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2018 02-27 CTP Update and Assessment

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2018 02-27 CTP Update and Assessment

  1. 1. 1 Threat Update: February 27, 2018 Iran Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seeks to capitalize on the recent unrest in order to increase his political clout. Ahmadinejad’s February 19 letter to the Supreme Leader called for “free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections” and also called for the resignation of Judiciary head and regime hardliner Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani. Ahmadinejad’s letter aims to exploit the recent anti-regime protests, worker strikes, and anti-establishment demonstrations throughout Iran to boost his political position. Russia is representing Iran’s interests in Yemen in the UN Security Council. Russia vetoed a UK-drafted UN Security Council resolution calling for increased UN sanctions on Iran. Iran is playing a larger role in renewed Yemen political negotiations. Continued Iranian-Russo engagement in Yemen may supplant U.S. influence in the region. Yemen Al Shabaab responded to attacks on its strongholds with a double bombing targeting the presidential palace and intelligence headquarters in Mogadishu. Al Shabaab’s attacks on the capital could draw security forces away from the ongoing campaign to disrupt the group in its safe havens. Somalia
  2. 2. 2 Threat Update: February 27, 2018 Pro-Malian government forces destroyed two ISIS in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) camps in the tri-border area between Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. The French-backed operations weakened ISGS in Mali but may push militants into Niger and Burkina Faso, risking further destabilization of the Sahel region. Mali Nigeria The kidnapping of 110 girls from a boarding school in northeastern Nigeria may strengthen the ISIS-linked faction of Boko Haram. The Dapchi kidnapping will cause popular backlash against both the Boko Haram faction led by Abubakr Shekau and the Nigerian government. The ISIS-linked faction, led by U.S.-designated Abu Musab al Barnawi, may gain popular support because it eschews attacks on civilians. Libya Pakistan Would-be strongman Khalifa Haftar faces challenges on multiple fronts. His Libyan National Army (LNA) failed to ally with a powerful militia in southwestern Libya amid escalating tribal conflict. The LNA is also contending with unrest in Benghazi, an impending campaign to seize Derna city, and renewed ISIS attacks in central Libya. ISIS is attempting to recruit Pakistani fighters amid escalating tensions between Pakistan and India in the disputed Kashmir region. ISIS in Kashmir killed an Indian police officer, its second attack since its formation, and promoted the attack to attract recruits. ISIS in Kashmir will conduct infrequent attacks as it seeks to build a support base.
  3. 3. Yemen 3Tomás Padgett Perez Russia’s UNSC veto shows Iranian and Russian interests converging in Yemen 22 FEB: Iran’s UN Ambassador expressed Iran’s willingness to cooperate with incoming UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths. 17 FEB: The UK drafted a French- and U.S.-backed UN Security Council resolution calling for increased UN action against Iranian activities in Yemen. 26 FEB: Russia vetoed the UK- drafted UN Security Council resolution that would have sanctioned Iran. 2 1 3
  4. 4. Horn of Africa 4Peter Cialone Al Shabaab counterattacks against U.S.-backed operations 1 3 4 5 6 1. 12 FEB: U.S.-backed SNA and AMISOM forces recaptured Awdheegle, Mubarak, and Darusalaam in Lower Shabelle region. 2. 19 FEB: U.S. AFRICOM conducted an airstrike targeting al Shabaab near Jilib in Middle Jubba region. 3. 21 FEB: U.S. AFRICOM conducted an airstrike targeting al Shabaab near Jamaame in Lower Jubba region. 4. 23 FEB: Al Shabaab conducted a double SVBIED attack near Villa Somalia and the National Intelligence and Security Agency headquarters in Mogadishu, killing 45 people. 2 5. 25 FEB: SNA and AMISOM forces conducted a security operation in Heliwa District. 6. 26 FEB: U.S. AFRICOM conducted an airstrike targeting al Shabaab near Jilib in Middle Jubba region. Jilib Jamaame Mogadishu Awdheegle Mubarak Darusalaam
  5. 5. Nigeria 5Wiam Aimade Nigerian government delays response to Dapchi kidnapping 26 FEB: The Nigerian Army confirmed that it withdrew from Dapchi shortly before the kidnapping. The forces moved to Kanama to secure the Nigerian-Nigerien border. 22 FEB: Outraged residents attacked the Yobe State Governor’s convoy during his visit to Dapchi. 2 3 21 FEB: Local, military, and pro- government media spread rumors that the Nigerian Army rescued 76 girls and recovered two bodies. 1
  6. 6. Sahel 6Bryan Gilday French-backed Malian forces clear ISGS camps in the tri-border area 1. 04 OCT 17: ISGS militants ambushed a U.S.-Nigerien patrol near Tongo Tongo, Niger. 2. 14 FEB: French airstrikes killed three JNIM leaders who had negotiated with ISGS in Mali near Tinzouatine, Algeria. 3. 22 FEB: GATIA-MSA forces with French air support destroyed an ISGS camp in Ikadagotane, Mali. GATIA-MSA is a coalition of Tuareg militias that support the Malian government. 4. 25-26 FEB: GATIA-MSA forces destroyed an ISGS camp near Banibango, Mali.* *Conflicting sources claim that the attack occurred in Banibangou, Niger. CTP assesses that the Mali location is more likely. ALGERIATinzouatine Ikadagotane Banibango Tongo Tongo
  7. 7. Libya 7Theresa Fellner & Emily Estelle LNA faces challenges on multiple fronts 23-25 FEB: The Sixth Brigade militia rejected an agreement with the LNA, sparking conflict in Sebha. 21 FEB: ISIS conducted a SVBIED attack targeting a LNA checkpoint in Waddan, Jufra district before announcing a renewed war on the LNA. 10 FEB: ISIS conducted a SVBIED attack targeting a LNA checkpoint east of Sirte city. 09 FEB, 23 JAN: Militants detonated IEDs at mosques in Benghazi. 04 FEB: The LNA mobilized for an offensive on Derna city. 1 5 4 3 2
  8. 8. Pakistan 8Matthew Cassidy ISIS attempts to recruit Pakistani fighters 28 SEP: Pro-ISIS media urged Kashmiri militants to claim responsibility for attacks even if they played no role. 1 18 NOV: ISIS in Kashmir claimed its first attack in Kashmir. Local media reported the involvement of al Qaeda-linked Ansar Ghazwatul Hind, which formed three months prior to ISIS in Kashmir. 26 FEB: ISIS in Kashmir claimed to kill an Indian police officer in Srinagar. The attack occurred as tensions escalated between India and Pakistan along the Line of Control. 2 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: 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 Manager 10 al Qaeda Analysts Emily Estelle Maher Farrukh Iran Analysts Marie Donovan Mike Saidi Digital Content Associate Katie Donnelly

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