Critical Threats Today
A regular summary of al Qaeda operations in Yemen and Africa as well as major events in Iran.
These are the major events from March 29 for Iran and for al Qaeda operations in Yemen and Africa. Please see the Iran News Roundup, the Gulf of Aden Security Review, and the weekly Threat Update for more details.
President Hassan Rouhani and Judiciary Head Sadegh Amoli Larijani clashed over the Judiciary’s impact on attracting foreign investment to Iran.
President Rouhani argued that the Judiciary is impeding foreign investment in Iran by creating a negative security environment for investors. Larijani denied Rouhani’s allegations and defended the Judiciary. He stated that the Judiciary “not only does not prevent healthy investment… but also facilitates healthy investment by dealing decisively with corruption.” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and others have pushed back on President Rouhani’s emphasis on attracting foreign investment in Iran. Rouhani and Larijani have clashed over a number of issues during Rouhani’s presidency, especially over freedom of expression and the press. Rouhani has been under particular pressure to defend his economic record leading up to the May presidential elections, however, following intense criticism from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and other officials.
Citations & Links
Iran likely supported the al Houthi-Saleh faction’s development of a new ballistic missile.
The al Houthi-Saleh Missile Forces unit revealed a new model called the “Qahir-M2.” Saudi air defenses intercepted several missiles, identified as Qahir-M2s by the al Houthi-Saleh faction, over southern Saudi Arabia this week. The Qahir-M2 has a longer range and reflects a much higher level of technical capability than the original Qahir-1 missile used by the al Houthi-Saleh faction. Iran and its proxy network supply advanced weaponry and expertise that allow the al Houthi-Saleh bloc to counter coalition capabilities in Yemen. (Recommended reading: Warning Update: Iran’s Hybrid Warfare in Yemen)
Citations & Links
Competition over Libya’s oil resources is crippling production.
Militias shut down the Riyayna pipeline, which connects the Sharara and al Feel oil fields in southern Libya to the Zawiya oil export terminal on the northwestern coast. Militias from Zintan, a town usually aligned with the Libyan National Army (LNA), are likely responsible. Zintani militias have closed the Riyayna pipeline several times in recent years to prevent rival forces from accessing oil revenues. The current closure has caused a loss of 252,000 barrels per day, more than one-third of Libya’s daily output. The LNA is simultaneously pressuring the Misratan Third Force to cede control of the Sharara oil field. Increased tensions may lead to armed conflict over the fields. Further disruptions in oil production or damage to the infrastructure would decimate Libya’s struggling economy, which is heavily dependent on oil sales. (Related reading: Ignoring History: America’s Losing Strategy in Libya)