Threat Update


{{1561643220 | milliToDateShort}}

CTP's Threat Update series provides you with a weekly analysis and assessment of the al Qaeda network and Iran.

[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:


The Iranian regime will likely violate the nuclear deal in the coming days but will not restart its nuclear weapons program. The regime seeks to coerce Europe into maintaining economic ties with Iran in exchange for the regime’s compliance to the deal. The regime may next enrich uranium past the nuclear deal’s bounds to increase pressure on Europe. Europe could reimpose sanctions in response to the violation.

Khamenei prepares for the JCPOA's potential collapse.


The al Houthi movement sustained an attack campaign against Saudi infrastructure in tandem with Iran’s escalation in the Middle East. The al Houthis targeted a desalination plant in Jizan province in southern Saudi Arabia on June 19, one day before Iran downed a US drone. An al Houthi *attack on Abha airport on June 23 killed one person, less than two weeks after an attack injured over 26 people at the same airport.

Taking the Lead Back in Yemen.


The Islamic State is likely responsible for a  double suicide bombing that targeted security forces near the French Embassy in Tunis on June 27. The attack may signal the beginning of a campaign to destabilize the country and cripple its tourism sector in the lead-up to contentious presidential and parliamentary elections. It coincides with reports that the Tunisian president died on June 27 following an illness. This is the first major attack in Tunis since a November 2015 ISIS attack on members of the Tunisian Presidential Guard.


Ethnic factionalism in Ethiopia’s security sector may destabilize the country.  A regional security chief attempted a coup against a regional government on June 22, which also killed the Ethiopian army chief of staff. Ethnonationalist hard-liners in the security sector will continue to foment ethnic conflict or attempt further coups. A contentious census and national elections scheduled for 2020 will exacerbate Ethiopia’s already widespread ethnic conflict.


The Burkina Faso government’s attempt to limit criticism  of its counterterrorism policy will backfire and may drive more popular support to Salafi-jihadi groups linked to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. The Burkinabe parliament passed a law on June 21 that criminalizes reporting on military operations. This measure may allow the government to conceal security force abuses, which are key drivers of support to Salafi-jihadi groups in northern Burkina Faso.