[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:
Elite fracturing in Algeria may lead to a power vacuum after President Bouteflika’s resignation on April 2. The resignation reflects his loss of support among elites, including top army and political leadership. The arrest of businessmen close to Bouteflika signals an ongoing power struggle between elite factions seeking to secure their interests in the transition of power.
Islamic State media is highlighting the presence of affiliated fighters in West Africa to counter the narrative of its losses in Iraq and Syria. An Islamic State publication belatedly claimed responsibility for the October 2017 attack that killed four U.S. service members in Tongo Tongo, Niger. This is the first official recognition of the group responsible for the Tongo Tongo attack, which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in 2015.
Libya is at a crossroads between a peace deal and military escalation. Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) coalition is preparing to seize the capital Tripoli by concentrating troops in central Libya and gaining new allies in the northwest. Rival militias have unified in response. The UN will convene a national conference in April in an attempt to prevent escalation and strike a deal between key leaders.
- Russia is building relationships with southern Yemeni actors in order to expand its influence. Russian diplomats met with representatives from both Yemen’s *internationally recognized government and a southern secessionist movement. Russia pledged to reopen a consulate in Aden in order to increase its influence with southern Yemeni actors vis-à-vis the U.S. The U.S. ambassador ruled out the possibility of a consulate in Aden.
Read our recommended way forward in Yemen.
The Islamic State escalated against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in al Bayda governorate in central Yemen, where low-level clashes have been ongoing since fall 2018. Islamic State militants used suicide bombers against AQAP for the first time in an attack on an alleged AQAP headquarters in al Bayda. The clashes between AQAP and the Islamic state resumed in February but remain localized.