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: Hadi government delegation threatens to leave UN consultations if al Houthi delegation does not arrive; Emirati-backed forces resume offensive on al Hudaydah port city; U.S. lawmakers announce plan to attempt to withdraw U.S. support from Saudi-led coalition; al Houthi forces fire ballistic missile at Jizan airport, southern Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: U.S.-backed Somali special forces raid home of Somalia’s first president; Ethiopian police rule Nile dam engineer’s death a suicide

Yemen Security Brief

President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s delegation to the UN consultations in Geneva threatened to leave the consultations if the al Houthi delegation did not arrive by September 7. UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths announced on September 6 that there are no meetings related to the consultations scheduled for September 7. Griffiths met with the Hadi government delegation on September 7 despite his announcement. The al Houthi movement claimed the Saudi-led coalition reneged on an agreement to allow its delegation to travel and from the consultations and allow wounded civilians to be evacuated to Oman. Coalition officials denied this claim and accused the al Houthi movement of adding additional pre-conditions for the talks. The al Houthi delegation has not yet left Yemen and the Hadi government delegation is still in Geneva.[1]

Emirati-backed Yemeni forces resumed an offensive on al Hudaydah port city on September 7. Emirati-backed forces attacked al Houthi forces along the coastal road in southern neighborhoods of the city. Emirati-backed forces are attempting to envelope the city by simultaneously advancing toward the Kilo 16 road, east of al Hudaydah city. Senior al Houthi commander Brigadier General Ali Saleh al Qabari died in the clashes, according to a member of the Emirati-backed forces. Emirati helicopters attacked al Houthi forces stationed in al Hudaydah’s naval college on September 5.[2]

Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives announced a plan to introduce a resolution in early September to invoke the War Powers Resolution and withdraw U.S. support from the Saudi-led coalition. The September 6 announcement cited the high rate of civilian casualties from the coalition’s bombing campaign and referenced the August 9 airstrike that killed 40 children in northern Yemen. Representative Ro Khanna is leading the effort. Previous similar efforts have failed.[3]

Al Houthi forces fired two Badr 1 ballistic missiles at Jizan airport in southern Saudi Arabia on September 6. Saudi-led coalition spokesperson Turki al Maliki stated Saudi air defense systems intercepted a missile en route to Jizan city on September 6.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

U.S.-backed Somali special forces raided the home of the first Somali President Aden Abdulle Osman Daar, popularly known as Aden Adde, while searching for militants in Janale town, Lower Shabelle region. Gunfire damaged the building. The Somali Federal Government later apologized to Aden Adde’s family. Aden Adde was the president of Somalia from 1960 to 1967. He died in 2007.[5]

Ethiopian police ruled the July 26 death of Ethiopian engineer Simegnew Bekele a suicide on August 7. Police found Bekele dead from a gunshot wound in his parked car in Meskel Square, Addis Ababa on July 26. Police chief General Zeyinu Jamal reported that investigations will continue into the details of his death. Bekele was the head engineer and public face of the $4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The GERD will be Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam once completed, but its construction has caused concern for Egypt and raised regional tensions. Many Ethiopians believe Bekele was assassinated, and thousands of mourners protested during his funeral in Addis Ababa in July.[6] 

[1] Stephanie Nebehay, “U.N. special envoy awaits Houthis at Yemen peace talks in Geneva,” Reuters, September 7, 2018,; and “Yemen peace talks on hold as U.N. mediator awaits Houthi team,” Reuters, September 6, 2018,

[2] “Hadi government forces continues its march towards al Hudaydah port city after breaking al Houthi fortifications,” Yemen Akhbar, September 7, 2018,; “The Joint Resistance Forces penetrates al Houthi neighborhoods in al Hudaydah city,” Yemen Akhbar, September 7, 2018,; “Max exodus of residents as fighting approaches Kilo 16 in al Hudaydah,” al Masdar Online, September 7, 2017,; and “A senior al Houthi leader killed in al Hudaydah offensive,” Al Wattan, September 7, 2018

[3] “Statement: Reo, Ro Khanna, HSAC ranking member Adam Smith, CPC co-chair Mark Pocan announce plan to introduce a War Powers Resolution to withdraw U.S. forces from the war in Yemen,” Congressman Ro Khanna, September 6, 2018,

[4] “Two ballistic missiles fired at Jizan airport,” Saba News, September 6, 2018,; and “General / Command of the Joint Forces of the Alliance "Alliance to Support Legitimacy in Yemen": Saudi Royal Air Defense Forces intercept a ballistic missile launched by the Houthi terrorist militia of Iran towards the Kingdom,” SPA, September 7, 2018,

[5] “U.S. forces and Somali Special Troops Raid the Residence of Somalia First President Aden Abdulle Osman Daar near Janale,” Intelligence Brief, September 7, 2018,; and “Somali Govt Apologies Over Raid on Country’s First President Aden Daddy’s home,” Al Yaman Al Araby, September 7, 2018,    

[6] “Ethiopia’s GERD project engineer committed suicide-police,” Africa News, September 7, 2018,; and “Hundreds in Ethiopia Protest Apparent Killing of Dam Project Manager,” Voice of America, July 27, 2018,   

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