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Lebanon is a second major source of Sunni fighters after Syria’s home-grown and returning jihadists in the current conflict. In another example of ‘blowback’, the Syrian regime is now paying for its fostering of Sunni terrorist factions within northern Lebanon.

Syria | Lebanon
Subscriber

With UN envoy Kofi Annan’s peace effort on the verge of collapse, Sunni Arab and Turkoman opponents of the Assad regime are becoming ever more radicalised, and foreign jihadists are looking to add to Syria’s poisonous blend of communal and factional conflicts. A multifaceted conflict is unfolding which could push Syria into a full civil war, with the capacity to spread sectarian conflict that is filling an increasingly polarised region with alarm

Saudi Arabia | Iraq | Qatar | Syria
Free

Simpler tactics, softer targets and waves of recruits emerging from US detention have led to a resurgence of Al Qaeda in Iraq, demonstrated by the group’s ability to stage major co-ordinated attacks on an increasingly regular basis

Iraq
Subscriber

On 16 February, US director of national intelligence James Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee there were signs Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) fighters may already be fighting in Syria. There is growing evidence to support this view, and growing concern that the conflict in Syria could merge with violence in Iraq to form a single, transnational conflict zone reaching from the Iranian border to the eastern Mediterranean.

Iraq | Syria
Issue 921 - 06 April 2012

Al-Qaeda ramps up activity in Yemen

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There appears to have been a rise in Al-Qaeda activity in Yemen since Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi became president in February (GSN 918/1). Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the related Ansar Al-Sharia group have claimed responsibility for a number of major attacks, and seem to have expanded their operating arena.

Yemen
Free

The situation in Iraq has deteriorated considerably following the 18 December withdrawal of the last US combat forces. Major attacks have killed hundreds of people and raised fears of a return to the sectarian strife that ripped through the country in 2006 and 2007.

Iraq
Issue 918 - 23 February 2012

AQAP’s Tariq Al Dhahab killed

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Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) announced on 19 February, that Tariq Al Dhahab – the man who briefly took control of the town of Radaa in January – had died. According to newspaper reports, Dhahab was killed by his half-brother, Hizam Al Dhahab, who was subsequently killed himself, apparently when another brother, Qaid, blew up their father’s former home, in which Hizam was hiding.

Yemen
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A tougher US stance on Hormuz may usher in a period of greater risk – especially if mounting economic pressures make Iran feel it has little to lose by picking a fight at sea. The USS Abraham Lincoln, one of the US Navy’s flagship aircraft carriers, left the Gulf on 14 February following a 20-day “freedom of navigation” exercise.

Iran
Free

Bahrain was rocked by protests in February and March last year, an uprising largely crushed by security forces and troops. Following the unrest, a report by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) concluded human rights abuses had taken place, including the torture of many of those detained for taking part in protests.

Bahrain
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President Ali Abdullah Saleh has made his long awaited exit, but it is a country in chaos he leaves behind. Militant gains in the south, street protests, gun battles, assassinations and air force mutinies do not build a picture of a nation ripe for political transition, but rather of a Yemen imploding

Yemen
Subscriber

Amid all the talk of war on Iran, it is worth noting that Israeli deputy foreign minister Daniel Ayalon took the time last week to distance his country from any notion of imminent conflict.

Iran
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The Obama administration is cultivating defence ties with GCC states, continuing major arms sales initiated under George W Bush and stepping up military exercises in the region

Iran | Saudi Arabia
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In the wake of the 18 December US troop withdrawal, 2012 opened with the deadliest bombings for more than a year, killing scores of people in and around predominantly Shia targets in Baghdad and the Al Nasiriyah region.

Iraq
Issue 914 - 09 December 2011

The evolution of Asaib Ahl al-Haq

Subscriber

Asaib Ahl al-Haq (League of the Righteous – AAH) is an Iraqi Shia militant movement formed in 2006 by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Qods Force with the help of Lebanese Hizbollah trainers.

Iraq
Subscriber

Despite huge efforts to advance the capability of the Iraqi Air Force, it will be at least four years before an initial 18 F-16s will be operational, leaving Iraq exposed to Iran in the east and, more significantly, Israel in the west

Iraq