Update and Assessment: October 26, 2016
By The Editors
October 26, 2016
- None of the parties to Yemen’s civil war are prepared to make concessions required to achieve a peace deal, or even a sustained ceasefire, in the near term. Fighting along key frontlines, as well as airstrikes and ballistic missile fire, resumed with the expiration of a three-day humanitarian ceasefire on October 22. UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed reportedly proposed a peace plan that meets some al Houthi-Saleh demands, but President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s administration is unlikely to consider the proposal. The Saudi-led coalition, which backs the Hadi government, will continue to prioritize a military solution over a political deal that allows the al Houthis or former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh to retain influence in Yemen. The al Houthi-Saleh faction is not close to military defeat, despite coalition offensives on multiple fronts, and will continue to resist a peace framework that does not address its interests. [Stay up to date on Yemen with CTP’s latest Yemen Situation Report and map of Yemen’s frontlines.]
- Al Shabaab is increasing its operational tempo in an effort to disrupt Somalia’s fragile parliamentary election process. The group conducted three geographically dispersed attacks within 24 hours, including a raid on a Kenyan border town and a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack on an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) military base in central Somalia. Al Shabaab is also benefitting from large-scale social unrest in Ethiopia, which has forced several Ethiopian AMISOM units to withdraw from Somalia. Al Shabaab will seek to compromise Somalia’s political transition by attacking state and security targets and consolidating control of territory in southern Somalia.
- The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) is setting conditions to wage a drawn-out guerrilla war in Libya. ISIS has dispersed attack teams throughout Sirte district in north central Libya. These teams are using hit-and-run tactics and tunnels to attack U.S.-backed forces attempting to seize ISIS’s final bastion in Sirte city. ISIS has also targeted supply lines west of Sirte city, demonstrating its capability to maneuver throughout the region. The use of guerrilla tactics will further prolong the U.S. airstrike mission in Libya. ISIS will continue to operate in Libya, exploiting the country’s ongoing civil war and governance failures, despite the loss of its former stronghold in Sirte. [Read about the damaging side effects of the fall of Sirte.]