Update and Assessment: April 13, 2016
By The Editors
April 13, 2016
- A UN-brokered ceasefire is holding in Yemen in advance of scheduled talks to resolve the political crisis. There are reports of ongoing fighting along contested frontlines in central Yemen despite the start of the ceasefire on April 10. All major players in the conflict have expressed formal support for the ceasefire agreement, while reserving the right to take defensive action should violations occur. Ongoing high-level meetings indicate that each faction is preparing seriously for UN-led peace talks, which are set to begin in Kuwait on April 18. The formal ceasefire will likely continue to hold, despite clashes on the ground, as Yemen’s powerbrokers pursue their objectives in the political arena. [Sign up to receive CTP’s Yemen Crisis Situation Reports by email.]
- A new Salafi-jihadi organization, “Jabha East Africa” (East Africa Front), released its “bayat” or oath of loyalty to the emir of the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS), Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. The group reported that its members are former al Shabaab members who have returned to their home countries throughout East Africa, paralleling the al Shabaab-affiliated al Muhajiroun. ISIS has not replied to the pledge. Jabha East Africa’s operational strength, as well as any official connections to ISIS, remains unknown.
- Key Libyan factions backed the newly installed and UN-recognized Libyan national unity government, the Government of National Accord (GNA). The GNA will probably become a critical counter-terrorism partner as Western powers begin to develop strategies to combat ISIS in Libya. The GNA must still develop local legitimacy, however. It will need to ameliorate Libya’s economic woes. It will also need to gain the official endorsement of the country’s internationally recognized House of Representatives, which is currently split on the issue of ceding power to the GNA. [See CTP’s backgrounder on forces in Libya and on ISIS’s campaign in Libya.]