[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:
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s appointment of an IRGC-affiliated minister to his cabinet may increase the economic influence of IRGC-associated institutions domestically and abroad. Parliament *approved Mohammad Eslami as roads and urban development minister on October 26. Eslami previously served in *senior positions within the Defense Ministry and a major IRGC-affiliated holding company. Eslami’s appointment may allow IRGC-tied institutions to acquire significant stakes in domestic and *regional construction projects.
The first bombing in Tunis since November 2015 may be the beginning of an ISIS campaign of low-level attacks to degrade security and worsen political divisions in Tunisia. A female suicide bomber targeted a police patrol in downtown Tunis on October 29, injuring ten officers. ISIS may have lost the more advanced attack capabilities that it used in Tunisia in 2015 but remains capable of threatening the state.
An al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) affiliate’s attack on a UN base in northern Mali advances a campaign to drive international forces out of northern and central Mali. Jama’a Nusrat al Islam wa al Muslimeen (JNIM) detonated two suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (SVBIED) at a Burkinabe base on October 27, continuing a pattern of multi-SVBIED attacks that began in 2016. The group destroyed the headquarters of a regional counterterrorism force in central Mali in June.
ISIS in Libya is preparing to attack population centers and oil infrastructure by securing and expanding its support zones. ISIS militants attacked a police station in central Libya on October 28 in response to incursions by Libyan National Army (LNA) forces. ISIS has also reentered the area it controlled in Sirte district in 2015-2016. LNA forces attacked an ISIS position in this coastal area this month.
Political crises involving Somalia’s federal member states could undermine Somalia’s Federal Government (SFG), a U.S. counterterrorism partner. A U.S.-designated terrorist, al Shabaab’s former deputy leader, may run in a regional election in Jubbaland despite the SFG’s efforts to ban him. Four federal member states, including Jubbaland, announced plans to form a separate counterterrorism force, which would deprive the SFG of security resources.
China’s strengthening of bilateral relationships in South Asia will limit U.S. influence in the region. China began separate programs to train Afghan troops and diplomats in August and October. Pakistan will seek economic assistance from China in November, increasing China’s influence over Pakistan’s economy. China also UPDATEThe original article used in this citation is no longer active and has been replaced with a new article. elevated its relationship with Bangladesh to a strategic partnership after signing several security agreements in late October.