MENA BRIEF, SITREP August 26 – September 2: Middle East and Northern Africa Regional Low Intensity Conflicts.
August 30th marked the official beginning of the Hajj pilgrimage, a sacred journey for Muslims worldwide to go to Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. The pilgrimage began with the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha (also known as the Festival of the Sacrifice) at sundown on August 31st. Millions of Muslims will be journeying to Saudi Arabia to participate in the pilgrimage.
In response to the millions of Muslims expected to participate in this years Hajj, Saudi security forces have increased their presence in Mecca. More than 100,000 members from the security forces have been deployed.
Shia opposition groups continue to call for nationwide protests. Throughout the week, the calls have failed to generate any major protests. However, minor arrests have been made by security forces in relation to the Shia opposition’s anti-government actions.
Shia opposition affiliated media outlets, both social and web pages, have claimed several attacks against Bahrain security personnel were carried out. The majority of these claims go unconfirmed by the government, and by mass media.
AUG29, Diraz, Bahrain; Ministry of Interior (MoI) confirmed an opposition media claim that a security patrol vehicle, with police officers inside it, came under attack while on patrol in Diraz. The weapon of choice appears to have been Molotov cocktails. There were no injuries or deaths reported in relations to the attack. The police vehicle was reportedly destroyed.
Security forces continued their nationwide crackdown on safe houses and individuals believed to be affiliated with the Islamic State. The past week saw several raids being carried out, resulting in at least 18 arrests. At least 6 individuals were arrested during raids in Istanbul, and 6 more in Izmir.
Security forces also continued their long standing nationwide crackdown on safe houses and individuals believed to be affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The past week saw several raids being carried out, resulting in at least 20 arrests.
AUG29, Washington D.C., USA; the US Treasury Department released a statement, saying that the “Financial Emir of Mosul”, Salim Mustafa Muhammad al-Mansur, had been added to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorists. The move was carried out in conjunction with the Iraqi government, which seeks “to bar Mansur from the Iraqi financial system and freeze any assets he may have subject to Iraq’s jurisdiction.” The joint statement was released after he was officially determined to have fled to Turkey. The US has provided the Turkish authorities with a list of possible locations of his whereabouts. The list includes Mersin, Istanbul, and Adana.
AUG31, 1401 Street, Ahmet Piristina Boulevard, Buca Koop, Buca, Izmir, Turkey; an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was planted in a trash bin, detonated at 0740 local time while a prison transfer bus was passing by. The bus was damaged in the attack, and 8 individuals on the bus have been described as injured. It remains unclear as to what the intent behind the attack was.
AUG30, New York City, New York, USA; The United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression has expressed concern over Egypt blocking more than 130 news and opinion based websites. The statement by key individuals on the UN panel refers to it as a widening “assault on free speech” in Egypt. “Denying access to websites of all sorts, but especially news sites, deprives all Egyptians of basic information in the public interest,” said David Kaye, of the UN Human Rights Council, and the Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, Fionnuala Ní Aloáin, in a joint statement.
AUG30, Ibb and Taiz governorates, Yemen; At least 15 people have died in parts of central and southern Yemen, primarily in the governorates of Ibb and Taiz. This after after heavy summer rains triggered flash flooding.
LIMA CHARLIE, MENA Desk
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