Gulf of Aden Security Review – November 19, 2021

Yemen: An al Houthi drone and missile target southern Saudi Arabia; Saudi-led coalition destroys al Houthi mines near the Bab al Mandeb; Biden nominates new ambassador to Yemen; Saudi airstrikes target IRGC and LH facilities in Sana’a; US Treasury sanctions al Houthi leader Somalia: UK joins the SFG in opposing a joint AU-UN security force in Somalia; Kenyan forces recapture escaped al Shabaab prisoners; al Shabaab leaders meet with regional elders in southwest Somalia; Galmudug State begins lower house election process Yemen Security Brief

The al Houthi movement launched one explosive-laden drone and one ballistic missile targeting Saudi Arabia. Saudi air defenses intercepted both attacks. The al Houthi movement launched a drone targeting Abha International Airport, in southern Saudi Arabia on November 17.[i] The al Houthi movement also fired a missile targeting Jizan city, in southern Saudi Arabia, on November 19.[ii]

The Saudi-led coalition announced the destruction of fourteen mines near the Bab al Mandeb between November 12 and November 19.[iii] US President Joe Biden nominated former Deputy Chief of Mission-Baghdad Steven Fagin as the new US Ambassador to Yemen on November 17.[iv] The Saudi-led coalition conducted airstrikes targeting al Daylami base in Sana’a governorate on November 18.[v] The coalition said the airstrikes targeted “secret facilities” used by Lebanese Hezbollah and the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

The US Treasury Department sanctioned the al Houthi deputy defense minister for logistics on November 18.[vi] The United Nations (UN) Security Council sanctioned the deputy defense minister for logistics on November 9.[vii] Somalia Security Brief The UK echoed the Somali Federal Government’s rejection of the African Union (AU) proposal to reconfigure the African Union Mission in Somalia as a joint AU-UN force.[viii] The UK Ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward said the AU plan hinders the transfer of security responsibility to Somalis.

Woodward said the UK wants to support a transition to Somali-led security by making international support more viable and sustainable. Security forces captured escaped al Shabaab militants in Kitui County, south-central Kenya on, November 18.[ix] Police rearrested the escapees near Endau, 190 km east of Nairobi. They were likely heading towards the Somali border.

Mohammed Ali Abikar, a gunman for the 2015 Garissa University attacks, and three other al Shabaab members escaped from Kamiti Maximum Security prison on November 15.[x] Al Shabaab‘s governing apparatus met with local clan and religious elders from the Gedo region, southwest Somalia.[xi] Shabaab wilaayada (Islamic governance) members and the elders participated in a week-long religious event and several meetings. Al Shabaab leaders emphasized that Gedo elders must distance themselves from counterterrorism forces.

Somali security forces escalated operations in the Gedo region in early November for election security. Galmudug State Indirect Elections Team (SIET) released the lower house candidate list for the Galmudug region.[xii] SIET scheduled elections for November 27 in the state capital Dhusamareb. The commission is currently registering participants while Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble meets with the Galmudug officials to ensure the elections happen.


[i] Saudi Press Agency – Regions, Twitter, November 17, 2021, https://twitter.com/SPAregions/status/1461098424833556486?s=20.

[ii] Asharq al Awsat, “The coalition: destruction of ballstic missile launched targeting civilians in the city of Jizan,” November 18, 2021, https://aawsat.com/home/article/3312236/%C2%AB%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D8%AD%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%81%C2%BB-%D8%AA%D8%AF%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%B1-%C2%AB%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%8A%C2%BB-%D8%A3%D8%B7%D9%84%D9%82-%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%87%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%81-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AF%D9%86%D9%8A%D9%8A%D9%86-%D8%A8%D9%85%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%86%D8%A9-%D8%AC%D8%A7%D8%B2%D8%A7%D9%86. [iii] Al Mashhad al Yemeni, “The coalition announces hostile behavior and a dangerous Houthi escalation,” November 19, 2021, https://www.almashhad-alyemeni.com/220386; and Khabar Agency, “It posed a threat to commercial ships and oil tanks.. the coalition announces the destruction of 220 sea mines,” November 19, 2021, https://www.khabaragency.net/news158628.html. [iv] The White House, “President Biden announces additional nominees,” November 17, 2021, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/11/17/president-biden-announces-additional-nominees-3/.

[v] Mareb Press, “Violent explosions rock al Daylami base in Sana’a, and sources reveal the details,” November 18, 2021, https://marebpress.net/news_details.php?sid=179615&lang=arabic. [vi] US Department of the Treasury, “Treasury sanctions senior Houthi military officer overseeing group’s seizure of opposition property,” November 18, 2021, https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0495. [vii] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – November 10, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-november-10-2021.

[viii] Dame Barbara Woodward, “Elections and the future of international security support to Somalia,” UK Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office, November 18, 2021, https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/enabling-somalias-security-and-prosperity-for-the-long-term. [ix] Kitavi Mutua, “How convicted militants were rearrested in Kenya,” The East African, November 18, 2021, https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/tea/news/east-africa/kenya-rearrests-escaped-terror-convicts-3623198. [x] Liam Karr and Brian Carter, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – November 17, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, November 17, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-november-17-2021.

[xi] Radio al-Furqan, “An important meeting between the intellectuals of the province and the Islamic administration,” November 18, 2021, https://radioalfurqaan.com/2021/11/kulan-muhiim-ah-oo-dhexmaray-waxgaradka-wilaayada-iyo-maamulka-islaamiga-ah/.

[xii] Somali National News Agency, “Galmudug State Electoral Team releases list of first seats of the election of House of the People,” November 18, 2021, https://sonna.so/en/galmudug-state-electoral-team-releases-list-of-first-seats-of-the-election-of-house-of-the-people/.

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