Beyond the Wire - 05 December 2017
December 5, 2017
Your daily briefing on the state of the world, and the state of the art for all things Transnational Threats. If you are having trouble viewing the interactive map, please click here. We welcome your feedback! Drop us a line at email@example.com.
South and Central AsiaTaliban Touts Defection of Islamic State ‘Deputy’
The Taliban is using Razzaq’s testimony to encourage more defections from Wilayah Khorasan. But in so doing, the Taliban effectively concedes that Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s followers are not all that different from its own, despite the differences between the two organizations.
(Long War Journal)
Top al-Qaeda Leader Killed in Afghanistan in U.S.-Afghan Operation
Omar bin Khatab was the second most important leader of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent and the most senior leader killed in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led war that ousted the former Taliban rulers in late 2001, said an official with the Afghan National Directorate of Security. (Washington Post)
Singapore-Philippines Urban Warfare Training Kicks Off
East Asia and the Pacific
The launch of the initiative, first announced as part of the city-state’s assistance to Manila to combat the terror threat posed by the Islamic State and its affiliates, is yet another manifestation of ongoing indigenous efforts among Southeast Asian states to build regional capacity on this front. (The Diplomat)
Stopping Militancy Spread in ASEAN a Priority for Singapore
The minister, Vivian Balakrishnan, said the weakening of Islamic State (IS) in the Middle East and the recent occupation of the Philippine town of Marawi by IS-supporting gunmen had renewed concern that the region could become a magnet for militants. (Reuters)
Playing Zone Defense: Niger and the Risk Versus Reward of Remote Operations
Niger’s vast interiors and porous borders provide maneuver space for al Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb, the Islamic State, and Boko Haram. This trio of bad actors merits U.S. attention and, in my opinion, some measured level of military assistance to the African security forces fighting them. (War on the Rocks)
Somalia's Peacekeeping Mission Could be Hurt by Cut in Force Size
The force of 22,000 deployed a decade ago is set to lose 1,000 soldiers this year as part of a long-term plan to pull out of the country and hand security to the Somali army. (Reuters)
Tier III Terrorist Designations: The Trump Administration and Courts Move in Opposite Directions
In October, the Trump administration rescinded Obama-era guidance designed to temper visa denials due to Tier III “terrorist organization” status. The Obama administration implemented automatic “holds,” or delays, on such visa denials while officials higher up the executive branch chain considered whether to grant a discretionary exemption. The new policy does away with these holds, making the denial of application immediate. (Lawfare)
President Saleh is Dead. What's Next for Yemen?
Middle East and North Africa
The death of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh is a turning point for Yemen’s civil war. It will certainly lead to the fragmentation of the alliance between Saleh's network and the Iranian-backed al Houthi movement. It will likely generate additional fracturing in Yemen's already-kaleidoscopic civil war. (Critical Threats Project)
Israeli Missiles Target Syrian Military Facility Near Damascus
Israel in the past has targeted positions of Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah group inside Syria where the Iran-backed group is heavily involved in fighting alongside the Syrian army. (Reuters)
Egyptian Security Forces Kill Five Suspected Militants in Raid
Security forces arrested six other people and seized ammunition and weapons in the operation, a ministry statement said. The statement did not link the militants to any specific group. (Reuters)
Bus Bomb Kills Eight in Syria's Homs City
Islamic State claimed the attack, saying the blast killed 11 members of the Syrian army, its official news agency AMAQ said. (Reuters)
Analysts: Egypt Needs Comprehensive Strategy to Counter Growing Insurgency in Sinai Peninsula
Analysts say the attack on the Sufi mosque indicates that the government's current approach to eradicating terrorism is not successful and the country needs a comprehensive strategy rather than setting a time limit for defeating the growing militancy. (VOA News)
Cordesman: Saleh and the War in Yemen
Saleh's failures to govern left Yemen vulnerable to Al Qaida and ISIS, led to serious tension and some fighting between his government and the Yemenis who were part of the former separate state of South Yemen, and laid the ground work for much of the misery in Yemen. (CSIS)
Islamic State’s ‘Caliphate’ Has Been Toppled in Iraq and Syria. Why Isn’t Anyone Celebrating?
Iraqi and Syrian forces have yet to secure their porous border, which the Islamic State’s ministate once spanned, and are still chasing militants in canyon-filled deserts. Nor has the U.S. military determined its role now that major combat is over, though American and Iraqi officials have suggested a major drawdown of U.S. troops is possible. (Washington Post)
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