On Thursday, the U.S. government officially added the ISIS affiliates in Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen to the list of designated terrorist organizations.
As CNN observes, this is not so much a change in how the U.S. views the nature of these organizations, as a reassessment of their threat level. Until now, the groups in question have been seen as sympathetic to the Islamic State. Now they are regarded as formal affiliates — which would also imply formal recognition that ISIS holds territory in Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.
“All three affiliates of the Sunni terrorist group have carried out deadly attacks in their countries,” CNN noted. “ISIS in Saudi Arabia has staged attacks on Shiite mosques in the Kingdom and in Kuwait, killing more than 50 people. ISIS in Yemen claimed responsibility for suicide bombings on mosques there that killed more than 120. And ISIS in Libya, which has attacked on government and civilian targets, staged a highly publicized kidnapping and execution of 21 Egyptian Christians.”