[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:
Planned UN talks in Sweden will likely occur by the end of the year. Recent confidence-building measures between the Saudi-led coalition and al Houthi movement include an informal ceasefire around al Hudaydah city on the Red Sea coast and the evacuation of wounded al Houthi fighters, a demand that scuttled talks this September. International pressure on the coalition helped produce these measures. It is unclear whether the parties will be able to negotiate a political resolution to the crisis.
An international conference on Libya held in Italy strengthened eastern Libyan military ruler Khalifa Haftar and failed to break political deadlock, setting conditions for renewed conflict between armed groups backed by regional states. The Turkish delegation withdrew from the conference, citing favoritism for the Egypt- and UAE-backed Haftar. The UN envoy for Libya announced a return to the stalled action plan that he has sought to implement since September 2017.
Iran is lobbying European states to host a bartering mechanism allowing Iran to export oil to Europe. A senior Iranian official traveled to *Vienna, Austria, and *Paris, France, after the EU failed to institute the mechanism before the U.S. reimposed sanctions against Iran on November 5. Tehran may accept additional delays in the mechanism’s implementation due to mounting economic pressures on the regime.
The al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) affiliate in Mali increased the tempo of explosive attacks intended to compel international forces to withdraw from Mali. Jama’a Nusrat al Islam wa al Muslimeen ( JNIM) detonated a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) at the headquarters of a UN-contracted mine clearance organization in Gao, northern Mali on November 12. JNIM used SVBIEDs to attack a UN base in Timbuktu region in October and destroy the headquarters of a regional joint force in June.
The death of the emir of the largest Salafi-jihadi group in the country, Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), may lead to its collapse or fracturing due to the group’s weakness. Bangladeshi security forces killed Khorshed Alam on November 6. Bangladeshi forces have degraded significantly JMB over the past three years, and the death of its emir will further hinder its ability to operate. Conditions that allow the Salafi-jihadi movement to maintain a base in Bangladesh persist.