[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:
Iranian or Iranian-backed forces may attack British regional interests — possibly oil tankers in the Persian Gulf or Red Sea — in the near future. The IRGC attempted to seize a British tanker on July 10 and likely seized an Emirati tanker on July 13. These come after the UK seized an Iranian tanker on July 4. Iranian aggression would prompt the US and allies to intensify their military buildup around the Persian Gulf.
For more, revisit our Iran File.
The UAE is shifting to an advisory role along Yemen’s Red Sea coast while reducing its deployed force size. The UAE established a new joint operations room with Yemeni forces to secure key terrain against the al Houthi movement. Political fragmentation in southern Yemen — where al Qaeda is active — may worsen if UAE-backed forces begin to exercise greater autonomy, challenging the internationally recognized Yemeni government’s already tenuous authority.
HORN OF AFRICA
Al Shabaab is attempting to disrupt August elections in Somalia’s southern Jubbaland state. Al Shabaab attacked a hotel in Jubbaland’s capital on July 12, targeting a meeting between clan leaders and Jubbaland officials, killing 26 people, including two Americans. Al Shabaab warned clan leaders against facilitating the July 14 elections. Instability in Jubbaland could allow al Shabaab to expand its support zone and increase attacks on neighboring Kenya.
Resumed conflict in Libya will allow Islamic State– and al Qaeda–linked militants to return to population centers on the Mediterranean coast. A July 11 bombing indicates that militants are reconstituting near Benghazi. The Libyan National Army, which contests the recognized government’s authority, has largely secured Benghazi since 2017. Its stalled campaign to seize the capital, Tripoli, has strained its ability to maintain security in the east.