Below are the takeaways from the week:
- Israeli strikes against an Iranian missile storage facility and the al Nayrab airbase in western Syria reportedly killed 18 Iranian fighters on April 29. The strikes were the second round of Israeli military action against Iranian assets in Syria since April 8. Iranian officials are preparing a military response and vowed to “punish” Israel following the April 8 airstrikes.
- Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar is taking an increasingly authoritarian stance after returning to Libya following medical treatment. Haftar’s return jeopardizes planned elections and may lead to a power struggle with other leaders who sought to fill the power vacuum caused by his absence, putting recent efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict at risk.
- Counterterrorism operations in eastern Mali are exacerbating ethnic conflict. ISIS in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) attacked Tuareg populations to retaliate against French-backed Tuareg militias. Tuareg counterterrorism operations had targeted the Fulani population. Al Qaeda- and ISIS-affiliated groups in the Sahel gain local support in part by defending communities from rival ethnic groups.