9rZjMK6bwCrQ.
[vii] Ahmed bin Mubarak, Twitter, October 18, 2022, https://twitter.com/BinmubarakAhmed/status/1582437317834571776?s=20&t=9f-FxNg8renURvtiHUY2uw.
[viii] Saba ROYG, “Bin Mubarak discusses with the UN envoy the results of efforts to renew the truce,” October 18, 2022, https://sabanew.net/story/ar/91134.
[ix] SNTV News, @sntvnews1, Twitter, October 19, 2022, https://twitter.com/sntvnews1/status/1582720115421761536?s=20&t=BMvTDV74wDBOlQxulylsmw.
[x] SNTV News, @sntvnews1, October 19, 2022, https://twitter.com/sntvnews1/status/1582741033502183424.
[xi] Halbeeg, “Truck loaded with IED seized outside Beledweyne,” October 19, 2022, https://en.halbeeg.com/2022/10/19/truck-loaded-with-ied-seized-outside-beledweyne/.
[xii] Shabelle Media Network, @ShabelleMedia, Twitter, October 18, 2022, https://twitter.com/ShabelleMedia/status/1582338911061221376.
[xiii] SNTV News, @sntvnews1, Twitter, October 19, 2022, https://twitter.com/sntvnews1/status/1582626382026518528?s=20&t=Yq779TvU0fv3vsPxlyEwyw; and Hiiraan Online, “Government forces recapture several villages in Middle Shabelle region,” October 18, 2022,
[xiv] Brian Carter and David Hessen, ”Gulf of Aden Security Review - October 17, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, October 17, 2022, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-october-17-2022.
[xv] Asad Cabdullahi Mataan, ”FIWI MINISTER announced the start of the Al-Shabaab war in Galmudug,” Caasimada, October 19, 2022, https://www.caasimada.com/wasiir-fiqi-oo-shaaciyey-xilliga-dagaalka-al-shabaab-laga-billaabayo-galmudug/.
[xvi] Radio Risaala, ”Somalia Government Reveals Plans To Launch Military Operations Against Al-Shabaab In Bay And Bakool Regions,” October 19, 2022, https://radiorisaala.com/somalia-government-reveals-plans-to-launch-military-operations-against-al-shabaab-in-bay-and-bakool-regions/.
[xvii] Hiraan Online, ”Somali press union boss re-arrested in Mogadishu,” October 19, 2022, http://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2022/Oct/188305/somali_press_union_boss_re_arrested_in_mogadishu.aspx.
[xviii] Brian Carter and David Hessen, ”Gulf of Aden Security Review - October 17, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, October 17, 2022, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-october-17-2022.