Update and Assessment: February 3, 2016
By The Editors
February 3, 2016
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) controls the populated areas along the main road from Aden to al Mukalla, Hadramawt. It is reconstituting control over the territory it held in 2011 and 2012 and is further consolidating control in al Mukalla. AQAP seized Azzan city in Shabwah governorate, which served as one of its primary bases of operation in 2011-2012, and stoned a man to death in al Mukalla.
- The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) is increasing its territorial control along the central Libyan coast as Western forces prepare to launch airstrikes and possibly special operations to curb the group’s expansion. ISIS seized a village to the west of its stronghold in Sirte and continues to contest control of key infrastructure in the central Libyan oil crescent. The U.S., Britain, France, Italy, and Germany are preparing to target ISIS in Libya. Current discussions about military action in Libya do not include targeting al Qaeda-linked groups also active in the country.
- Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is threatening to kill a Swiss nun taken hostage if demands for the release of AQIM members were not met. Among those AQIM lists is Ahmad al Faqi al Mahdi, in the custody of the International Criminal Court. AQIM has successfully negotiated previous prisoner exchanges and those who have been released return to operations.