Update and Assessment: February 17, 2016
By The Editors
February 17, 2016
- The decision by Iran’s vetting body to uphold its disqualification of prominent Reformist candidates for the Assembly of Experts, the body charged with selecting the supreme leader, will likely mean the conservatives will dominate the February 26 elections. President Hassan Rouhani called for high voter turnout and for various political factions to remain united during a February 11 speech, indicating that he is unlikely to contest the disqualifications publically.
- Militants linked to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) launched a second complex attack on UN peacekeeping forces in Mali in as many weeks, which is an uptick in attacks against MINUSMA forces operating on the ground. AQIM and its affiliates have linked these recent attacks to recent spectacular attacks on luxury hotels where UN personnel stayed and will likely attempt more attacks on high-profile civilian targets.
- Al Shabaab formally claimed responsibility for an in-flight suicide bombing on a Daallo Airlines flight in Mogadishu, noting the actual target had been a canceled Turkish flight. The attack signals a significant inflection in the group’s capabilities, and al Shabaab will probably attempt a similar attack in the near future. Al Shabaab targets Turkish interests in Somalia for Turkey’s backing of the Somalia Federal Government.