Non-Traditional Security Threats in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden


Al Jazeera Centre for Studies released a new book on 1 February 2022 entitled Non-Traditional Security Threats in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden: A Study of the Development of the Mechanisms of Confrontation by Ali Al-Dahab.

The book sheds light on threats to the maritime domain in the Western Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea including non-traditional ones such as piracy; armed robbery; transnational organised crime like human trafficking, the smuggling and trafficking of illicit arms and prohibited animal and plant products, illegal fishing, oil theft and the burial of toxic waste in addition to different kinds of “maritime terrorism.”

The significance of the book lies in its study of non-state actors responsible for these threats in this economically, commercially and militarily sensitive region that encompasses a network of regional and international interests at the forefront of which are the flow of oil and trade between east and west. Its significance also stems from its presentation of a practical proposal to confront these threats and develop a code of conduct against piracy and armed robbery in the Western Indian Ocean known as the Djibouti Code of Conduct of 2009 and its amendments and updates in the 2017 Jeddah Amendment.

Based on the author’s 2019 PhD thesis, the book contains an introduction, five chapters and a conclusion. The first chapter looks into the concepts of security and security threats as well as their domains and dimensions and modern transformations in them. The second chapter addresses the different interactions of non-traditional threats in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden and their implications on the levels and dimensions of security. The third chapter presents current international and regional initiatives for confronting threats, and portrays their strengths and weaknesses. The fourth chapter discusses the Djibouti Code of Conduct which was adopted by the states of the Western Indian Ocean to combat piracy and the armed robbery of ships and later updated in the 2017 Jeddah Amendment. The chapter describes them as two mechanisms for confronting non-traditional threats in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. Finally, the fifth chapter presents a proposal for developing the Djibouti Code of Conduct in order to render it a regional cooperation agreement, which is what the signatories to the 2009 agreement and the 2017 amendment did later when they adopted a proposal to develop the original code of conduct into a regional cooperation agreement, expand the subjective and geographic domains, define the necessary executive tools for confronting non-traditional security threats, and highlight the threats to the process of development and possible solutions to overcome them.

The author, Dr. Ali Mohammed Al-Dahab, is a former military officer in the Yemeni army and a researcher specialised in strategic affairs. He obtained a PhD in maritime transport technology with a specialisation in maritime security, safety and environment from the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport in Alexandria, Egypt in 2019. His research interests are strategic, military and security studies, especially in Yemen, the Western Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.

Click here to read or download the book (in Arabic).