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: Coalition generals discuss Sana’a strategy; Iranian deputy foreign minister denies embassy closure

Horn of Africa: Somali National Army (SNA) forces repulse al Shabaab attack in Buushra Ami in, Bay region; SNA soldier killed defusing IED in Bardhere in Gedo region; al Shabaab beheads three youth in Yiblan, between Lower Shabelle and Hiran regions

Yemen Security Brief

  • Two generals from the Saudi-led coalition described the Ma’rib ground operation, which began in the central Yemeni governorate on September 13, as part of a “two-pronged” strategy to retake the al Houthi-held capital of Sana’a. Yemeni General Abdu Rabbu Qasem al Shaddadi and Emirati General Ali Sayf al Kaabi said that one line of advance would begin in Ma’rib and proceed through the northern governorate of al Jawf before reaching Sana’a. The second line would begin in Aden in the south, which is currently secured by Emirati troops. The line would proceed to Sana’a via Taiz, a central city that is currently embroiled in clashes between al Houthi militias and popular resistance forces.[1]
  • Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian stated on September 14 that Iran would not close its embassy in Sana’a. Earlier reports claimed that the Iranian ambassador had fled the al Houthi-held Yemeni capital due to increased airstrikes from the Saudi-led coalition. Abdollahian claimed that the ambassador had temporarily returned to Iran for medical tests. He reiterated Iran’s support for al Houthi representation as well as the UN-mediated peace process.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants launched an attack on Somali National Army (SNA) forces in Buushra Amin in Bay region. The attack was successfully repulsed, with local sources saying that Ethiopian military forces came to the aid of the SNA troops during the assault.[3]
  • A SNA soldier was killed while by a roadside improvised explosive device (IED) when it detonated while he was attempting to clear the device in the recently recaptured city of Bardhere in Gedo region. Military officials have confirmed the soldier’s death.[4]
  • Al Shabaab militants beheaded three youth in the town of Yiblan, located near the border between Lower Shabelle and Hiraan regions. Al Shabaab accused the accused the victims of having committed crimes while they were members of the SNA, although this claim is refuted by locals, who say that the youth were simply herders.[5]

[1] Noah Browning. “Arab coalition in Yemen sees victory ‘no matter what,’” Reuters, September 14, 2015. Available:
[2] “Tehran says that it will not close its embassy in Sana’a and that it will continue to support and protect the al Houthis,” Al Masdar, September 14, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
[3] “Joint forces repulse Al-Shabaab in Diinoor attack,” Wacaal Media, September 14, 2015. Available:
[4] Warka, “Somalia: One soldier killed while removing roadside bomb in Baardheere city,” Mareeg, September 15, 2015. Available:
“Security officer dies in Baardheere land mine blast,” Wacaal Media, September 15, 2015. Available:
[5] “Al Shabab beheads three youths in Somalia,” Somali Current, September 14, 2015. Available:
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