Threat Update


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CTP's Threat Update series provides you with a weekly analysis and assessment of the al Qaeda network and Iran.

[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 President Hassan Rouhani seeks to hold a referendum over Iran’s nuclear activities to demonstrate public support for preserving the nuclear deal. Rouhani *implied a vote could be held on the matter without specifying further on May 25. This comes after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei *expressed his waning confidence in the deal and *signaled Iran could violate the deal in the near future if Europe does not offer Iran economic deliverables.

For more context, read the Iran File from May 10.


The al Houthi movement intensified cross-border attacks against Saudi Arabia and is attempting to encircle Saudi-led coalition-backed forces along the border. Al Houthi forces began a wave of drone attacks against dual-use airports in Saudi Arabia’s Najran and Jizan regions. Al Houthi forces also *attacked military positions north of Sa’ada governorate, beginning to surround coalition-backed troops in the area. The al Houthis’ drone campaign began as tensions escalated with Iran.

For more context, read Taking Back the Lead in Yemen.


Al Shabaab targeted senior Somali officials in suicide attacks as part of a publicized Ramadan surge. Al Shabaab killed a commander in the US-trained Somali special forces in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on May 22. Al Shabaab attempted to kill the leadership of a Sufi militia in north-central Somalia the next day to weaken its primary adversary in the region and dissuade Somalis from embracing Sufism.