- A French-brokered deal in Libya between the political elite may secure short-term interests at the expense of long-term stability. Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar and Government of National Accord (GNA) prime minister-designate Fayez al Serraj committed to terms for a conditional ceasefire and presidential and parliamentary elections in 2018. This deal does not set conditions to address underlying grievances and further empowers Haftar, whose actions have weakened local governance structures and driven support to Salafi-jihadi groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) and al Qaeda. [Read Emily Estelle’s assessment Haftar’s role in the perceived return of the Qaddafi regime. Stay tuned for a forthcoming paper on Haftar’s rise and its implications for U.S. policy.]
- Al Houthi movement rhetoric shows closer alignment with the Iranian Axis of Resistance. Leader Abdul Malik al Houthi pledged military support to Hezbollah and Palestinians against Israel in response to Israeli security measures following an attack at al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. The al Houthis have sustained regular cross-border attacks targeting Saudi sites for the Kingdom’s role in the war in Yemen and have begun more regular attacks on Saudi-led coalition ships in the Red Sea. Al Houthi leaders have openly denounced the UN-led negotiations for a political resolution, saying the process is biased toward Saudi Arabia. [Read Katherine Zimmerman’s recommendations for pushing back on Iran in Yemen.]
- The Moroccan state will regain control over popular protests as divisions between organizers emerge. Planned protests for Morocco’s Throne Day on July 30 sparked backlash from detained protest leaders, who oppose a direct confrontation with the monarchy. King Mohammed VI may release detained activists or promise additional reforms on Throne Day in order to further reduce protesters’ momentum. Underlying social grievances, which drive civil unrest and Salafi-jihadi recruitment, will remain.