[Notice: The Critical Threats Project frequently cites sources from foreign domains. All such links are identified with an asterisk(*) for the reader's awareness.]
Below are the takeaways from the week:
Iran engaged diplomatically with American allies to try to preserve economic ties with Europe and cool US-Iran tensions. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and *German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas traveled to Tehran on June 10 and 12, respectively. Germany, the UK, and France aim to operationalize a humanitarian trade mechanism with Iran to preserve economic ties before July. Abe seeks to mediate between the US and Iran after meeting with US President Donald Trump.
Cyclical ethnic violence in central Mali is creating opportunities for Salafi-jihadi militants linked to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb to gain the support of vulnerable populations. Gunmen massacred more than 100 people from a rival ethnic group in central Mali on June 9, likely in retaliation for a massacre in March. Salafi-jihadi groups both stoke these ethnic tensions and mediate solutions to gain credibility as a source of governance.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) may be initiating a new campaign against Emirati-backed Yemeni security forces in south-central Yemen. AQAP conducted its first attacks against Emirati-backed forces since February on June 7 and *June 10. The attacks may be retaliation for an Emirati-backed counterterrorism campaign in March. AQAP did not contest the campaign at the time, possibly to prioritize a then-escalating conflict with the Islamic State.
Read Katherine Zimmerman's recent testimony, "Taking the Lead Back in Yemen."
HORN OF AFRICA
An escalating diplomatic dispute between Kenya and Somalia is creating the conditions for al Shabaab to cultivate support in communities in the Kenya-Somalia border region. Kenya closed a commercially significant border crossing with Somalia on June 11 as part of a series of punitive measures against Somalia. Al Shabaab will exploit the grievances of border communities hurt by the elimination of cross-border trade.