Update and Assessment: June 22, 2016

June 22, 2016

Key Takeaways:

  • Tensions are escalating between the UN-backed Libyan government and the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR), increasing the likelihood of resumed conflict. The HoR declared a state of emergency and created a military zone from Tobruk in southeastern Libya to Ben Jawad, east of Sirte on the northern Libyan coastline. HoR-aligned Libyan National Army forces also attacked a position held by the Libyan government-aligned Petroleum Facilities Guard, whose leader swore retaliation. [See Emily Estelle’s, “In Libya, the US is Playing Whack-A-Mole with Terror,” originally published on Fox Opinion.]
  • The Pentagon confirmed the extension of a U.S. special forces counterterrorism mission in Yemen to provide support to Emirati forces against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The small team, about a dozen Special Operations advisers, deployed in April for a short-term operation. A second Special Operations team had recently been deployed to assess the security situation in Yemen and determine whether there were local powerbrokers with whom the U.S. might partner in the future. The Pentagon announced it had conducted three airstrikes in Yemen from June 8 to June 12 targeting AQAP. [Keep up to date on Yemen with CTP’s Situation Reports.]
  • The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) released a statement asserting that though IMU leadership had pledged to ISIS, a significant faction remained loyal to al Qaeda. The announcement was issued in English- and Arabic-language statements that were released on Twitter and Telegram. The statements revealed that the IMU had split when its leader had pledged to ISIS.