Below are the takeaways from the week:
The death of Haqqani Network founder Jalaluddin Haqqani will not affect the war in Afghanistan or al Qaeda’s relationship with the Taliban. Jalaluddin’s son Sirajuddin has led the Haqqani Network’s operations for several years, is the Taliban’s second-in-command, and has a strong relationship with al Qaeda. The Haqqani Network is a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.
Iran and Russia will likely pressure Turkey to allow for a pro-Syrian regime offensive to secure control of part of northern Syria during an Iran-Russia-Turkey presidential summit in Tehran on September 7. Senior Iranian officials called for the removal of anti-regime forces in Idlib Province during meetings with senior officials in Damascus, Syria on September 3.
Read the Critical Threats Project and the Institute for the Study of War’s “Intelligence Estimate and Forecast: The Syrian Theater” to learn more about Iranian ambitions in Syria.
A battle for control of Tripoli is destabilizing northwestern Libya and may lead to a broader return to conflict, derailing peace-building efforts and setting conditions for al Qaeda and ISIS to strengthen in the country’s center and south. Heavy fighting between rival militias has caused civilian casualties, the displacement of refugees, prison breaks, and a mobilization of forces that will produce prolonged instability in the capital.
Revisit Emily Estelle’s “A Strategy for Success in Libya” for why Libya matters to U.S. national security.
For a deeper dive into what's happening relating to the al Qaeda network and Iran, see our regional and country-by-country updates below.
The ongoing battle for control of Tripoli will draw Libyan security forces’ attention away from countering ISIS and al Qaeda and delay efforts to resolve the national political crisis. Forces from Zintan and Misrata in northwestern Libya deployed to the capital to help militias aligned with the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) prevent an attacking force from outside of the city from seizing strategic positions. The GNA-aligned forces will likely cooperate to disrupt the offensive but will then challenge each other for control of Tripoli, prolonging instability.
Iran is advocating for the removal of anti-Syrian regime forces in Syria’s northern Idlib Province. Iranian officials likely discussed a potential pro-regime offensive in northern Syria during recent meetings with senior officials in Damascus, Syria and Ankara, Turkey. Iran and Russia will likely pressure Turkey to allow for a pro-regime offensive to secure Idlib Province during the Iran-Russia-Turkey presidential summit on September 7.
The death of Haqqani Network founder Jalaluddin Haqqani will not significantly disrupt the Afghan Taliban’s operations or its relationship with al Qaeda. Jalaluddin’s son, Sirajuddin Haqqani, has led the Haqqani Network for several years, maintains a strong relationship with al Qaeda, and serves as the Taliban’s second-in-command. The Taliban's eulogies for Jalaluddin underscore its close relationship with the Haqqani Network, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.
HORN OF AFRICA
Ethiopia may face an insurgency from security forces loyal to the ex-president of Ethiopia’s Somali Region, risking instability that could strengthen al Shabaab. The Somali Region’s Liyu police clashed with Ethiopian troops near the Somali border, according to an unconfirmed report from a former BBC journalist. An insurgency in the Somali Region would create a security vacuum in eastern Ethiopia, potentially allowing al Shabaab to expand its operations and recruitment into Ethiopia and prompting the Ethiopian government to withdraw its forces from Somalia.
Protests in southern Yemen have shifted to the Saudi-led coalition for the first time. The collapse of the Yemeni rial on August 30 sparked anti-government demonstrations in southern Yemen, building on pre-existing grievances over unpaid salaries and the response to the humanitarian crisis. Southern secessionists will leverage these grievances to gain support for their cause but will not attempt to secede in the near term. The protests undermine the Hadi government’s legitimacy in advance of UN-led consultations on the Yemeni civil war and could spark wider protests against the coalition’s involvement in the conflict.