- Key Iranian regime players’ meetings with senior Syrian and Iraqi government officials and the Hezbollah Secretary General may signal Iranian efforts to bring more force to bear in defense of Assad and Baghdad against the growing ISIS threat. The Supreme Leader’s senior foreign policy advisor Ali Akbar Velayati met with Lebanese Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in Lebanon before meeting with Syrian President Bashar al Assad in Damascus, Syria while Iran’s defense minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al Abadi in Baghdad, Iraq. IRGC Qods Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani also levied criticism directly against the United States for not stopping ISIS.
- Al Houthi attacks on Saudi territory will continue to antagonize Saudi Arabia and will decrease the likelihood that warring factions will participate in political negotiations in the near future. The al Houthis fired rockets at populated locations within Saudi Arabia and raided Saudi Arabian border posts over the past week. An al Houthi-affiliated TV channel ran video footage of al Houthis allegedly firing into Saudi Arabia. UN-sponsored talks in Geneva announced last week have been delayed.
- Al Shabaab continues to demonstrate its capability to conduct attacks within Kenya and carried out multiple attacks, including temporarily seizing territory, in northern Kenyan over the week. Al Shabaab militants took control of a mosque in Garissa county in Kenya and spoke to the congregation, which was held hostage, before fleeing ahead of security forces and also briefly held a town close to the border with Somalia. This is the first time the group has carried out such activities in Kenya.