[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:
Algerian regime elites are attempting to preserve power in the face of widespread popular protests sparked by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s candidacy announcement. Bouteflika agreed to step down at the end of his presidential term but also delayed elections. Protesters now condemn the extension of Bouteflika’s current term. Algeria may still destabilize if the regime and the opposition cannot reach a compromise, particularly as protests threaten Algeria’s core economic interests.
Ebrahim Raisi became an increasingly likely successor to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Raisi holds two top *regime positions, including being the *deputy chairman of the constitutional body that selects the next Supreme Leader. Senior regime officials also *began *using the clerical rank ayatollah to describe Raisi, though his rank is lower. These officials aim to *legitimize Raisi’s religious authority in Iran and frame him as a qualified successor to Khamenei.
We've been tracking potential successors to Khamenei since January.
The UN-brokered agreement to demilitarize al Hudaydah port city in Yemen is *collapsing as forces aligned with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi advance on multiple fronts. Both *Hadi government and *Houthi officials rebuked British efforts to support the Hudaydah agreement. Southern secessionists exploited the agreement’s breakdown to position themselves for international negotiations. An anti-Houthi tribal uprising has helped Hadi government-aligned forces *advance in northwestern Yemen.
Read our recommended way forward in Yemen.
Pakistani authorities are targeting anti-Indian militant groups but are unlikely to end support for these groups in the long term. Pakistani security forces arrested members of Jaish-e-Mohammad, the group responsible for a February 14 suicide attack in Kashmir that began the India-Pakistan escalation, and banned Lashkar-e-Taiba’s political and charity fronts. Pakistan has temporarily suppressed these groups due to international pressure in the past but later resumed support.
HORN OF AFRICA
Kenyan African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces in Somalia may limit offensive operations against al Shabaab and adopt a more defensive posture along the Kenyan border. Kenyan soldiers withdrew from a town in Gedo region in southwestern Somalia to a border village. Al Shabaab immediately captured the town. Al Shabaab will retain its territorial stronghold in the Jubba River Valley in the absence of an AMISOM offensive.