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: Al Houthi-Saleh forces fire ballistic missiles targeting Saudi-led coalition and Hadi government forces; Hadi government-aligned forces down al Houthi-Saleh drone in Kirsh district, Lahij governorate, southern Yemen; U.K. signs security cooperation deal with Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: Kenyan Supreme Court explains August 8 election’s nullification; Kenyan electoral commission postpones re-run election; Russia plans to increase assistance in Somalia; Kenyan intelligence warns al Shabaab remains largest threat

Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi-Saleh forces fired three ballistic missiles at Saudi-led coalition and Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi government forces on September 19. Al Houthi-Saleh forces fired a ballistic missile at Saudi-led coalition forces at a military site in Jazan province, southwest Saudi Arabia according to an al Houthi news outlet. Al Houthi-Saleh forces also claimed to fire ballistic missiles at Hadi government-aligned forces in Shabwah governorate, eastern Yemen and in al Hazm city, al Jawf governorate, northern Yemen.[1]

Hadi government-aligned forces downed an al Houthi-Saleh reconnaissance drone in Kirsh district, Lahij governorate, southern Yemen on September 20. Spokesman for the Fourth Military District Mohammed al Naqib stated this drone was smuggled in from Iran and contained cameras, telephone chips, and other intelligence devices. Conflict Armament Research discovered that some al Houthi-Saleh drones are Iranian manufactured and supplied, according to its March 2017 report.[2] 

The U.K. signed a military and security cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia on September 19 to counter Iranian influence and Salafi-jihadi groups in the Middle East. Saudi Minister of Defense and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and British Minister of Defense Michael Fallon agreed to an undisclosed framework. The U.K. has sold $4.75 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia since the start of the Yemeni war. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May committed $4.05 billion for defense in Gulf Cooperation Council states over the next decade in December 2016.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The Kenyan Supreme Court stated it nullified the August 8 presidential election because Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) election officials announced the election results before verifying the paper ballots, which contained widespread discrepancies, on September 20. Kenya uses two voting systems, an electronic system to take a quick tally and a paper system as a verifiable backup. The Supreme Court also cleared charges against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta that claimed he used state funds for campaigning.[4] 

The IEBC announced it will postpone the Kenyan re-run election to October 26 or 27 on September 20. The firm providing Kenya’s election system stated voting equipment could not be installed by October 17, the original date of the re-run election.[5] 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced plans to increase Russian assistance to Somalia during a meeting with Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire at the United Nations General Assembly on September 20. Russia provided humanitarian aid to the Somali Federal Government (SFG) for Somalia’s drought crisis in 2016 and 2017. The SFG requested Russian military equipment to fight al Shabaab in 2016.[6] 

Kenyan National Intelligence Service (NIS) Deputy Assistant Director Alexander Muteshi reported that al Shabaab remains Kenya’s largest threat to national security and development on September 20. Al Shabaab moved its targets from Kenya’s major cities to the border areas according to NIS deputy director Alexander Muteshi.[7]

[1] “Houthis fire missile at Saudi-led forces,” Al Masirah, September 19, 2017,; “Rocket fired at Saudi-led coalition troops in Shabwah,” Al Masirah, September 19, 2017,; “Rocket fired in al Jawf,” Al Masirah, September 19, 2017,; and “Houthis fire ballistic missile at al Hazm city,” Al Masdar, September 19, 2017,
[2] “A Houthi spy plane was shot down in Lahij in southern Yemen,” Erem News, September 20, 2017,; and Demolinari, Twitter, September 20, 2017,
[3] “Britian, Saudi Arabia sign military cooperation deal: state media,” Reuters, September 20, 2017,; and “Saudi Arabia pens deal with the UK over defence cooperation,” The National, September 19, 2017,
[4] George Obulutsa and Maggie Fick, “Kenya Supreme Court criticizes election board in verdict on polls,” Reuters, September 20, 2017,; and “Kenya Court: Opposition Didn't Show Presidential Campaign Used State Resources,” US News, September 20, 2017,
[5] “Kenya prepares to postpone repeat presidential vote,” Financial Times, September 18, 2017,
[6] “Somalia: Russian FM Meets With Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire,” All Africa, September 20, 2017,; and Mehmet Cem Oğultürk, “Russia’s Renewed Interests in the Horn of Africa As a Traditional and Rising Power,” Rising Powers Quarterly, February 2017,
[7] David Mwere, “Terror groups pose biggest threat to Kenya’s security – NIS,” Daily Nation, September 20, 2017,

View Citations
Arrow down red
Oct '17
Sep '17
Aug '17