04 June 2019
- Al-Qaeda and Islamic State will exploit anger over rumoured execution of Saudi clerics and US peace plan to encourage attacks in coming weeks
- Threat to US and Jewish interests will rise but threat in Western countries will remain largely limited given ongoing strength of security forces’ capabilities
- Western interests in Sahel will face significant threat over coming months after French companies directly named as targets by al-Qaeda commander
Media reports on 21 May said that Saudi Arabia plans to execute three prominent Sunni Islamic scholars in the days following Eid al-Fitr, set to take place around 4-5 June). The three men – Salman al-Odah, Awad al-Qarni and Ali al-Omari – were arrested in 2017 and have been held on terrorism charges. Meanwhile, the US is set to unveil its planned Israeli-Palestinian peace deal – which President Trump has described as the “deal of the century” – on 25 and 26 June at a conference in Bahrain.
Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda’s propaganda regularly highlights issues that are emotive for both their jihadist supporters and the wider global Islamic community, particularly concerning the Palestinians’ efforts to secure independent statehood, in order to boost support and attract recruits. Saudi Arabia’s own harsh treatment of Islamists, including scholars who have spoken out against Government policy – particularly its firm backing of the US foreign…