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: Saudi Arabia announces it is hosting senior Houthi delegation for talks in Riyadh; Houthi president confirms talks in Riyadh; Yemeni government welcomes Houthi-Saudi talks; US national security advisor welcomes Houthi visit to Riyadh
Somalia: Al Shabaab conducts three SVBIED attacks across central and southern Somalia in three-day span
Yemen Security Brief
Saudi Arabia announced on September 14 that it was hosting a senior Houthi delegation for talks in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.[i] The Houthi delegation left for Riyadh on September 14 from Sana’a on an Omani aircraft. Saudi state media said that the Riyadh talks aim to complete earlier talks held in Sana’a between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia.
The Houthi president confirmed the Saudi characterization of the talks in official Houthi media on September 14, adding that “peace was and still is our first option.”[ii] The Houthi president previously threatened attacks against Saudi Arabia on September 10.[iii]
The Yemeni government said that it “welcomes” the Saudi, Omani, and UN efforts to encourage the Houthis to “seriously deal” with peace talks.[iv] The government stated it supported a peace that “ends the [Houthi] coup,” restores state institutions, and provides security, stability, and development in Yemen.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the United States “welcomes” the “first official visit” by the Houthis to Riyadh.[v] Sullivan highlighted the United States’ support for the “peace efforts” in Yemen. Senior US officials visited Riyadh and Oman during the week of September 3.[vi]
Somalia Security Brief
An al Shabaab vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) attack attempted to target the Emirati-trained Somali National Army contingent headquarters near Somali Defense Ministry building, Daynile district, Mogadishu, on September 13. Somali forces stopped the SVBIED at a checkpoint and fired on it when the driver did not follow orders, forcing it to prematurely detonate.[vii] The explosion injured six people including the district commissioner.[viii] Al Shabaab claimed the SVBIED successfully reached its target and killed at least 19 soldiers and wounded 27 others.[ix]
An SVBIED attack targeted a camp hosting government officials stationed on the frontline near Las’Gamey, Hobyo district, Mudug region, central Somalia, on September 15.[x] The attack killed at least two guards and injured two MPs but did not kill any high-ranking political leaders.[xi] Al Shabaab claimed the attack killed 11 soldiers.[xii]
An al Shabaab SVBIED targeted local officials from the al Shabaab–occupied town of Gamboole in Jowhar city, Jowhar district, Middle Shabelle region, central Somalia, on September 15.[xiii] The attack killed at least five people.
[i] Agence France Presse, “Saudi Housts Yemen’s Iran-Backed Rebels For Talks on Ending War,” September 14, 2023, https://www.barrons.com/news/yemen-s-iran-backed-rebels-to-visit-war-foes-saudi-multiple-sources-a37983fa.
[ii] SABA (Houthi), “President al Mashaat meets with the Omani delegation and renews thanks for the Sultanate’s efforts to bring peace to Yemen,” September 14, 2023, https://saba.ye/ar/news3264349.htm.
[iii] 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.
[iv] SABA (ROYG), “The government welcomes the efforts of our brothers in Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman to push the Houthi militia towards serious dealing with calls for peace,” September 15, 2023, https://sabanew.net/story/ar/101302.
[v] Jake Sullivan, “Statement from National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan Welcoming The First Official Senior Houthi Delegation to Saudi Arabia,” The White House, September 15, 2023, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/09/15/statement-from-national-security-advisor-jake-sullivan-welcoming-the-first-official-senior-houthi-delegation-to-saudi-arabia/.
[vi] 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/.
[vii] Harun Maruf, @HarunMaruf, Twitter, September 13, 2023, https://x.com/HarunMaruf/status/1701980065414656449?s=20.
[viii] The Somali Digest, “Al-Shabaab attacked military camp in Daynile, Mogadishu,” September 13, 2023, https://thesomalidigest.com/al-shabaab-attacked-military-camp-in-daynile-mogadishu.
[x] VOA Somali, “A suicide bombing targeted a place where the leaders of Galmudug were,” September 15, 2023, https://www.voasomali.com/a/qarax-is-miidaamin-ah-oo-lala-beegsaday-goob-ay-ku-sugnaayeen-madaxda-galmudug/7269447.html.
[xi] Somali National TV, @sntvnews1, Twitter, September 15, 2023, https://x.com/sntvnews1/status/1702618661985395103?s=20.
[xii] Hussein Mohamed, @HussienM12, Twitter, September 15, 2023, https://x.com/HussienM12/status/1702658450285560185?s=20.
[xiii] Kaab TV, “Car Bombing Strikes Gamboole Officials Residence in Jowhar: 5 dead and several wounded,” September 15, 2023, https://kaabtv.com/car-bombing-strikes-gamboole-officials-residence-in-jowhar-5-dead-and-several-wounded.