Threat Update: April 3, 2018
Ongoing protests in southwestern Khuzestan province over the regime’s
discrimination and marginalization of Iran’s Arab communities may pose a
threat to regime security if they continue to spread. Demonstrations
began in Ahvaz on March 29 and later spread to surrounding towns and
cities. Social media reporting indicates hundreds participated in the
protests. Security forces deployed to disperse protesters quickly.
Al Shabaab used advanced tactical capabilities to exploit the security
vacuum created by a political standoff in the Somali parliament. Al
Shabaab conducted five coordinated operations, including complex
explosive attacks, outside of Mogadishu. The political crisis has drawn
security forces into Mogadishu and will likely stall counter-al Shabaab
operations outside of the capital, further limiting the federal government’s
reach into southern and central Somalia.
Al Qaeda leader Hamza Bin Laden introduced a new argument for the
overthrow of the Saudi ruling family. Hamza argued that the Saudi
regime’s inability to defend Islam’s holiest sites disqualifies it from ruling
the peninsula. He also provided examples accusing the House of al Saud
of neglecting Islam. Hamza has increased his media presence since 2017
as he attempts to unite the Salafi-jihadi movement under al Qaeda and
retake his father's mantle.
Threat Update: April 3, 2018
The al Houthi movement is engaging with UN representatives after
demonstrating its ballistic missile capabilities and state-building capacity.
Al Houthi leadership restarted meetings with the new UN Special
Envoy to Yemen after refusing to negotiate with the former envoy. The al
Houthi movement announced efforts to establish state institutions to
bolster its legitimacy. The al Houthi movement will continue ballistic
missile attacks on Saudi Arabia to strengthen its negotiating position.
Salafi-jihadi groups are undermining security in central and northern
Mali as political stakeholders seek to make deals in the lead-up to
presidential elections. Likely al Qaeda-linked militants attacked a hotel
popular with foreign aid workers and continued a campaign of attacks on
security targets. ISIS-linked militants resumed offensive operations in the
Malian-Nigerien border region, signaling the retention of capabilities
despite recent counterterrorism efforts in the area.
Libya An ISIS attack campaign may disrupt oil exports from northeastern
Libya. ISIS Wilayat Barqah conducted three attacks targeting Libyan
National Army (LNA) checkpoints near key oil infrastructure in the past six
months. ISIS seeks to disrupt Libya’s economic recovery and prevent the
formation of a functioning state.
Hamza bin Laden presents new argument to
overthrow the Saudi regime
13 AUG 2015: Al Qaeda
emir Ayman al Zawahiri
introduced Hamza bin
Laden for the first time.
16 AUG 2016: Hamza began a
series calling on the people of the
Arabian Peninsula to rise up against
the House of al Saud.
31 MAR 2018: Hamza presented
a new argument for overthrowing
the House of al Saud. He
accused Saudi leaders of
betraying Islam and failing to
defend Islam’s holiest sites.
2015 2016 2017 2018
Hamza releasing more
statements per year
Al Shabaab exploits security vacuum amid
Somali political crisis
1. 25-26 MAR: Al Shabaab IED
attacks targeted Somali security
forces in Mogadishu.
2. 28 MAR: An al Shabaab car bomb
killed an aid worker in Mogadishu.
3. 01 APR: An al Shabaab double-
SVBIED targeted an AMISOM base
in Bulo Marer, Lower Shabelle.
4. 01 APR: An al Shabaab SVBIED
targeted an AMISOM military outpost
5. 01 APR: Al Shabaab militants
attacked SNA and AMISOM forces in
Qoryoley and Mashallay.
6. 01 APR: Al Shabaab militants fired
mortars targeting AMISOM and SNA
forces in Barawe.
14-16 MAR: Somali security forces deployed to the
parliament building in response to a standoff
between Lower House Speaker Mohamed Osman
Jawari and Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire.
Al Qaeda and ISIS threaten stability in central
and northern Mali
1. 22 MAR: JNIM militants shelled
the MINUSMA base in Kidal, Mali
during the Malian prime minister’s
visit to the region.
2. 22 MAR: Representatives of
the Malian government and
Tuareg factions signed an
agreement to implement in the
2015 Algiers Accords in Bamako,
3. 28 MAR: Suspected JNIM
militants attacked the Hotel la
Falaise near Bandiagara, Mali.
4. 29 MAR: Suspected ISGS
militants ambushed a GATIA
patrol near Indelimane, Mali.
5. 01 APR: ISGS militants clashed
with the GATIA-MSA coalition and
French forces near Akabar, Mali
and Banibangou, Niger.
ISIS Wilayat Barqah seeks to weaken LNA
control in Ajdabiya city
09 MAR 2018: SVBIED attack
30 MAR 2018: SVBIED attack
25 OCT 2017: Raid
Refinery & Port
28 MAR: The new UN envoy met
with al Houthi movement leader
Abdel Malik al Houthi in Sana’a to
discuss peace talks. Al Houthi
called for the end of the partial
blockade and air campaign.
Tomás Padgett Perez
Al Houthi movement attempts to strengthen
26 MAR: Al Houthi Supreme
Political Council President Saleh al
Samad announced a state-building
project aimed at creating state
institutions governed by national law
in al Houthi-controlled territory.
25 MAR: The al Houthi
movement launched seven
ballistic missiles targeting
four Saudi cities on the third
anniversary of the Saudi-led
air campaign in Yemen.
1 2 3
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
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