- There is an inflection in Iranian support for the al Houthis in Yemen. The U.S. Navy interdicted a dhow carrying AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and .50 caliber machine guns in the Arabian Sea on March 28. French and Australian vessels seized similar shipments on March 20 and February 27, respectively. Increased Iranian involvement in Yemen may exacerbate regional tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. It may also threaten ongoing direct talks between the al Houthis and Saudi Arabia, as well as the UN-brokered talks set to begin in Kuwait on April 18. [Sign up to receive CTP’s Yemen Crisis Situation Reports by email.]
- A U.S. airstrike killed al Shabaab senior leader and military planner Hassan Ali Dhore in southern Somalia. Dhore was a member of al Qaeda and al Shabaab’s Amniyat brigade, which conducts the group’s security, intelligence, and assassination operations. Dhore planned the December 25, 2014, attack on Mogadishu International Airport and the March 27, 2015, attack on Mogadishu’s Makka al Mukarrama Hotel, which killed U.S. citizens. Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook stated that Dhore was planning attacks on U.S. citizens in Mogadishu.
- The UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) entered Tripoli and now controls the capital with support from international backers and some western Libyan militias. Members of the revolutionary Islamist government fled Tripoli, but the GNA still faces opposition from armed militias in the Libyan capital and its environs. The GNA lacks support from both the Libyan House of Representatives and any major political or military powerbrokers in eastern Libya. ISIS is likely resuming a campaign of attacks on Libya’s oil infrastructure that may inhibit the GNA’s ability to take control of this resource and deter armed groups from pledging support to the GNA. The international community is treating the GNA’s move to Tripoli as a major victory, but a significant number of actors remain capable of derailing the unity government. [See CTP’s backgrounder on forces in Libya and on ISIS’s campaign in Libya.]