The Critical Threats Project releases a weekly update and assessment on the al Qaeda network.
- The fragmenting of the Yemeni state endangers U.S. policy in Yemen. The former governor of Aden, whom President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi ousted in early May, announced the formation of a transitional political council to govern southern Yemen on May 11. Yemeni military forces allied with the southern transitional political council and forces allied with the Hadi government mobilized. The U.S. supports the re-establishment of a unitary Yemeni state under the Hadi government to limit Iran’s influence and continue partnered counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. [Read “Warning Update: Fracturing of the Yemeni State” for more detail.]
- Al Qaeda encourages supporters to conduct fight-in-place attacks in the West. Hamza bin Laden, the son of former al Qaeda emir Osama bin Laden, advised “lone-wolf” attackers to prepare and refer to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)’s “Inspire” magazine for instructions. Bin Laden’s statement echoes a recent statement by AQAP emir Qasim al Raymi calling on individuals to conduct basic attacks in the U.S. and Europe. [Learn more about the AQAP threat in “A New Model for Defeating al Qaeda in Yemen.”]
- Jama’a Nusrat al Islam wa al Muslimeen (JNIM), an al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb associate operating in Mali, is conducting a campaign to challenge the Malian government and UN peacekeeping forces in northern Mali. The group conducted a series of attacks on military bases in the past two weeks to fix security forces in place. JNIM is also securing freedom of movement in rural areas by intimidating local officials. Four al Qaeda-linked groups merged to form JNIM and set conditions for the current campaign in March 2017. [Learn how AQIM threatens U.S. and European interests in “Warning from the Sahel: Al Qaeda’s Resurgent Threat.”]