Situation Update

Recent Publications

  • Al Qaeda never stopped planning attacks against the US even when it was prioritizing the local fights and working within local dynamics. The group seeks to lead a global insurgency, rooted in these local fights, that it will take to the West.
  • Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia, al Shabaab, is occupying areas vacated by withdrawing Ethiopian forces and regaining its strength in south-central Somalia.
  • Escalating competition among Libyan factions for control of state institutions and resources will diminish the U.S. counterterrorism partner’s ability and will to maintain its commitment to fight against ISIS.
  • Iran almost certainly played a role in the missile attacks against the USS Mason near the Bab al Mandab Strait on October 9 and October 12. Iran likely supplied the missiles and, at the very least, affiliated operatives provided technical expertise and modifications in support of those who launched the attack.

Featured Topics

A New ISIS Branch in the Sahel?

ISIS informally recognized a new branch operating in the Sahel region of West Africa on October 30, 2016. The group had been operating under the ISIS name for over a year, but only demonstrated any real attack capability in September and October 2016.

Province Ties to the Islamic State Core: Islamic State in Yemen

The Islamic State is present in Yemen and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. That reality may well lead U.S. policymakers to see Yemen as a front in the counter–Islamic State fight. That would be a mistake.

Maps and Graphics

Daily News Brief

Iran News Round Up

  • Senior officials condemned the renewal of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) as a “clear violation” of the nuclear deal.

Gulf of Aden Security Review

  • Yemen: Reported U.S. airstrike targets AQAP in Ma’rib governorate; AQAP claims attack on al Houthi-Saleh forces in Ibb governorate; al Houthi-Saleh delegation travels to China; Hadi government forces prepare for intensified operations in al Jawf and Ma’rib governorates; Hadi government and popular resistance forces seize al Houthi-Saleh territory in northern Sana’a governorate; Emirati-trained security forces to secure oil sites in Shabwah governorate. Horn of Africa: SNA forces ambush al Shabaab militants near Wajid town, Bakool region; U.S. provides six Huey II helicopters to Kenyan Defense Forces.