Threat Update: April 10, 2018
Israeli forces killed at least four Iranians during an airstrike against pro-
Syrian regime forces in southwestern Syria on April 8. The airstrike
follows a Syrian regime chemical weapons attack on an opposition
stronghold near Damascus. Iran will likely push back militarily against
Israel, but will prioritize assisting Russia and other pro-Syrian regime
forces in deterring and responding to any U.S. airstrikes in Syria in
retaliation for the chemical weapons attack.
Tensions between the executive and legislative branches are destabilizing
the Somali Federal Government. Lower House Speaker Mohamed Osman
Jawari resigned on April 9 after a no-confidence motion against him sparked
a confrontation between security forces loyal to Jawari and President
Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo on April 4. The internal power struggle could
empower al Shabaab, which recently increased operations in the capital.
Maghreb Morocco escalated its threat to conduct a military intervention in Western
Sahara, risking a regional conflict that may create a safe haven for
Salafi-jihadi groups in combat zones. Morocco seeks to control larger
areas of the contested territory as the vote on the extension of the UN
peacekeeping mission’s mandate approaches. Morocco also seeks direct
negotiations with Algeria, which backs the Sahrawi Polisario Front.
Threat Update: April 10, 2018
The al Houthi movement increased attacks against Saudi economic
interests possibly to pressure the Saudi-led coalition to participate in
negotiations. Al Houthi forces fired three ballistic missiles at Saudi
ARAMCO facilities and attacked a Saudi oil tanker with a surface-to-ship
missile since March 22. Al Houthi forces last targeted Saudi ARAMCO
facilities in April 2017. A hardline coalition response may undermine
attempts by the UN Special Envoy to revitalize peace talks.
Sahel Counterterrorism operations in the Malian-Nigerien border region are
causing popular grievances that Salafi-jihadi groups will exploit for
recruitment. Pro-Malian government Tuareg militias fighting ISIS in the
Greater Sahara (ISGS) have committed human rights abuses against
Fulani populations. The Tuareg militias have claimed to kill or capture
more than double ISGS’s estimated force strength since February,
signaling the broad targeting of Fulani communities.
The largest wave of Pashtun protests in years is pressuring the
Pakistani government and military for civil rights reforms. Pakistani
officials have not yet enacted reforms to meet core Pashtun demands
since the protests began in January 2018. Salafi-jihadi groups that
operate in Pashtun-majority areas in Pakistan will attempt to leverage
widespread dissatisfaction to recruit Pashtuns.
Executive-legislative crisis weakens the
Somali Federal Government
09 APR: Speaker Jawari resigned after
security forces loyal to him engaged in a
standoff with forces loyal to President Mohamed
Abdullahi Farmajo at parliament.
12 MAR: The Somali Parliament banned an
Emirati port operator in an attempt to block a deal
between the UAE, Ethiopia, and semi-autonomous
Somaliland. The measure increased Parliament’s
power by requiring legislative approval of all
foreign investment contracts.
16 MAR: Somali security forces deployed to the
Lower House in response to a no-confidence vote
against Speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari. Speaker
Jawari accused Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire of
deploying the forces.
Morocco threatens armed intervention in
1. 01 APR: Morocco denounced alleged military
movements by the Polisario Front in Bir Lehlou,
Tifariti, and Al Mahbes.
2. 03 APR: The UN called for the Polisario
Front and Morocco to avoid actions that may
threaten the ceasefire in Guerguerat.
3. 08 APR: Morocco’s chief of army staff
ordered reinforcements to move toward the
southeast and join the bases in Zag.
4. 09 APR: Moroccan authorities organized a
demonstration in Laayoune in support of the
Kingdom’s territorial integrity.
Single Missile Attack
Multiple Missile Attack
09 APR: The President of the al
Houthi Supreme Political Council
Saleh al Samad announced that al
Houthi forces will launch daily ballistic
missile attacks against Saudi Arabia.
Tomás Padgett Perez
Al Houthi movement escalates attacks against
Saudi economic interests
04 APR: Al Houthi forces targeted
Saudi ARAMCO facilities with a
ballistic missile for the third time in
a two-week period.
03 APR: Al Houthi forces
attacked a Saudi oil tanker with
a surface-to-ship missile off the
coast of al Hudaydah port.
Al Houthi attacks on
Saudi oil interests.
Al Hudaydah Port
Tuareg militias attack ISGS positions along the
30 MAR-01 APR: The Fulani people accused the GATIA-MSA coalition of
executing innocent Fulanis and stealing property in Gao region, Mali and
Tillaberi region, Niger.
01 APR: GATIA-MSA forces killed 30 ISGS militants in the deadliest clash in
the two-month campaign near Akabar, Mali.
09 APR: ISGS militants ambushed GATIA-MSA forces near Akabar, Mali,
indicating that the group retains the ability to conduct offensive operations.
Tillaberi region, Niger
Gao region, Mali
Pakistani Pashtun protests pressure
government and military
13 JAN: Karachi police claimed
to kill four ISIS-affiliated militants
attempting to attack the Karachi
airport, but evidence indicates the
four men were civilians.
18 JAN: Pashtun activists
began protests calling for an
end to political repression and
harassment by security forces,
among other grievances.
08 APR: Pashtun leaders
demonstrations in response
to the government’s failure to
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 email@example.com or (202) 888-6575.
Frederick W. Kagan
Critical Threats Project Team
al Qaeda Analysts