Below are the takeaways from the week:
- An Israeli airstrike against Iranian-backed forces in Syria’s southwestern Homs governorate killed four Iranian fighters on April 8. Iran may wait to respond to the Israeli airstrike until the U.S. chooses whether to respond militarily to the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons attack on an opposition stronghold outside of Damascus on April 7.
- A political crisis is destabilizing the Somali Federal Government (SFG), providing an opportunity for al Shabaab to recover from recent losses. The speaker of the Somali Lower House resigned after tensions between the legislative and executive branches led to an armed standoff at the parliament building. U.S. counterterrorism strategy in Somalia relies on building the SFG’s governance and security capabilities.
- Morocco threatened to conduct an armed intervention in the Western Sahara, risking the destabilization of the western Maghreb. Morocco’s threat is intended to increase its control over the disputed territory and pressure Algeria to stop supporting anti-Morocco fighters in the Western Sahara.
- The al Houthi movement escalated ballistic missile attacks targeting Saudi economic interests such as ARAMCO facilities. Al Houthi forces attacked Saudi oil assets with ballistic and surface-to-ship missiles more times in recent weeks than at any other point in the conflict. An escalation in al Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia may undermine the revitalized UN-led peace process.