Beyond the Wire - 15 JUN 17
June 15, 2017
Your daily briefing on the state of the world and the state of the art for all things Transnational Threats.
Tehran places “no limits” on its efforts to combat Islamic State.
Discussing the ongoing Islamic State siege in Marawi, SecDef Mattis argued that the Special Operations mission in the Philippines ended prematurely in 2015. The operations, which began in 2002, allowed U.S. forces to develop plans and measure the effectiveness of the Philippine forces. (TNT Comment: The Secretary’s comments echo statements about the United States’ early withdrawal from Iraq in 2010 and Afghanistan in 2014. Suppressing terror organizations, and the insurgencies that often harbor them, may require longer-lasting engagements or a re-evaluation of strategic priorities.)
SecDef believes operations in Philippines ended too early.
As the Libyan National Oil Company, Central Bank, and Government of National Accord fight over how to use Libya’s oil to stabilize the economy, the ensuing export shortfalls push militias to violently protect their oil-driven funding. The ensuing competition for resources, which manifests as oil bunkering, theft, and intra-militia violence, hampers the governments’ economic efforts even more. (TNT Comment: The economic disarray in Libya, combined with the various militant groups need for sustainment, makes them vulnerable to influence by external actors and resistant to economic deals that may help stabilize the country.)
Libya’s governance challenges bolster war economy.
Trends in terrorism through 2016. Dr. Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies illuminates global trends in terrorism through 2016 with a focus on the Islamic State and Taliban. (CSIS)
Al Shabaab launches attack on hotel, restaurant. Al Shabaab launched a coordinated SVBIED and gun attack on a hotel and restaurant that killed 19 people and injured 27 in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. (Reuters)
Could Turkey be next after Qatar? Yaroslav Trofimov of the Wall Street Journal contends that Turkey’s alliance and shared interests with Qatar may expose it to criticism from Saudi-led Arab nations. (WSJ)
Erdogan’s dual impetus behind building new mosques. Suzy Hansen and Norman Behrendt contend that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s push to build new mosques in Turkey serves both as a vehicle to promote economic growth and a project to further Islamize the country. (NYT)
United States hemmed in at al Tanf. Daniel Hilton of the Daily Star writes that it is “likely too little too late” for the United States to effectively oust the Islamic State from the Syrian-Iraqi border following the amassment of pro-regime forces northeast of al Tanf. (DailyStar)
Black-market explosives trade thrives in Colombia. Criminal networks in Colombia are now trafficking black-market explosives to gold miners for a considerable profit, seeing it as a “simpler source of revenue than drug trafficking.” (Insightcrime)
Islamic State external capabilities still strong. Institute for the Study of War’s Jennifer Cafarella and Melissa Pavlik contend that Islamic State still maintains strong operational ability outside the caliphate amidst the U.S.’ trouble in ensuring its strategic objectives against the terror organization. (ISW)
Palestinian Authority stops payments to families of suicide bombers. After pressing Palestinian Authority leader Mahmud Abbas during his visit to Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson informed U.S. lawmakers that Palestinian leader has agreed to stop compensating the families of suicide bombers carrying out attacks on Israel. (Al Arabiya)
Iraqi forces fend off Islamic State counterattack. Iraqi security forces killed dozens of Islamic State militants during the salafi-jihadi group’s attempt to seize Mosul’s southern Danadan district. (Daily Star)
Turkey finishes constructing wall on Syrian border. Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik announced that Turkey has completed building a 700-kilometer wall along its border to prevent spill out from Syria into the country. (Hurriyet)
U.K. police arrest man for encouraging terrorism. The U.K. Metropolitan Police counter terrorism command arrested Khalid Javed Baqa from Barking, U.K. and charged the man with the “production and distribution of extremist material encouraging others to commit acts of terrorism.” (BBC)
Houthi rebels purportedly fire missile at Emirati boat. The Arab Coalition fighting the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen accused Houthi militias of firing a missile at a UAE ship after leaving the Yemeni port of al Mokha. (Al Arabiya)
In the Weeds
More on Syria:Syria’s Newest Flashpoint Is Bringing U.S. and Iran Face to Face (WSJ)
Exclusive: U.S. expands presence in Syrian desert, rebels say (Reuters)
‘Most violent’ battles in Raqqa city to date as UN warns of civilian toll (Syriadirect)