CTP’s Threat Update series provides you with a weekly analysis and assessment of the al Qaeda network and Iran
Below are the takeaways from the week:
Al Qaeda reaffirmed its support for the Afghan Taliban, complicating America’s strategy to pursue a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda General Command reiterated its bayat (pledge of allegiance) to Taliban emir Haibatullah Akhundzada and recognized him as emir al mumineen (Commander of the Faithful) in a eulogy for Jalaluddin Haqqani. Al Qaeda-linked groups in South Asia and Syria released similar eulogies praising the late leader of the Haqqani Network.
Read Frederick W. Kagan’s "Trump outlines the foundation of a changed approach in Afghanistan."
Iran seeks to expand its political and security influence in Basra province, Iraq, possibly in order to circumvent forthcoming U.S. sanctions against Iranian oil exports. Iraqi protesters likely affiliated with Iranian proxies called for the installation of a temporary Basra government after weeks of protests over Basra’s water crisis. Iran may aim to leverage illicit Iraqi proxy smuggling networks in Basra to export Iranian oil.
Read Kimberly Kagan and Frederick W. Kagan's "The U.S. Can Defuse Iraq’s Crisis."
The UN’s agreement with the al Houthi movement to establish a medical air bridge for critically ill Yemenis treated the movement as a legitimate authority. The step may have been part of confidence building measures with the al Houthis to resume consultations as part of the UN-led peace process. The UN did not consult the internationally recognized Yemeni government, which denounced the agreement and which may refuse to participate in future peace talks.
Read Katherine Zimmerman's "The Assault on al Hudaydah: Surfacing America’s Partnership Problems."
Saudi Arabia and the UAE are expanding their influence in the Horn of Africa by facilitating regional detente. Saudi Arabia hosted summits between Eritrea and its historical rivals Ethiopia and Djibouti on September 16-17 following a July Ethiopian-Eritrean peace agreement, which the UAE and Saudi Arabia facilitated. Saudi and Emirati engagement with Ethiopia may compel Qatar and Turkey to deepen their involvement in the Horn of Africa, driving geopolitical competition.
Read Emily Estelle’s Congressional Testimony: "Ethiopia’s Strategic Importance: US National Security Interests at Risk in the Horn of Africa."