Global Terrorism Threat Analysis – August 2019
In the Americas, concerns remained of individuals linked to Middle Eastern militant groups attempting to operate in South America. In Brazil, suspected al-Qaeda militant of Egyptian extraction was found living in the country. The individual is wanted for planning attacks in the USA in 2013. In Peru, a militant linked to the Islamic State (IS) was arrested in Lima. The individual was suspected of attempting to attack the Pan American Games.
In Asia, the Indian government’s decision to change the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the former state drew significant attention from separatist militant groups. This presages a potentially renewed focus on attacks in the region in the coming months. Transnational jihadist groups such as Islamic State Hind Province (ISHP) will seek to tap into current disaffection over the decision to bolster recruitment. Meanwhile, IS released a video featuring its operatives in Bangladesh. This will spark concerns regarding a low-level revival of its interests in the country through its extant network of sympathizers.
In Europe, IS-linked telegram groups remain the primary method of disseminating propaganda among radicals and sympathizers. In the Netherlands, groups called for attacks in response to the implementation of the burqa ban. They singled out politician Geert Wilders and a church in North Holland. In France, prison inmates were arrested after attempting to plan an attack, underscoring the continuing trend of radicalization in European prisons. In Spain, IS-linked media released posts calling on individuals to attack a judge who had been presiding over militancy cases, releasing private information indicating the judge is being followed.
In the Middle East and North Africa, IS claimed to have conducted an attack in Damascus, which is indicative of its intent and interest in undermining the fragile stability in the capital despite the absence of operations there since May 2018. IS further released a video from Tunisia as part of its global “The Best Outcome is for the Pious” series, exposing the relatively small number of fighters in the country and their geographical spread, particularly in the western mountains. Lastly, both IS and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) conducted notable attacks in Yemen throughout the month, highlighting the current heightened Jihadi activity in the country, which is liable to increase further in the coming months.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, two new videos were released in the IS series in which militants renewed their pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Notably, IS in Somalia leader Abdulkadir al-Mumin was seen for the first time in three years, with the video likely aimed at local competitor al-Shabaab. In the relatively new IS Central Africa Province, footage placed the militants more definitively in DRC, though the group’s presence in Mozambique remains limited. Finally, in West Africa, al-Qaeda affiliate Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam waal Muslimeen (JNIM) claimed an attack on a joint French-UN military base in Mali that underscores their capabilities as well as the persistent message against international forces.