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2017 11-28 CTP Update and Assessment

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CTP’s Threat Update series is a weekly update and assessment of the al Qaeda network and its affiliates in Yemen, the Horn of Africa, and the Maghreb and Sahel.

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2017 11-28 CTP Update and Assessment

  1. 1. 1 Threat Update: November 28, 2017 For a closer look at Libya this week, view the full Threat Update. The destabilization of the Kenyan state due to the election crisis creates an opportunity for al Shabaab to expand. Incumbent Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was inaugurated after a Supreme Court ruling upheld the election results as opposition groups protested. Kenya continues to see escalating violence between rival ethnic groups. Kenya Yemen A Gulf state competition for influence across southern Yemen is destabilizing. An Emirati-backed council seeks to establish local administrations across the south, potentially undermining already-present administrations. The UAE, Oman, and Saudi Arabia each have sought to increase influence in Yemen’s easternmost governorate of al Mahrah. Libya Armed groups are seizing the opportunity to control the outcome of the Libyan civil war as the UN-led peace process stagnates. Talks broke down after a western Libyan legislature rejected proposed amendments to a power-sharing agreement, citing bias toward a rival eastern parliament. The deadlock weakens political actors on both sides and may lead to military escalation in Libya’s capital.
  2. 2. 2 Threat Update: November 28, 2017 Mali The Malian government postponed local elections from December 2017 to April 2018 due to security concerns, potentially undermining the tenuous ceasefire in northern Mali. AQIM’s affiliate in Mali has sustained attacks in the region. The elections are a prerequisite for implementing terms of the 2015 Bamako Agreement. Anti-government groups in northern Mali had pushed for the delay. Tunisia The implementation of austere economic reforms may cause civil unrest in Tunisia. Tunisia’s prime minister announced a plan to increase taxes and freeze public-sector hiring. Taxes and high unemployment are a primary driver of anti-government demonstrations and Salafi-jihadi recruitment in Tunisia. Increased unrest would strain Tunisian security forces and could destabilize the country’s young democracy. Pakistan Protests across Pakistan led by Tehrik-e-Labaik, a conservative Islamist party, may signal the growing popularity of conservative religious fringe parties in the 2018 general elections. The Pakistani government’s botched attempt to disband the protesters with enabled the religious groups leading the protests to consolidate public support.
  3. 3. Horn of Africa 3Matthew Cassidy Election crisis destabilizing Kenyan state The opposition party boycotted the re-run election, sparking three days of police and ethnic violence. 1 Police and rival clans killed 31 opposition supporters before the Supreme Court’s ruling on the re-run election. 2 The opposition held a memorial rally for victims of police and ethnic violence during President Kenyatta’s inauguration. 3
  4. 4. Libya 4Erin Neale UN process deadlock sets stage for armed conflict 12 NOV: The pro-Haftar eastern administration threatened to arrest Libyan officials who have contact with the UN-backed Government of National Accord. 2 21 OCT: The HoR and HSC left the second round of talks without agreement on the structure of the government and process for selecting officials. 23 NOV: The HSC rejected the LPA amendments, citing a pro-HoR bias. 1 3
  5. 5. Yemen 5Emma Tveit and Randy Morton Gulf state competition for influence destabilizing in southern Yemen 1. 14 OCT: Hadi government forces attacked Emirati- backed forces for flying the South Yemen flag. 2. 21 OCT: The Emirati- backed Transitional Political Council of the South (STC) inaugurated local leadership in Aden. 3. 24 OCT: The STC inaugurated leadership in al Mahrah. 4. 13 NOV: Saudi-led coalition forces deployed to al Mahrah. 5. 16 NOV: The STC inaugurated leadership in al Dhaleh and Lahij. 6. 18 NOV: The STC inaugurated leadership in Abyan. 1 6 5 43 2
  6. 6. Pakistan 6Colin Neafsey Government response to protests increases support for Tehrik-e-Labaik 3 08 NOV: Thousands staged a sit-in in Islamabad to protest an amendment to the 2017 Election Bill, blocking traffic and disrupting public services. 1 17 NOV: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) ordered the government to evict protesters within 24 hours “by any means necessary.” 25 NOV: 8,500 troops deployed to end protests. Clashes caused hundreds of injuries and seven deaths. Outrage over this response increased support for protesters across Pakistan and forced the government to cancel the security operation. 20 NOV: The IHC extended the eviction deadline to 23 NOV, but condemned Interior Minister Iqbal’s inaction. 3 26 NOV: The Pakistani military brokered an agreement between the interior minister and Tehrik-e- Labaik leadership, including the resignation of Law Minister Hamid and several other government concessions. 5 2 4
  7. 7. Maghreb 7 Tunisians protest economic policies 1. 22 NOV: Protesters criticized the government’s failure to complete development projects in Sejnane, Tunisia. 2. 22 NOV: Tunisians protested the lack of wage increases in Jendouba, Tunisia. 3. 27 NOV: Tunisian citizens demonstrated against the hiring freeze on teachers in Gafsa, Tunisia. Bryan Gilday 1 3 2
  8. 8. Sahel 8 Tuareg ex-separatist group gains leverage in northern Mali Margarita Kotti 19 OCT: Tuareg ex-separatist group Coordination for the Movement of the Azawad (CMA) and pro-government militia Platforme signed a ceasefire agreement in Bamako. 1 07 NOV: The CMA and Congress for Justice in Azawad (CJA) called for postponement of elections. 2 27 NOV: The Malian government postponed elections from December 2017 to April 2018. 3
  9. 9. 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 9
  10. 10. For more information about AEI’s Critical Threats Project, visit www.criticalthreats.org. Contact us at criticalthreats@aei.org 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 10

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