[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:
The Iranian regime is undermining U.S. efforts to curb the expansion of Iran’s malign regional influence. Iranian officials pushed for *connecting Iran’s rail line infrastructure to Syria through Iraq during meetings with Iraqi President Barham Salih in Tehran. Iran’s Supreme Leader also called for the *preservation of Iranian-backed Iraqi Shia militias, which seek to expel U.S. forces from Iraq.
Renewed conflict around al Hudaydah city risks undermining confidence building measures for planned UN peace consultations. Emirati-backed Yemeni forces reinforced positions on the outskirts of the city on November 16 and *attempted to seize neighborhoods in eastern al Hudaydah city on November 19. The al Houthi movement agreed to halt attacks on Saudi Arabia and the UAE on November 19. It may use renewed fighting around al Hudaydah to justify not engaging in talks.
HORN OF AFRICA
The Islamic State’s attempts to expand in eastern and central Africa are unlikely to detract significant support from entrenched local Salafi-jihadi groups. Its al Naba newsletter condemned al Shabaab for targeting Islamic State supporters in Somalia in an effort attract Salafi-jihadi sympathizers away from al Shabaab. An Islamic State financier sent money to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in recent years. The ADF has not demonstrated operational ties with Salafi-jihadi groups.
Al Qaeda-linked groups based in Kashmir may be preparing to conduct attacks in India in order to distinguish themselves from separatist Kashmiri groups. Indian security forces reported that al Qaeda-linked Jaish-e-Mohamad and Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGH) militants, including the AGH emir, entered India’s Punjab state from Kashmir on November 15 and 16. One of these groups may be responsible for a November 18 *attack on Sikh worshipers in Punjab state.