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2018 06-26 CTP Update and Assessment

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CTP's Threat Update series is a weekly update and assessment of Iran and the al Qaeda network and its affiliates in Yemen, the Horn of Africa, and the Maghreb and Sahel

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2018 06-26 CTP Update and Assessment

  1. 1. 1 Threat Update: June 26, 2018 Yemen The al Houthi movement will not withdraw from al Hudaydah port city and other key positions on the Red Sea coast under current conditions. The UN special envoy is engaged in intensive political negotiations, but will be unlikely to deliver an acceptable result to all parties involved. The UAE and coalition-backed Yemeni forces are prepared for an assault on the port city itself should the al Houthis refuse to withdraw. Iran Protests in Iran will continue and may expand because the Iranian regime is unable to address underlying economic problems. Thousands of Iranians in various cities protested high prices and instability in the currency market on June 25 and 26. The Iranian rial has devalued by more than 200 percent since October 2017 without a comparable increase in the minimum wage. The intensification of mass violence against Fulani civilians in Mali creates recruitment opportunities for Salafi-jihadi groups. Groups like ISGS or JNIM will offer protection to Fulani communities targeted by the Malian Army and tribal militias to further ties to these communities. Salafi- jihadi groups may leverage the vulnerability of Fulani populations to take control of communities and expand their areas of operations. Sahel
  2. 2. 2 ISIS’s West Africa Province plans to expand operations outside the Lake Chad Basin. The group maintains the goal of striking Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. It may also be planning to attack commercial airliners, based on unverified rumors. Both attacks are unlikely but would signal a major change in the group’s capabilities and ambitions. Threat Update: June 26, 2018 Nigeria Ethiopia A grenade attack on a rally for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was likely an assassination attempt, indicating domestic opposition to Ahmed’s reform program. Backlash from within Ethiopia’s ruling coalition or its security forces could destabilize the country and re-ignite civil unrest that has abated since Ahmed’s appointment. An eastern Libyan militia coalition is attempting to take control of oil revenues and advance westward, setting conditions for renewed civil war between eastern and western factions that will allow ISIS and al Qaeda- linked groups to regain strength in the country. The Libyan National Army announced its intent to hand over recently recaptured oil ports to eastern authorities instead of the internationally recognized oil authority in Tripoli. Libya
  3. 3. 3 Threat Update: June 26, 2018 South Asia ISIS is attempting to leverage anti-Indian sentiments in Kashmir to garner support and expand its presence in the region. Hundreds to thousands of Kashmiris celebrated a local ISIS leader after Indian security forces killed him on June 22. The large turnout for his funeral reflects rising opposition to the India state in Kashmir rather than support for ISIS’s ideology or objectives in the region, however. Al Qaeda Network The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) may increase operations to rebuild its havens in North and South Waziristan under the group’s new leadership. The TTP Central Shura appointed Mufti Noor Wali as emir and Mufti Hazrat as his deputy. Both are members of the powerful Mehsud faction, which draws support and recruits from North and South Waziristan. Pakistani counter-militancy operations largely pushed the TTP out of North and South Waziristan from 2014 through 2017.
  4. 4. Yemen 4Allyson McCarthy Yemen factions harden their positions on Hudaydah port offensive 16-17 JUN: Al Houthi officials indicated willingness to allow the UN to administer al Hudaydah port after meeting with the UN envoy. 1 21 JUN: The UN envoy announced that the UN is prioritizing avoiding military conflict in al Hudaydah over advancing negotiations to resolve the civil war. 2 24 JUN: Al Houthi forces fired two ballistic missiles at Riyadh. Saudi air defenses intercepted them. An al Houthi spokesperson threatened to fire more missiles into Saudi Arabia in response to the offensive on al Hudaydah. 3 25 JUN: Hadi government Foreign Minister Khaled al Yamani said that his government would only accept the UN proposal if the al Houthis withdraw from the Red Sea coast. 4 present
