On select measures of the Iran threat, the 2018 document is remarkably consistent with themes from past assessments. Yet, in this latest assessment, additional attention is paid to the country’s evolving cyber aptitudes and to its turbulent domestic politics.
The State Department’s announcement that it was going after as-Sabirin, an Iranian-backed splinter faction in Gaza, shows the administration is serious about cutting Iran’s ties to its regional proxies.
The US Treasury Department designated six Taliban-Haqqani figures as terrorists today. Treasury’s identifying information locates five of the six — including three senior Taliban finance officials and the deputy leader of the group’s military commission — inside Pakistan. At least two of the newly-sanctioned men have ties to al Qaeda.
Ansar al Furqan, an al Qaeda-linked jihadist group, claims to have bombed an oil pipeline in the area of Ahvaz, Iran. However, the group’s claim could not be independently verified.
The Houthis claim the missile used was a Burkan-2H, which recent evidence suggests is Iranian-supplied.
At the strategic level, if Iran’s provision of ballistic missiles to the Houthi rebels is confirmed, it could be seen as an indicator Tehran’s increased tolerance for risk in a distant conflict theater, one which has sought to weaken Saudi Arabia by any means possible.
The jihad in Syria has unleashed another leadership crisis for al Qaeda.
On Nov. 17, The Foundation for Defense of Democracies and FDD’s Long War Journal held an event to discuss the findings from the recently released documents from Osama bin Laden’s compound.