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2017 10-31 ctp update and assessment


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CTP’s Threat Updateseries is a weekly updateand assessment of the al Qaeda networkand its affiliates in Yemen, the Horn of Africa, and the Maghreb and Sahel.

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2017 10-31 ctp update and assessment

  1. 1. AEI’s Critical Threats Project Update and Assessment October 31, 2017
  2. 2. 2 Threat Update: October 31, 2017 For a closer look at Yemen this week, view the full Threat Update. Kenya faces an escalating political crisis after a controversial re-run presidential election. The Kenyan opposition party is attempting to form a rival government to undermine the ruling party led by the incumbent president. The crisis is destabilizing Kenya and may compromise its ability to counter al Shabaab. Pakistan Kenya Yemen U.S. airstrikes severely weakened ISIS in Yemen. The decline of ISIS strengthens AQAP by allowing it to consolidate full control over the Salafi-jihadi movement in Yemen. Balochi separatist militants increased attacks targeting Pakistani journalists for refusing to publish their statements. Separatist activity destabilizes Balochistan province and consumes the attention of security forces, creating operating space for Salafi-jihadi groups.
  3. 3. 3 Threat Update: October 31, 2017 Mali Libya Tunisia AQIM affiliate Jama’a Nusrat al Islam wa al Muslimeen (JNIM) is conducting a dual military and media campaign to delegitimize security forces in Mali. JNIM continued a series of attacks intended to fix security forces in defensive positions and increase militants’ freedom of movement. JNIM also challenged official accounts of a recent French raid to incite anti-Western sentiment in local populations. ISIS militants may shift focus on conducting attacks inside Tunisia over recruiting fighters to travel to ISIS’s core terrain in Iraq and Syria. Tunisian security forces foiled two ISIS plots in the last week. Would-be strongman Khalifa Haftar is consolidating his power in Libya as UN-led talks falter. Haftar is courting rival political and military leadership from western Libya in a bid to secure his role in a national government. External backers are bolstering Haftar’s efforts to take military control of the country.
  4. 4. Horn of Africa 4Matthew Cassidy Kenyan opposition party forms rival government Opposition leader withdrew from re-run election, citing bias. 1 Electoral commission chairman announced concerns over election credibility. 2 Supreme Court lacked a quorum to postpone election after attacks on a justice’s staff. Electoral commission declared incumbent president’s victory, despite low turnout. 3 4 Opposition party formed rival legislature. 5
  5. 5. Yemen 5Randy Morton and Emma Tveit U.S. airstrikes target ISIS strongholds in central Yemen 1. 16 OCT: U.S. airstrikes hit two ISIS training camps in Wald Rabi’, al Bayda governorate. 2. 25 OCT: U.S. airstrikes killed nine ISIS militants in al Quraishyah, al Bayda. 3. 29 OCT: AQAP militants detonated a SVBIED targeting UAE-backed troops in al Mahfad, Abyan governorate. 4. 30 OCT: AQAP militants detonated four IEDs targeting UAE-backed troops in Lawder, Abyan. 1 4 3 2
  6. 6. Pakistan 6Colin Neafsey Separatist attacks targeting journalists destabilize Balochistan 1. 26 OCT: Militants threw a grenade at Pak-News Agency in Turbat. 2. 26 OCT: Militants attacked a vehicle carrying newspapers in Awaran. 3. 24 OCT: Distributors refused to deliver newspapers in Quetta due to increased threats. 4. 24 OCT: The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors declared the state of press freedom in Balochistan as “extremely poor and unsatisfactory.” 1 43 2
  7. 7. Libya 7 4 Erin Neale LNA makes gains during stalled UN talks; ISIS exploits seams 1. 30 OCT: Likely Egyptian or LNA warplanes conducted strikes on Derna. The LNA is besieging Derna, which is controlled by an al Qaeda-linked militant coalition. 2. 25 OCT: ISIS Wilayat Barqah attacked an LNA checkpoint near Ajdabiya. ISIS is exploiting a security vacuum between LNA forces the east and rival forces in the west. 3. 19 OCT: Militants disrupted water flow to Tripoli, causing a shortage that further weakens the UN- backed government there. 13 2
  8. 8. Sahel 8 JNIM attacks security positions in central Mali 1 3 2 1. 23 OCT: JNIM militants attacked a Gendarme checkpoint in Dioro, Segou region. 2. 24 OCT: JNIM militants attacked a police station in Ouan, Segou region. 3. 25 OCT: JNIM militants attacked Malian Army forces guarding a French construction company near Soumpi city, Tombouctou region. Margarita Kotti
  9. 9. Maghreb 9 Tunisian security forces thwart two attacks 1. 21 OCT: Militants raided a home for supplies in Sabibah. 2. 24 OCT: Tunisian security forces raided the home of a militant supporter in Sidi Bouzid. 3. 26 OCT: Tunisian security forces arrested seven militants and thwarted a plot in Tabarka and Tunis. 4. 27 OCT: Tunisian security forces arrested five ISIS militants and thwarted a plot targeting tourist buses in Moknine. 1 4 3 2 Bryan Gilday
  10. 10. Acronym List AMISOM: African Union Mission in Somalia AQAP: al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula AQIM: al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb AQIS: al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent BDB: Benghazi Defense Brigades BRSC: Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council CJA: Congress for Justice in Azawad CMA: Coordination for the Movement of the Azawad GATIA: Imghad Tuareg and Allies Self-Defense Group ISIS: Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham JNIM: Jama’a Nusrat al Islam wa al Muslimeen GNA: Libyan Government of National Accord LNA: Libyan National Army MAA: Arab Movement of Azawad MINUSMA: United National Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali MNLA: National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad MSCD: Mujahideen Shura Council in Derna MUJAO: The Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa SNA: Somalia National Army TTP: Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan 10
  11. 11. For more information about AEI’s Critical Threats Project, visit Contact us at or (202) 888-6575. Frederick W. Kagan Director Critical Threats Project Team Katherine Zimmerman Research Manager Caroline Goodson Program Assistant al Qaeda Analysts Emily Estelle Maher Farrukh Iran Analysts Marie Donovan Mike Saidi 11