Tracking Global Terrorism in 2018

Scott Stewart   Scott Stewart – Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Editor’s Note

With the start of a new year, we once again examine the state of the global jihadist movement. Shared from Threat Lens, Stratfor’s unique protective intelligence product, the following column includes excerpts from a comprehensive forecast available to Threat Lens subscribers.

In some ways “the global jihadist movement” is a misleading phrase. Rather than the monolithic threat it describes, jihadism more closely resembles a worldwide insurgency with two competing standard-bearers: al Qaeda and the Islamic State. To make matters more complicated, grassroots extremists have been known to take inspiration from each group’s ideology — and, in some cases, both.

A Yemeni man surveys the aftermath of a bombing in Huta, in the southern province of Lahj, March 27, 2017.



Continue reading


Trump May Push, but Pakistan Won’t Budge

 Re-Blogged From Stratfor

The new year has brought renewed troubles for the already faltering relationship between the United States and Pakistan. On New Year’s Day, U.S. President Donald Trump issued a tweet accusing Pakistan of “lies & deceit” despite receiving $33 billion in U.S. aid for its cooperation in the war in Afghanistan. The next day, the White House announced that it would continue to withhold the $255 million worth of aid that had been earmarked for Pakistan in 2016, citing insufficient action against anti-NATO militants. And on Jan. 4, the White House said it would suspend $900 million in security assistance promised in 2017 and place Pakistan on a list of countries violating religious freedom.

A map shows Afghanistan, Pakistan and the surrounding region.

Turkey Poised to Roll Into Syria

Re-Blogged From Stratfor Worldview

Turkish-backed Syrian rebel fighters advance toward jihadist-controlled Idlib province along the Syria-Turkey border on Oct. 6.


Weeks after Turkish forces started to deploy in large numbers along the border with Syria, adjacent to the province of Idlib, Ankara appears to be on the verge of launching yet another significant military operation into the war-torn country. Unlike Operation Euphrates Shield, which targeted lands occupied by the Islamic State, the upcoming operation into Idlib will be directed toward lands occupied by Syrian rebels. As befitting a convoluted conflict such as Syria, Turkey’s advance into Idlib will be assisted by other Syrian rebel groups trained over time by Turkey in neighboring Aleppo province. And according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest statements, they will be supported by Russian aviation. Continue reading

The Middle East Is Blowing Up

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

Every day brings another scary headline from the Middle East — which makes it easy to treat them as background noise rather than a clear and present danger. But the latest batch is reminiscent of the Balkans circa 1914, which means it may be time to tune back in. Some examples:

A US Navy jet shot down a Syrian warplane. Syria is a Russian client state, so this puts the US and Russia on opposite sides in a shooting war.

Russia warned the US that it takes the destruction of its client’s military assets seriously. It suspended the hot line Washington and Moscow have used to avoid collisions in Syrian airspace and threatened to target US aircraft.

Continue reading

Qatar’s Feud With the Gulf States Reaches New Levels

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Long-standing tensions among members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that intensified over the past two weeks have culminated in several Arab governments suspending relations with Qatar. The current crisis has roots in multiple areas in which GCC states do not see eye to eye, including in their attitudes toward Iran, their manifold perspectives on supporting political Islamists and the degree of economic and strategic rivalries among them.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain announced they would suspend diplomatic relations with Qatar, which has long bucked the Saudi line on condemnation of Iran and support for Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Their declarations were followed by those made by the Tobruk-based House of Representatives government in Libya, which has close ties to the United Arab Emirates and Egypt; the Saudi-backed government of Yemen led by President Abd Rabboh Mansour Hadi; and the Indian Ocean island nations of Mauritius and the Maldives, which have close ties to the Saudi and Emirati governments.

Continue reading

Understanding the Real Threat to Oil Production in the Middle East

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

The last three weeks have brought the world’s biggest oil-producing region back into the headlines. From a crisis in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to the political aftermath of a terrorist attack in Tehran, recent developments have renewed concerns that turmoil in the Middle East could cause havoc in the international oil market. Despite the heightened commotion, however, these concerns are misplaced. More than regional tension, the Islamic State’s activity in southern Iraq — and perhaps southern Iran — presents a serious threat to energy production.

Continue reading