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 threatens independent human rights investigation will weaken diplomatic relations; AQAP releases video urging followers to remain dedicated to Islam; Emirati-backed al Hizam forces raid AQAP safehouse in Lawder district, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen

Horn of Africa: SFG leaders mediate Galmudug state conflict between government leaders; Kenyan main parties discuss re-run election logistics with electoral commission

Yemen Security Brief

Saudi Arabia threatened that an independent investigation into war crimes in Yemen “may negatively affect” political and economic relations with the Kingdom on September 26. Saudi Arabia sent letters to at least two countries that it will not support an independent investigation in Yemen, according to two Western diplomats. Saudi Ambassador to the UN Abdulaziz Alwasil denied knowledge of the letters. The Dutch-Canadian proposal endorses an independent inquiry in lieu of the current Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi government National Commission and the Saudi-led coalition’s Joint Incidents Assessment Team, which lack impartiality.[1] 

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) senior spokesman Khalid Saeed Batarfi stressed the importance of remaining dedicated to Islam in a new video released on September 26. The video is the 18th installment of Batarfi’s series Stories of the Prophets. AQAP released the 17th installment discussing a similar theme on September 23. This video series aims to spread AQAP’s ideology to Sunni populations worldwide.[2]

Emirati-backed al Hizam security forces raided an AQAP safehouse and arrested two militants in al Ayn, Lawder district, northern Abyan governorate on September 27. Al Hizam security forces began efforts to establish security in Abyan in August. A lack of government support for security forces while facing AQAP attacks forced al Hizam forces to withdraw from the area in February 2017.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Somali Federal Government (SFG) members of parliament began mediating the Qatari embargo dispute between Galmudug state leaders on September 27. The Galmudug state President Ahmed Dualle Haaf announced Galmudug would cut ties with Qatar on September 19. President Haff arrested Galmudug Vice President Mohamed Hashi Abdi and Speaker of Parliament Ali Gacal Asir on September 26 after the two leaders contested the president’s decision. SFG President Mohamed Farmajo reportedly discussed the Gulf rift with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz in Saudi Arabia on September 27. The SFG has maintained neutrality because it relies on aid from Saudi Arabia and Qatar.[4] 

Representatives from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee party and opposition leader Raila Odinga’s National Super Alliance (NASA) party discussed the re-run presidential election with Kenyan election officials at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya on September 27. Representatives from both parties discussed the election timeline and logistics. NASA party officials submitted a list of demands at the meeting, including the replacement of all IEBC election officials. Raila Odinga threatened his party would boycott the vote if the commission did not meet NASA party’s demands.[5]  

[1] Jamey Keaten, “AP Newsbreak: Saudis threaten fallout if Yemen probe passes,” ABC News, September 26, 2017,
[2] “Sheikh Batarfi’s Stories of the Prophets number 18,” Telegram, September 26, 2017; and Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, September 26, 2017,
[3] “Al Hizam security forces waging a raid in al Ayn,” Aden Tomorrow, September 27, 2017,
[4] “Somalia: Federal Lawmakers Heading to Adado Amid Political Turmoil,” All Africa, September 27, 2017,
[5] Ibrahim Oruko, “Electoral agency meets Jubilee, Nasa over poll planshttp,” Daily Nation, September, 27, 2017,  

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