Update and Assessment: August 10, 2016
By The Editors
August 10, 2016
- The Yemeni government launched an offensive to seize Sana’a from the al Houthis and forces loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on August 6. CTP assessed in July 2016 that forces allied with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government were preparing to pursue a military victory in the absence of a negotiated settlement. The Saudi-led coalition resumed airstrikes on Sana’a in support of the offensive, which followed the suspension of UN-led peace talks. This offensive will prolong the war and distract from the fight against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), allowing AQAP to recoup recent losses and grow stronger in Yemen. [See Nicholas Jonsson and Bailey Palmer’s Yemen Warning: Sana’a Offensive. Keep up to date on Yemen with CTP’s Situation Reports.]
- The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) replaced Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau as the governor of ISIS’s affiliate in West Africa. ISIS replaced Shekau, whose leadership deterred both ISIS and al Qaeda from close coordination with his group, with a more responsive leader. This reshuffle gives ISIS the opportunity to fully integrate its Nigerian affiliate into its global network and establish a new foothold in Africa.
- Jamatul Ahrar (JuA), a splinter group of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, conducted a suicide bombing that killed more than 70 people at a hospital in Quetta, Pakistan on August 8. The attack targeted lawyers mourning the regional bar association president, whom JuA assassinated earlier that day. JuA has expressed pro-ISIS leanings, but has not formally affiliated with the group. It has targeted the judiciary before and will likely continue to attack courts, lawyers, and related targets throughout Pakistan. JuA is responsible for the Easter Sunday bombing that targeted Pakistani Christians in Lahore on March 27, 2016.