  5. 5. Sahel 5 Growing ethnic-based violence may help Salafi- jihadi groups gain support among Fulani Reilly Andreasen BURKINA FASO MALI 1. 21 FEB: Malian Army troops killed seven Fulani civilians in Nampala. 2. 09 MAR: Dozo tribesmen burned a Fulani village in Dioungani. 3. 11 MAR: Dozo tribesmen killed 14 Fulani civilians in Tenenkou. 4. 25 MAR: Malian Army troops killed six Fulani civilians in Dogo. 5. 12 JUN: Malian Army troops killed 25 Fulani civilians in Kobaka and Nanta. 6. 16 JUN: Dozo tribesmen killed two Fulani in Mopti region. 7. 23 JUN: Dozo tribesmen killed 32 Fulani civilians in Koumaga. 1 3 2 4 65 7
  6. 6. Libya 6 LNA operations enter area of influence of rival Misratan forces Caitlin McMahon 21 JUN: 1. LNA forces recaptured Ras Lanuf residential areas. 2. LNA forces advanced westward into Sirte district. 22 JUN: 3. LNA forces claimed control of Ras Lanuf. Egypt and the UAE likely provided air support. 4. The PFG-BDB coalition began retreating westward. LNA-aligned warplanes struck a militia convoy between Sirte city and Misrata. 23 JUN: 5. LNA forces conducted airstrikes south of Misrata. LNA forces continued to advanced westward toward Sirte district. Ben Jawad Ras Lanuf Harawa 1,3,8 2 4 5 6,7 Nawfaliya Sadada Bani Walid Derna 24 JUN: 6. LNA forces seized Mughar district in Derna. 25 JUN: 7. LNA forces advanced into the Old City of Derna and claimed to seize the Jubaila area. 8. The National Oil Corporation announced that the LNA controls Ras Lanuf port. Key LNA strike LNA advance PFG-BDB movement Misrata
  7. 7. Horn of Africa 7Isabelle Astier-Ibrahim Ethiopia prime minister pursues aggressive reform agenda 22 05 JUN: Prime Minister Ahmed announced that Ethiopia would withdraw from the disputed border in Badme to implement the peace accords that ended a border war with Eritrea in 2000. 05 JUN: Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed lifted Ethiopia’s state of emergency two months early. The defense minister announced a state of emergency on February 16 following the resignation of the previous prime minister. 23 JUN: An unknown attacker detonated a grenade at a pro-Abiy Ahmed rally in Meskel Square, Addis Ababa. The grenade killed two people and injured 156 others. present 3 2 1
  8. 8. 8Jake Barnett ISIS West Africa Province seeks to expand operations throughout Nigeria Nigeria 1. 28 APR: Nigerian security forces arrested an ISWA militant in Muda Lawal Market, Bauchi. 2. 05 MAY: Nigerian security forces arrested two ISWA commanders near Abuja in Gwagwalada, Federal Capital Territory. 3. 19 JUN: ISWA militants killed nine Nigerian soldiers in an attack on an army base in Gaijram, Borno State. 4. 16 JUN: Nigerian police increased security at Lagos airport in response to a rumored ISWA plot. 1 2 3 4 ISWA kinetic engagement Arrest of ISWA members Rumored ISWA plot
  9. 9. Al Qaeda Network 9Maher Farrukh Mehsud faction regains control of TTP 07 NOV 2013: The TTP selected Mullah Fazlullah as the new emir of the TTP. Fazlullah was not from the powerful Mehsud faction. 1 23 JUN 2018: The TTP Central Shura appointed Noor Wali as emir and Mufti Hazrat as his deputy. Both are from the Mehsud faction. 413 JUN 2018: A U.S. airstrike killed TTP emir Fazlullah in Kunar province, eastern Afghanistan. 3 02 FEB 2017: Fazlullah appointed a leader from the Mehsud faction as his deputy to bring the faction back into the TTP. 2 present
  10. 10. 10Mackenzie Robinson ISIS attempts to leverage opposition to the Indian state for support in Kashmir South Asia 15 APR: ISIS in Kashmir criticized Hizbul Mujahideen for prioritizing nationalistic goals over establishing an Islamic state. 22 JUN: Indian security forces killed the ISIS in Kashmir chief. Hundreds to thousands of supporters attended his funeral. 12 MAR: Thousands of Kashmiris attended the funeral for ISIS’s leader in Kashmir. Multiple militant groups claimed him as a member. 1 2 3 present
  11. 11. 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 ISGS: ISIS in the Greater Sahara ISIS: Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham ISWA: ISIS West Africa Province 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 11
  12. 12. 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 12 al Qaeda Analysts Emily Estelle Maher Farrukh Jake Barnett Iran Analysts Mike Saidi Nicholas Carl Digital Content Associate Katie Donnelly

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