Situation Report Threat Update

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The Editors

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Threat Update Situation Report

Authors

The Editors

Latest Edition

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The Critical Threats Project releases a weekly update and assessment on the al Qaeda network.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Competition over Libya’s oil wealth risks reigniting armed conflict between rival governments and distracting from the unfinished counter-ISIS fight. Rival militias clashed over contested oil ports in central Libya as efforts resumed to export oil. Some of these competing militias, backed by the UN-brokered unity government and U.S. airstrikes, are also fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) in the central Libyan city of Sirte. They may prioritize the fight for control of Libya’s oil wealth over the counter-ISIS fight. Continued conflict would strengthen ISIS and other Salafi-jihadi groups operating in Libya, including al Qaeda. [See Frederick W. Kagan and Emily Estelle’s “ISIS Loses Headquarters in Sirte, Libya.”]
  2. Southern Yemeni officials and powerbrokers renewed a call for a unified voice to represent the region in what may be a fissure between them and the internationally recognized government of Yemen under President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. President Hadi does not have a strong constituency and has relied on southern leaders for support for his government, currently based in Aden. Southern Yemenis frequently cite political and economic marginalization by the central Yemeni government as a grievance. Calls for secession from the Yemeni state have been growing since late 2007. The frontline of Yemen’s civil war runs generally along the former boundary between North and South Yemen, re-dividing the country. [Keep up to date on Yemen with CTP’s Situation Reports. For background on Yemen’s Southern Movement, see “Yemen’s Southern Challenge.”]
  3. Ongoing civil unrest in Tunisia may weaken the country’s new unity government and create opportunities for Salafi-jihadi groups, including ISIS and al Qaeda, to strengthen in the country. Popular anti-government demonstrations began spreading after September 5, and Tunisian government concessions briefly held off additional demonstrations. Mass protests resumed in multiple locations, however, and labor strikes are expected to begin within days. The Tunisian government deployed additional security forces to protest sites. Salafi-jihadi militants based in Tunisia and also Libya may be positioned to infiltrate popular demonstrations or conduct attacks in Tunisia if civil unrest grows or protests turn violent. [See Emily Estelle’s “Warning Update: Escalating Protests Threaten Instability in Tunisia.”]