[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:
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei restructured components of Iran’s armed forces in preparation for a potential US-Iran conflict. Khamenei reorganized Iran’s *air defenses and *IRGC Intelligence Organization as tensions rose in recent weeks. He also seeks to deter a potential American or Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear assets in the near future. Khamenei *expressed doubt in the nuclear deal on May 22 and may abandon the agreement in coming months.
Iran has quadrupled its low-enriched uranium production capacity, inching towards the JCPOA stockpile cap.
Salafi-jihadi groups resumed attacks in eastern Libya with the first major bombing in Derna in a year. The attack targeted Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), which captured Derna in June 2018, and may have been retaliation for the capture of an al Qaeda–linked Egyptian militant. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombing. Security will likely deteriorate in eastern Libya as the ongoing battle for Tripoli strains the LNA.
Algerian protesters successfully pressured the government to delay presidential elections. This is a setback for army leadership, which supported holding elections. Military and political elites will attempt to hold power by producing a consensus candidate and making limited concessions to protesters. If no compromise is reached, the army may take power by force and crack down violently on protesters, potentially creating conditions for a future insurgency.
Salafi-jihadi militants are sustaining pressure on Niger, a key US partner in the western Sahel. Nigerien authorities disrupted a planned attack in Niamey, Niger’s capital, on June 1. The attempted attack follows renewed activity by Mali-based militants in western Niger. Niger faces spillover from the Salafi-jihadi insurgency in Mali and Burkina Faso and frequent attacks by the Islamic State’s West Africa Province on its southeastern border with Nigeria.
The al Houthi movement is strengthening ties with Hezbollah to further integrate itself into Iran’s proxy network. An al Houthi radio station launched a fundraising effort for Hezbollah that raised over $120,000. This is the first known instance of the al Houthi movement providing material support to Hezbollah.