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 journalist on trial for al Qaeda links; U.S. Ambassador reaffirms support for Yemen, participates in meetings to discuss the fight against al Qaeda; USS Cole mastermind granted victim status in Poland; Saudi authorities working to improve security on border with Yemen
Horn of Africa: Both sides claim victory in recent fighting in Beled Hawo; TFG troops detain five men with ties to al Shabaab in Beled Hawo; al Shabaab bombs AMISOM base, AMISOM responds with shelling of Bakara market; parliament approval of new PM postponed; Somalia attempting to claim Yemeni Socotra Archipelago as its own; German ship freed from pirates by British rescue force; jihadist announces on forum his intention to participate in jihad in Somalia; Puntland President praises Somali women, asks for war crimes tribunal
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Shaea is on trial for links to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), specifically for posting an interview with American-born cleric Anwar al Awlaki on al Jazeera’s website. Shaea is accused of “being an active al Qaeda member, including acting as a media secretary for the radical Muslim preacher and working to attract a number of foreigners into joining al Qaeda.”
- U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein reaffirmed U.S. support for Yemen but said that its issues may take a long time to be solved, adding that encouraging dialogue between the opposing parties is the best approach to finding a solution. Feierstein met with Deputy Prime Minister for Security and Defense Affairs and Minister of Local Administration Rashad al Alimi to discuss local governance and the fight against terrorism within the country.
- Polish officials have granted victim status to Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, a man accused of masterminding the 2000 USS Cole bombing, after investigations into the conditions in the CIA prison in Poland in which he was held. This victim status will give him more rights in his trial and, according to Polish lawyer Adam Bodnar, “means that the prosecutor’s office is to a great extent convinced of the argumentation that he was rendered and held illegally on the territory of Poland.”
- Saudi authorities are working to improve border security on the increasingly porous Saudi-Yemeni border, over which it is believed that Saudi recruits to AQAP are able to pass with relatively little interference into Yemen. These efforts include evacuating villages very near the border and building defense networks along the border. Saudi authorities are currently working with local tribes and traders to ensure that the border is secure without aggravating tribal tensions or disrupting trade flows.
Horn of African Security Brief
- Both al Shabaab and the TFG troops are claiming victory over yesterday’s fighting in Beled Hawo. The TFG claims that they killed 20 al Shabaab militants and wounded 40 others after attacking their base, and al Shabaab claims that they inflicted more damage on the TFG troops.
- Government troops have detained five men with alleged ties to al Shabaab in Beled Hawo in southern Somalia.
- Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for a landmine explosion at the AMISOM base at Jalle Siad military academy in Mogadishu on Tuesday. AMISOM shelling of the Bakara Market on Tuesday left at least three civilians dead and ten more wounded.
- The meeting of parliament to approve the appointment of Mohamed Abdullah Mohamed Farmajo as Somalia’s new Prime Minister that was supposed to happen today has once again been postponed. MP Ahmed Awad Ashare attributed the delay to “technical problems” and said that the vote would most likely take place on Thursday or Saturday.
- Somalia claims it has the right to administer the Socotra Archipelago islands because they are located within its territory and is asking the United Nations to determine the status of the archipelago. Yemen is seeking to reassert its claim.
- British rescue forces freed the Beluga Fortune, a German ship being held by Somali pirates. While the hijackers managed to escape, all 16 hostages on board were unharmed in the rescue.
- A jihadist member of the Shumukh al Islam forum departed for Somalia to participate in jihad. The user “Saqr al Uras” contacted another member of the forum and asked him to spread word of his departure.
- Puntland President Dr. Abdirahman Mohamed Farole attended a ceremony at the “Somali Women Peace and Dialogue Conference” in Garowe where he praised the role played by Somali women and also asked the international community to create a war crimes tribunal in Somalia. Farole said, “Somali women are more blessed than Somali men,” and urged women to “get educated before marriage” and to “marry from the clan that is hostile to your own.”