- ISIS is returning to coastal Libya as the UN reinvigorates efforts to resolve the country’s political crisis. A recent ISIS video highlighted two attacks on Libyan National Army forces in central Libya. Separately, U.S. airstrikes targeted a site where ISIS had planned external attacks on September 24. New UN Envoy Ghassan Salame seeks to rally rival Libyan factions behind a plan to revise the country’s political agreement and prepare for elections in 2018. [Read Emily Estelle’s analysis of would-be Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar. The Critical Threats Project will publish a recommended strategy for Libya in the coming months.]
- Thousands of Yemenis rallied for the third anniversary of al Houthi-Saleh forces seizing Sana’a and the 55th anniversary of the formation of the Yemen Arab Republic in Sana’a on September 21 and 26, indicating continued strong domestic backing for the al Houthi-Saleh bloc. Al Houthi movement leader Abdul Malik al Houthi echoed Iranian rhetoric during the September 21 rally by framing the Kurdish referendum in Iraq as a Western conspiracy to fracture the Middle East. [Sign up to receive CTP’s Yemen Situation Reports.]
- The Tunisian government is repeating the mistakes that led to the 2011 revolution that overthrew President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali’s regime. Parliament passed several social modernization measures intended to placate the opposition and prevent dissent against legislation that threatens Tunisia’s democracy and empowers regime figures, including the postponement of municipal elections and amnesty for corrupt government officials. The Ben Ali regime also attempted to secure its power by pairing limited modernization with anti-democratic initiatives.