Situation Report Threat Update

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The Editors

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Threat Update Situation Report

Authors

The Editors

Latest Edition

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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: 

 

IRAN

Salafi-jihadi groups are exploiting social and economic disenfranchisement among minority groups in Iran to increase their attacks against the regime. Ansar al Furqan detonated a SVBIED in southeastern Iran on December 6. Salafi-jihadi groups operate in southeastern Iran, which is home to large populations of Sunni Baloch. Southeastern Sistan and Baluchistan Province has one of the country’s highest unemployment rates, and its people are often subject to regime discrimination.

Related: "IRAN FILE: Hostage Crisis risks straining Iran-Pakistan Relations."

 

YEMEN

The Hadi government and the al Houthi movement agreed to a governorate-wide ceasefire and administration of al Hudaydah port city at UN-led talks in addition to a “mutual understanding” over the status of Yemen’s third-largest city, Taiz. The agreement stipulates a neutral actor, likely the UN, would assume responsibility for the port and that both sides would redeploy forces from the city. Implementing the agreement will be key as many obstacles remain.

 

HORN OF AFRICA

A parliamentarian effort to impeach the Somali Federal Government’s (SFG) president may produce conflict with a federal member state. Parliamentarians filed an impeachment motion on December 9. Local forces fought SFG forces during impeachment-related protests in South West state. South West suspended ties with the SFG in September and accuses the SFG of election meddling. Al Shabaab may increase attacks in Mogadishu like it did during a previous government crisis.

 

LIBYA and WEST AFRICA

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is attempting to capitalize on backlash to a U.S. airstrike to gain popular support in southwestern Libya. Civilians from the Tuareg tribe accused U.S. Africa Command of killing civilians in a November 29 airstrike on a convoy near Ubari. AQIM and its Malian branch claimed the individuals had no formal ties to AQIM, signaling an effort to define membership without alienating local populations.

Related: Katherine Zimmerman's latest report "Terrorism, Tactics, and Transformation."

 

LIBYA

ISIS in Libya is attempting to rebuild its fighting force by kidnapping security personnel for prisoner exchanges. ISIS seeks to exchange four hostages from an October attack in central Libya for militants currently held by Libyan security forces. It conducted a similar raid on a police station in southeastern Libyan in late November (Figure 1, bullets 2 and 4) and may also seek to exchange the captives.

Figure 1. ISIS has attacked police stations and kidnapped security personnel (bullets 2 and 4), seeking to exchange hostages with Libyan security forces.