Threat Update: January 23, 2018
Regime failure to redress grievances may lead to the renewal of
protests. The Supreme Leader reportedly told the security services to
“exit businesses not related to their work.” Previous efforts at privatization
exacerbated corruption without helping the economy, and clerics are
calling for increased religious spending—another protest grievance.
Regime unwillingness and inability to address demonstrator’s
complaints may lead to renewed anti-regime protests.
For a closer look at Iran this week, view the full Threat Update.
A governing council in southern Yemen threatened to overthrow the
internationally recognized Hadi government in the south if President
Hadi does not replace his government in one week. Southern Yemeni
secession could disrupt U.S. counterterrorism operations in southern
and eastern Yemen and may lead to conflict in areas of Yemen that were
previously isolated from the civil war.
U.S.-backed Somali forces are dislodging al Shabaab from its bases
outside of Mogadishu and Kismayo in an attempt to prevent attacks
on the port cities. Al Shabaab will withdraw from its support zones in the
short term but will likely return due to the weakness of Somali
forces tasked with holding the terrain.
Threat Update: January 23, 2018
Libya Two militias affiliated with the internationally-recognized Government of
National Accord (GNA) clashed in Tripoli, signaling the GNA’s lack of
control over the forces that control much of the capital. High
tensions between rival militias increase the likelihood of political
violence in Tripoli ahead of UN-supported elections in 2018.
Security forces killed two senior AQIM leaders sent to revive the
group’s Tunisian affiliate, the Uqba Ibn Nafa’a Brigade. Tunisian security
forces have attrited Uqba Ibn Nafa’a’s leadership in the past year, limiting
the group’s ability to conduct offensive operations.
ISIS Wilayat West Africa exploited a communications gap between
coalition forces to attack a Nigerien military base while disguised as a
Nigerian army convoy. The group may be attempting to regain a base of
operations near Lake Chad after Nigerian and Nigerien forces deployed
to the area in July 2017.
Transitional Political Council of the South
(STC) threatens secession
11 MAY 2017: Former Aden
Governor Aydarus al Zubaidi
established the STC.
14 OCT 2017: The STC formed a
parliament to represent southern
and eastern Yemen.
20 JAN: The STC threatened to
secede if President Hadi does
not fire his government and put
its members on trial for crimes
against the south in one week.
4. Horn of
U.S.-backed forces expel al Shabaab from
support zones outside major port cities
1. 17 JAN: A U.S.
airstrike targeted al
2. 18 JAN: Somali
special forces rescued
child soldiers from an
al Shabaab camp.
3. 18 JAN: A U.S.
airstrike targeted an al
4. 18 JAN: Somali
captured an al
5. 19-20 JAN:
Jubbaland State and
Somali special forces
raided four al
Lower Jubba region
5Tomas Padgett Perez
Internecine clashes signal weakness of UN-
backed GNA in Tripoli
15 JAN: The GNA-recognized
Brigade 33 militia attacked Mitiga
airport in an attempt to free prisoners
held by another GNA-affiliated force.
The attack damaged aircraft and
forced Tripoli’s only functioning
airport to close.
1 15 JAN: GNA Prime
Minister Fayez al Serraj
22 JAN: Brigade 33 refused
to acknowledge Serraj’s
order to disband.
ISIS Wilayat West Africa attacked a Nigerien
military post on January 17, 2018
1. An ISIS Wilayat West Africa
convoy, disguised as Nigerian
military vehicles, passed
through Abadam, Nigeria.
2. The convoy crossed the
border near Dagaya, Niger.
3. The militants attacked a
Nigerien military base in
Tunisian security forces targeted AQIM
leadership in Kasserine, western Tunisia
09 AUG 17: Tunisian forces
killed Uqba Ibn Nafa’a
commander Mourad Chaieb
during a raid in Kasserine.
12 DEC 17: The Uqba Ibn
Nafa’a Brigade claimed an
IED attack on a Tunisian
military vehicle in
20 JAN 18: Tunisian forces
killed an AQIM leader and
an Uqba Ibn Nafa’a
commander during an
ambush in Kasserine.
8. 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
MSCD: Mujahideen Shura Council in Derna
MUJAO: Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa
SNA: Somalia National Army
TTP: Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan
9. For more information about AEI’s Critical Threats Project, visit www.criticalthreats.org.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 888-6575.
Frederick W. Kagan
Critical Threats Project Team
al Qaeda Analysts