Threat Update: June 12, 2018
Turkey’s air campaign against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in
northern Iraq may result in additional clashes between the IRGC and
PKK-linked militants along the Iran-Iraqi Kurdistan border. IRGC Ground
Forces clashed with Kurdish militants in three separate engagements from
June 8 - 10. Tehran and Ankara view Kurdish insurgencies as an
immediate security threat and have coordinated militarily in the past to
Al Shabaab demonstrated advanced planning capabilities and
coordination in an attack that killed an American service member in
southern Somalia. African Union forces are unlikely to clear al Shabaab
from southern Somalia before their scheduled withdrawal in 2020. A
premature withdrawal would preserve al Shabaab’s safe haven and allow
the group to return to strategic areas, including coastal cities.
The UAE began an operation to seize al Hudaydah port city from al
Houthi forces. Saudi-led coalition warplanes struck al Houthi positions on
the outskirts of the city after declaring the port and surrounding area a
military zone. Emirati-backed Yemeni forces have not yet reached the
city. An offensive on the port will pressure the al Houthi movement but
will also worsen the humanitarian crisis.
Threat Update: June 12, 2018
Counterterrorism operations may cause ISIS- and al Qaeda-affiliated
groups to consolidate in northern Mali. ISIS in the Greater Sahara
(ISGS) militants are reportedly regrouping in the Gourma area of Timbuktu
region following losses to French-backed Tuareg militias further south. The
relocation brings ISGS into the area of operations of al Qaeda’s Malian
affiliate. The two groups share historical ties and are more likely to
deconflict or collaborate against common enemies than fight each other.
The military ruler of eastern Libya will attempt to extend his influence to
the south and west after completing a military campaign in the northeast,
risking renewed conflict on several fronts. Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National
Army (LNA) is close to culminating its campaign to seize Derna, the last
anti-LNA bastion in the east. Haftar will likely attempt to regain positions in
the southwest and build alliances with armed groups in the northwest after
seizing Derna as he prepares for December 2018 presidential elections.
Threat Update: June 12, 2018
A Pakistani militant group that also attacks coalition forces in Afghanistan
is undermining an Indian ceasefire in disputed Kashmir. Jaish-e-
Mohammed (JeM) is conducting a campaign against Indian security
forces in Kashmir and criticized other militant groups for ceasing attacks
during Ramadan. India halted operations in Kashmir during Ramadan in
order to mitigate rising tensions in the region. JeM may gather more
support and recruits from disaffected Kashmiris by sustaining its
attacks in the area.
Ongoing violence between Muslim pastoralists and predominantly
Christian farmers in south-central Nigeria creates an opportunity for
Salafi-jihadi groups to capitalize on intercommunal and religious
tensions. Boko Haram may seek to expand recruitment efforts within
Fulani herder communities. Boko Haram’s continued suicide attacks in
northern Nigeria, where the Nigerian Army has repeatedly declared
victory, are diminishing popular faith in security forces.
11-12 JUN: The UN Security Council held an emergency
meeting to discuss the imminent offensive. The UN Envoy
to Yemen met with Saudi and Emirati officials to attempt to
prevent an offensive on the port.
Allyson McCarthy and Maher Farrukh
UAE begins operation to seize al Hudaydah
12/13 JUN: The UAE began Operation
Golden Victory to seize al Hudaydah port.
409-12 JUN: Emirati officials set a
deadline for al Houthi forces to
withdraw by June 12 and warned
aid groups to evacuate the city.
24-28 MAY: Emirati-backed
forces advance within 14
miles of al Hudaydah city.
Territory controlled by al Houthi forces
Territory controlled by coalition-backed Yemeni forces
Al Shabaab counters U.S.-Somali offensive in
1. 30 MAY: U.S. AFRICOM struck al
Shabaab militants 30 miles southwest
2. 02 JUN: U.S. AFRICOM struck al
Shabaab militants near Boosaaso,
3. 06 JUN: Al Shabaab claimed to
attack a U.S. vehicle near Sanguni,
Lower Jubba region.
4. 07 JUN (est.): U.S.-backed Somali
forces raided al Shabaab positions
near Jamaame, Lower Jubba region.
5. 08 JUN: Al Shabaab fired mortars
at a U.S.-Somali position near
Sanguni, killing one American service
member and wounding four others.
6. 09 JUN: Al Shabaab detonated a
suicide vehicle-borne IED in an
attempt to breach the Somali base at
The LNA After Derna: Possible Courses of
AJDABIYA: ISIS has attacked the LNA
several times in the oil crescent region in
recent months. The LNA may prioritize
securing its economic interests.
DERNA: The LNA is close
to seizing the city.
BENGHAZI: The LNA controls Benghazi
but faces simmering unrest and a latent
Salafi-jihadi threat in the city.
SEBHA: The LNA lost positions in the
southwestern Fezzan region in early
2018 and may seek to re-establish its
influence over local actors there.
TRIPOLI: LNA commander Haftar needs to
gain support in western Libya before planned
elections in 2018. He will build alliances with
local factions and may attempt to mobilize
armed groups to challenge the LNA’s rivals.
Human network and potential collaboration
raise potential for ISGS-JNIM merger
8Mackenzie Robinson and Maher Farrukh
Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) undermines
ceasefire in Kashmir
1. JeM militants entered Kashmir
2. JeM militants attack Indian
security forces twice in Srinagar.
3. Likely JeM militants attacked
a local legislator’s home in Tral.
4. Likely JeM militants attacked
Indian security forces in
5. JeM militants attacked Indian
security forces in Khanabal area.
6. JeM militants detonated an
IED targeting Indian Army troops
in Sopore town.
10. The Indian Army began an
operation to clear militants from
11. JeM militants attacked
Indian security forces in Janglat
12. Likely JeM militants
attacked Indian security forces
in Pulwama town.
7. Likely JeM militants attacked Indian security forces Tahab and Batapora villages.
8. JeM militants detonated an IED targeting Indian army troops in Harwan area.
9. Likely JeM militants attacked an Indian army base in Hajjan town.
Herder-farmer violence creates potential
recruitment opportunity for Boko Haram
1. 06 JUN: Fulani
herdsmen killed nine
villagers in Mbagwen
Ward, Benue State.
2. 09 JUN: Nigerian
security forces foiled a
Boko Haram suicide
bombing in Maiduguri,
3. 11 JUN: Boko
Haram conducted a
suicide bombing near
Maiduguri, Borno State,
killing three people.
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