Below are the takeaways from the week:
U.S. efforts to remove Iranian forces from Syria through negotiations with Russia will likely fail to diminish Iran’s military role in Syria. The Supreme Leader’s senior foreign policy advisor stated that Iran will maintain its “advisory presence” in Syria following a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 13, three days before Putin’s meeting with President Donald Trump on July 16.
Read the Critical Threats Project and the Institute for the Study of War’s “Intelligence Estimate and Forecast: The Syrian Theater” to learn more about Iranian ambitions in Syria.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) will weaken each other if they continue to clash in Yemen. AQAP and ISIS clashed for the first time in central Yemen, where they have previously cooperated on a tactical level against al Houthi forces. A renewed secession crisis may decrease pressure on AQAP and ISIS in southern and eastern Yemen, however, limiting the impact of internecine fighting.
Revisit CTP’s Warning Update: Fracturing of the Yemeni state for the effects of south Yemen secession on U.S. policy.
Al Shabaab is conducting a wave of suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) attacks to weaken the Somali Federal Government (SFG) in Mogadishu. Al Shabaab has conducted two double-SVBIED attacks on Somali government and security targets this month. U.S. counterterrorism strategy in Somalia relies on strengthening the SFG.
See “Al Shabaab’s Vehicle-Borne IED Campaign: January 2017 – March 2018.”
- ISIS West Africa Province (ISWA) is launching sophisticated attacks on the edges of its area of operations in northeastern Nigeria in order to counteract Nigerian Army efforts near its Lake Chad strongholds. ISWA has solidified its base of operations around Lake Chad, allowing it to conduct large-scale campaigns to weaken regional security forces. ISWA forces overran a Nigerian military base in Yobe State on July 14.
Read CTP’s Boko Haram in Nigeria.