The Critical Threats Project releases a weekly update and assessment on the al Qaeda network.
- Al Qaeda celebrated key members of the September 11 attacks to commemorate the sixteenth anniversary of the attacks. Al Qaeda’s al Sahab media wing released the video will of one of the attackers, the first in five years. Al Sahab also released a letter from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the architect of the September 11 attacks, addressed to President Barack Obama in 2015 claiming the attacks were a defensive measure. These propaganda pieces are part of al Qaeda’s effort to reinforce its role as a leader of the Salafi-jihadi movement. [Read Katherine Zimmerman’s landmark report: “America’s Real Enemy: The Salafi-Jihadi Movement.”]
- The partnership between the al Houthi movement and former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh remains strained. Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC) party criticized the al Houthi movement’s attempt to replace Saleh loyalists within the al Houthi-Saleh unity government with al Houthi movement supporters. The al Houthi-Saleh bloc will not fracture while the Saudi-led coalition remains a threat to both groups, though Saleh actively seeks to negotiate terms for a settlement. [Sign up to receive CTP’s Yemen Situation Reports.]
- Kenyan presidential candidates are threatening to escalate civil unrest in the country ahead of the October presidential election. President Uhuru Kenyatta threatened to impeach opposition leader Raila Odinga should Odinga win the presidency after Odinga’s party boycotted the first session of parliament. The current political battle is reminiscent of the 2007 election, which escalated to widespread political unrest. Al Shabaab is conducting an attack campaign against Kenyan forces to sway the election in favor of Odinga, who advocates withdrawing from the counter-al Shabaab mission in Somalia. [Read CTP’s US Counterterrorism Objectives in Somalia: Is Mission Failure Likely?]