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: House resolution calls for U.S. to withdraw support from Saudi-led coalition; Saudi Arabia and Kuwait criticize UN human rights report on Yemen; UAE vows to support UN proposal for future Yemen peace talks; monitoring group and IRC report increase in casualties in Yemen conflict

Horn of Africa: Russian and Somali foreign ministers meet at UNGA in New York; Kenyan police arrest 11 al Shabaab suspects in Nanyuki, Laikipia County, central Kenya; al Shabaab detonates IED targeting SNA forces in Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA) introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives to invoke the 1973 Wars Powers Act to withdraw U.S. support from the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen on September 26. This resolution would not affect U.S. forces in Yemen fighting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The resolution has 23 co-sponsors and is likely to receive a vote on the floor, according to a report by The Intercept. Trump administration officials have argued that American support to the coalition decreases civilian casualties and helps limit the humanitarian crisis. Critics of U.S. support for the coalition argue that the U.S. could be implicated in possible war crimes. The U.S. provides the coalition with intelligence, weapons, and mid-air refueling support.[1]

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait criticized a report prepared by the UN in August over alleged human rights violations by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen on September 26. The August report accused the Saudi-led coalition of not cooperating with UN specialists in Yemen to prevent civilian casualties. Kuwait’s permanent delegate to the UN, Ambassador Jamal al Ghunaim, claimed that the report includes false accusations about the Saudi-led coalition in a September 26 statement at the 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Saudi Ambassador to the UN Abdullah al Mouallimi described the report as biased and hastily prepared on September 26. Al Mouallimi blamed the al Houthi movement for causing the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.[2]

Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash tweeted on September 25 that the UAE will “fully support” UN proposals for new peace talks in Yemen. Gargash met with UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths during the UN General Assembly meeting in New York. The al Houthi delegation did not attend UN-led talks in Geneva on September 6. Griffiths met with Hadi government, al Houthi, Saudi, Emirati, and Omani representatives over the past few weeks in order to organize a new round of talks.[3]

Armed Conflict Location and Event Data (ACLED) monitoring group revealed on September 25 that the number of civilian deaths in Yemen’s civil war increased by 164 percent since June 2018. Yemen country director at International Rescue Committee Frank McManus said that 500 people were killed in nine days in August 2018. He also said that the Saudi-led coalition conducted 18,000 airstrikes since 2015. A joint NGO statement on Yemen at the UN General Assembly session condemned the increase, which exacerbated the humanitarian situation on the ground, on September 25.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with Somali Foreign Minister Ahmed Awad Issa on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 25. Lavrov expressed support for the counterterrorism efforts of Somalia and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Lavrov and Issa reiterated previous pledges to expand diplomatic and economic cooperation between their countries. Issa attended the UN General Assembly instead of Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, who canceled his trip in order to manage a domestic political crisis between the Somali Federal Government and its Federal Member States.[5]

Kenyan police arrested 11 al Shabaab suspects in Nanyuki town, Laikipia County, central Kenya on September 26. Local police arrested the suspects after receiving information that 40 suspicious people were converting to Islam and practicing in a location next to military barracks. Kenyan authorities arrested two Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers for illegally transporting arms in Nanyuki last week. Kenyan authorities also arrested a Muslim street preacher over suspected al Shabaab links in Nanyuki last week.[6]

Al Shabaab detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) near Mogadishu in Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia on September 25. The explosion killed one Somali National Army (SNA) soldier and wounded two others.[7]

[1] Alex Emmons, “House resolution directs Trump to end U.S. support for Yemen war,” The Intercept, September 26, 2018,
View Citations

[2] “Saudi Arabia, Kuwait slam UN for human rights report on Yemen,” Arab News, September 26, 2018,

[3] “Emirati official: UAE will support UN proposal for talks on Yemen,” Al Jazeera, September 26 2018,; “UAE will ‘fully support’ UN political process on Yemen,” Al Araby, September 26 2018,; and Twitter, September 25, 2018,  

[4] “Civilian deaths in Yemen up by 164% as United States recertifies support for the war,” International Rescue Committee, September 25, 2018,;and “Joint NGO statement on Yemen-73rd UN General Assembly,” ReliefWeb, September 25, 2018,

[5] “Russia pledges support for Somalia’s fight against terrorism,” Halbeeg, September 26, 2018,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review: September 24, 2018,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, September 24, 2018,

[6] Mwangi Ndirangu, “Imam among 11 arrested over Al-Shabaab links,” Daily Nation, September 26 2018,

[7]  “Somalia: Blast hits police checkpoint in Mogadishu, Somalia,” Garowe, September 25 2018,

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