CTP’s Threat Update series seeks to provide you with a weekly analysis and assessment of the al Qaeda network and Iran
Below are the takeaways from the week:
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) will use the UAE military’s focus on the al Hudaydah operation against the al Houthi movement to reposition itself in southern Yemen. The UAE decreased counterterrorism operations as it prepared for and launched an offensive to seize the Red Sea port city, lifting some of the counterterrorism pressure from AQAP. AQAP militants have since conducted and attempted multiple attacks targeting security forces in southern and eastern Yemen.
Read Katherine Zimmerman’s “The Assault on al Hudaydah: Surfacing America’s Partnership Problems” for more implications of the Emirati operation.
Fighting in Libya over control of oil resources demonstrates the shortcomings of an international strategy that focuses on settlements between elites who do not exercise sufficient control on the ground. Militias linked to Salafi-jihadi groups and without ties to the major political factions seized two of Libya’s main oil ports on June 14. A battle for Libya’s oil crescent disrupts the economy and will set off a broader conflict that leads to increased Salafi-jihadi activity, demonstrating the ability of armed groups without ties to major political factions to disrupt Libya’s economy.
Read Emily Estelle’s “Warning Update: Oil Battle Returns Libya to the Brink” for more analysis.
The death of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) emir will disrupt the group in the near term and may cause it to fracture. A U.S. airstrike killed TTP emir Mullah Fazlullah in eastern Afghanistan on June 13. The al Qaeda-linked TTP fractured after Fazlullah replaced Hakimullah Mehsud in 2013. Fazlullah appointed a Mehsud faction leader as the deputy leader of TTP in order to reconstitute the group in 2017. TTP deputy leader Noor Wali, who belongs to the Mehsud faction, may be able to preserve the group’s unity if selected as emir.