- A coordinated release of strategic guidance across al Qaeda’s affiliates indicates continued centralized direction from al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri to the al Qaeda network. Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent issued a detailed statement outlining how its followers should interact with other Salafi-jihadi groups and treat Muslim civilians in order to cultivate the support of the masses. The document also listed and prioritized legitimate targets for attacks. Al Shabaab emir Ahmed Umar (Abu Ubaidah) issued guidance for Muslims in East Africa, couching the local objectives in terms of the global fight.
- Ongoing negotiations between members of the Saudi-led coalition and former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s block are occurring outside of the UN-led process. An elite-brokered deal is unlikely to address the core underlying grievances that feed conflict in Yemen’s civil war and therefore may not stabilize the country. Current reports indicate that former Yemeni prime minister Khaled Bahah could replace Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi as president and Saleh’s son, Ahmed Saleh, would take the office of the vice president.
- The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) is attacking oil infrastructure in Libya. ISIS in Libya has reconstituted sufficiently to launch a counter-counter-offensive to destabilize Libya further and create space for its forces to regroup. The Misratan counter-ISIS offensive in Libya degraded ISIS significantly, but did not defeat the group.