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: Houthis threaten Gulf states; Saudi defense minister speaks with Yemeni president; Yemeni president meets with European ambassadors in Aden
Somalia: Al Shabaab attempts to overrun Somali special forces base in southern Somalia; Somali forces briefly secure town in central Somalia before withdrawing due to IED casualties; al Shabaab attacks SNA base in southwestern Somalia
Yemen Security Brief
Houthi President Mahdi al Mashaat said on September 10 that Houthi missiles can “strike any target in any city in the aggression countries from anywhere in Yemen.”[i] The Houthis frequently use “aggression countries” to refer to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Saudi Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman spoke with Yemeni President Rashad al Alimi to discuss Saudi Arabia’s continued support for the Yemeni Presidential Council and Saudi efforts “toward a comprehensive political solution” in Yemen on September 10.[ii] The call comes after Biden Middle East advisor Brett McGurk, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf, and US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking met with Saudi officials in Riyadh during the week of September 3.[iii] The US national security advisor said the trio discussed deepening Yemen’s truce and achieving “permanent peace.”[iv]
Alimi also met with the European Union Mission head and Finnish, German, Dutch, and French ambassadors in Aden on September 12 to discuss the Saudi and Omani efforts to continue the Yemeni peace process to achieve stability in Yemen.[v] Alimi highlighted the “increasing threats” of the Houthis and transnational terrorist organizations.
Somalia Security Brief
Al Shabaab attacked a Turkish-trained Gorgor special force and Somali National Army joint-base in Awdhigle, Afgoi district, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia, on September 10. Locals said al Shabaab initially entered part of the base, but that Somali forces eventually repelled them.[vi] Al Shabaab claimed to overrun the base and kill 59 soldiers.[vii] Somali officials said the SNA killed 60 militants.[viii] Independent analysts said local intelligence and TB2 drones helped repel the attack.[ix]
Local militia fighters and SNA troops briefly secured El Garas, Dhusamareb district, Galgudud region, on September 11.[x] Somali forces retreated after an al Shabaab improvised explosive device (IED) attack killed a local MP.[xi] Al Shabaab re-entered the town after Somali forces withdrew.[xii]
Al Shabaab attacked a Somali National Army (SNA) base in Berdale, Baidoa district, Bay region, southwestern Somalia, on September 8.[xiii] Somali officials said local militia helped the SNA repel the attack and kill the group's commander. Al Shabaab said it overran the base.
[i] 26Sep (Houthi), “President al Mashaat: The Missile Force Can Strike Any Target in the Aggression Countries..Video,” September 10, 2023, https://26sep.net/index.php/local/63706-2023-09-10-18-12-01.
[ii] Khalid bin Salman, Twitter, September 10, 2023, https://x.com/kbsalsaud/status/1701028033786695940?s=20.
[iii] The White House, “Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan,” September 5, 2023, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/press-briefings/2023/09/05/press-briefing-by-press-secretary-karine-jean-pierre-and-national-security-advisor-jake-sullivan-6/.
[iv] The White House, “Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan,” September 5, 2023, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/press-briefings/2023/09/05/press-briefing-by-press-secretary-karine-jean-pierre-and-national-security-advisor-jake-sullivan-6/.
[vi] Harun Maruf, “Somali Forces Retain Key Base Following Al-Shabab Attack,” Voice of America, September 10, 2023, https://www.voanews.com/a/somali-forces-retain-key-base-following-al-shabab-attack/7262154.html.
[vii] SITE Intelligence Group, “Shabaab Continues Series of Major Operations, Overwhelms SNA Bases Killing 59 in Lower Shabelle,” September 11, 2023, available by subscription at www.siteintelgroup.com.
[viii] Maruf, “Somali Forces Retain Key Base Following Al-Shabab Attack.”
[ix] Samatalis Haille, @foritssake, Twitter, September 11, 2023, https://twitter.com/foritssake/status/1701201386677891534?s=20.
[x] Somali National TV, @sntvnews1, Twitter, September 11, 2023, https://twitter.com/sntvnews1/status/1701157587561922780?s=20.
[xi] Harun Maruf, “Somali Regional MP Killed in Al-Shabab Landmine Explosion,” Voice of America, September 11, 2023, https://www.voanews.com/a/somali-regional-mp-killed-in-al-shabab-landmine-explosion/7263254.html.
[xii] The Somali Digest, “Quick gains, quick losses: Government forces left El Garas,” September 12, 2023, https://thesomalidigest dot com/quick-gains-quick-losses-government-forces-left-el-garas.
[xiii] Harun Maruf, @HarunMaruf, Twitter, September 8, 2023, https://twitter.com/HarunMaruf/status/1700504485028622436?s=20.