Nigeria Teeters on the Brink: 8 Terrifying Trends

bokoPJ Media, By Patrick Poole, December 18, 2014:

For much of its five-year long insurgency in Nigeria costing thousands of lives, Boko Haram enjoyed no sanction by the U.S. government. That changed just over a year ago when they were finally designated a terrorist organization by the State Department.

That notwithstanding, Boko Haram continues to expand its terror campaign across the north of the country, now controlling an area the size of Maryland.

On the other side of the conflict is the hapless administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, which so far has been unable to mount any substantive opposition to Boko Haram’s advance. With presidential elections looming in February and with Jonathan most likely running for reelection, there appears to be no effective political counterweight that can put Nigeria on a course to mount a counter-offensive against Boko Haram.

The strategic stakes involved for the U.S. are extraordinary, but you would never be able to gauge that from the absence of any alarm from the Obama administration or from either side of the aisle in Congress. Not only does Nigeria have the continent’s largest population at 173 million and the largest economy in Africa, it also is the10th largest oil producer in the world.

With a failed Libyan state (thanks in no small part to the Obama administration), Egypt — the world’s largest Arab country — fighting its own counterinsurgency in the Sinai, and Islamist insurgencies inflamed from Nigeria to Kenya, the loss of Nigeria to jihadists could be the tipping point to lose the whole of Africa.

With those factors in mind, here are eight disturbing trends that warrant immediate attention for Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram.

1) Religious cleansing of Christians is escalating: It’s remarkable that not even two years ago senior State Department officials were denying before Congress that there was any religious dimension to Boko Haram’s reign of terror.

Nigerian churches, which should be open and inviting, are now having to install crash barriers and metal detectors. And yet within just the past few months, more than 1,000 churches have been ransacked and burned, and hundreds of thousands of Christians are being driven from their homes.

For instance, in one October offensive in just two northeastern states, Boko Haram reportedly burned down 185 churches and forced 190,000 to flee. Last month they attacked Mubi, the second largest city in Adamawa state, killing hundreds and destroying as they went. Without the slightest hint of hypocrisy, Boko Haram renamed the city “Madinatul Islam,” meaning, “city of Islam and peace.”

2) Massive population displacement: According to a UN press release, the attack on Mubi displaced 13,000 Nigerians, who were forced to flee to neighboring Cameroon, which is struggling to accommodate nearly 50,000 Nigerian refugees and another 250,000 from the Central African Republic with extremely scarce resources. Another 100,000 refugees have fled to Niger, with 30,000 arriving just in the past two months. There’s no guarantee of safety in taking refuge in neighboring countries, as Boko Haram has staged cross-border attacks. Inside Nigeria, it was reported that 400,000 refugees are in the Yolo area, severely taxing the city’s resources. Overall, 1.5 million Nigerians have been displaced by the violence, with 650,000 in the northeast alone.

3) