Monthly Archives: October 2016

Tuareg leader honored in eulogy attributed to Mokhtar Belmokhtar

On Oct. 9, a statement attributed to Mokhtar Belmokhtar was circulated online. The message eulogizes Sheikh Ag Aoussa, a prominent Tuareg leader who was reportedly killed in an explosion after attending a meeting at a UN camp in Mali. The statement’s author, presumably Belmokhtar, blames France for Aoussa’s death and calls on tribes to turn against the French.

US strikes three radar sites in Houthi-controlled part of Yemen

The US military launched missile strikes on three radar sites in a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen. The strikes came in response to two attacks on the USS Mason earlier this week. The Houthis’ insurgency in Yemen is backed by Iran and has greatly complicated US counterterrorism efforts.

Number of suicide attacks claimed by the Islamic State dipped in September

The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency claims that the so-called caliphate launched 53 “martyrdom operations” in Iraq and Syria in September. This is less than any previous month in 2016. But the Islamic State has claimed 782 suicide bombings in Iraq, Syria and Libya during the first nine months of 2016, for an average of 87 per month. If accurate, this is a historically high rate.

Qassem Soleimani: Islamic State was created to fight Iran

Two top officials from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force (IRGC-QF) delivered remarks commemorating the most senior IRGC commander killed in Syria last year. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the IRGC-QF, spoke about the strategic importance of Syria, and claimed that the Islamic State was established with the goal of threatening Iran.

Pentagon confirms Egyptian al Qaeda veteran was killed in airstrike

The Pentagon has confirmed that Ahmed Salama Mabrouk was killed in an Oct. 3 airstrike in Syria’s Idlib province. According to Defense Department Press Secretary Peter Cook, Mabrouk was “one of Al Qaeda’s most senior leaders” and his death is “a blow to their ability to plot external attacks.” Mabrouk was one of the most senior officials in Jabhat Fath al Sham, al Qaeda’s rebranded branch in Syria.

Taliban promotes yet another jihad training camp

The Taliban’s “Real Men” video contradicts many of its public statements where the group claims it only seeks to liberate Afghanistan from occupation. Instead, it makes it clear that the Taliban views itself as a defender of Islam and part of the global jihad.

US steps up attacks against AQAP

The US has targeted AQAP’s network in Yemen at least four times in September, and 28 times so far this year, according to data compiled by The Long War Journal.

How the Iran nuclear deal enriches the IRGC

The influence and reach of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Iran’s economy and military is so extensive that it stands to be a primary beneficiary of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, according to a report issued yesterday by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Yemeni Houthis fire at ship with Iranian-supplied missile

On Saturday, Yemeni Houthi rebels fired projectiles against an Emirati military vessel in the strategic Mandeb Strait. The U.S. Navy has dispatched three warships to the area. U.S. officials say Iran supplied “shoulder-fired rockets.” [Update: military experts say this claim is inconsistent with footage from the video and damage to the vessel]

Taliban forces enter Kunduz city center

Taliban forces have entered the city of Kunduz once again. In late September 2015, the Taliban and its jihadist allies captured the city and briefly held it before being forced to retreat to the surrounding areas.

Emir of the Islamic State in Iran reportedly killed

An Iranian media outlet citing unnamed sources has claimed that security forces have killed the designated emir of the Islamic State in Iran. The narrative matches some of the accounts of an operation confirmed by authorities last month. Iranian officials and major news outlets, however, have not commented on the latest claims.