[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 militarization of Iranian Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) will increase the LEF’s ability to suppress future anti-regime protests. The Defense Ministry delivered * 12 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and six helicopters to the LEF on October 8 in response to heightened border violence. Anti-regime separatists have increased attacks against the LEF in recent months along Iran’s western and southeastern borders. The regime will utilize LEF border security assets against future widespread protests.
Southern Yemeni secessionists are posturing to obtain a larger role in UN-led negotiations but will not secede in the near term. Secessionists are coopting economic protests against the Yemeni government and are overstating their ability to control forces fighting along Yemen’s Red Sea coast. Their long-term ambition to secede threatens U.S. counterterrorism efforts because civil conflict will significantly decrease pressure on al Qaeda in southern Yemen.
U.S. attempts to pressure Pakistan to control the Afghan Taliban are failing. Senior U.S. officials urged Pakistani officials in early October to pressure the Taliban to participate in peace talks and to allow peaceful elections. Taliban leadership, which is based in Pakistan, ordered its fighters to attack Afghan election officials on October 8, indicating that Pakistan is either unwilling or unable to bring the Taliban to heel despite U.S. pressure
The capture of an al Qaeda-linked militant leader in Libya is a limited victory because Libya will destabilize further in 2018, extending the conditions that made Libya a haven for Salafi-jihadi groups. Domestic political fissures will reopen following a weeks-long battle between militias in the capital. Rival foreign powers will worsen these dynamics by jockeying for influence in Libya ahead of an international conference hosted by Italy in November.
Salafi-jihadi militants in Burkina Faso will temporarily weaken due to counterterrorism operations but will regain strength if Burkina Faso destabilizes. French and Burkinabe forces cracked down on militants in response to an uptick in attacks on economic and security targets. Burkina Faso’s president faces his first-ever large-scale protests, signaling the potential for domestic unrest that would weaken the state and allow Salafi-jihadi groups to renew operations.