[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:
HORN OF AFRICA
Al Shabaab stormed a hotel complex in the group’s first major attack in Nairobi since the 2013 Westgate Mall attack. Al Shabaab seeks to pressure Kenya to withdraw troops from Somalia through high-profile spectacular attacks. This latest attack underscores the danger posed by al Shabaab’s safe havens in Somalia and eastern Kenya and indicates that the group remains a regional threat while the fight against it has stalemated.
Iran’s failed satellite launch on January 15 will not deter its space and ballistic missile programs. President Hassan Rouhani *announced on January 10 that Iran will launch two satellites in the coming weeks. Iran's space program supports ballistic missile development and advances the regime’s pursuit of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking Europe and possibly the United States.
The ceasefire in al Hudaydah holds, but it is unclear whether it will deliver more comprehensive political negotiations in Yemen. Belligerents have failed to implement several components of the December 2018 Stockholm agreement. Al Houthi forces killed and injured senior Hadi government military commanders in a drone attack in southern Yemen in early January 2019 and threatened additional attacks, indicating that the ceasefire has not yielded a broader de-escalation.