- Al Qaeda associate Jama’a Nusrat al Islam wa al Muslimeen (JNIM) attacked a resort near Bamako, the capital of Mali, signaling the possible return of a terror campaign targeting West African sites frequented by Western officials, tourists, and expatriates. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and affiliated groups conducted a series of attacks on hotels in Mali, Burkina Faso, and the Ivory Coast in late 2015 and early 2016. Four al Qaeda-linked groups merged to form JNIM in March 2017 and have since escalated an insurgency against Malian, French, and UN forces in northern Mali. [Read Katherine Zimmerman and Alix Halloran’s assessment of the al Qaeda threat in the Sahel.]
- The Qatar diplomatic crisis is reverberating in the Horn of Africa region. Qatari peacekeeping troops withdrew from the contested border between Djibouti and Eritrea on June 14 after Eritrea severed diplomatic ties with Qatar. Eritrea deployed troops to the contested border for the first time since the 2008 border war, prompting Djibouti to place its military on alert.
- Iranian support for the al Houthi-Saleh faction threatens navigational freedom in the Red Sea. Al Houthi-Saleh forces fired a surface-to-ship missile at an Emirati vessel near Mokha port on June 15, wounding one crewmember. The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) or Lebanese Hezbollah likely provided technical support for past shore-to-ship attacks, including the October 2016 attacks on a U.S. warship near the Bab al Mandab Strait. [For a sample of CTP’s work on Iran in Yemen, see: Iranian involvement in missile attacks on the USS Mason, Warning Update: Iran’s Hybrid Warfare in Yemen, and Pushing Back on Iran: Policy Options in Yemen.]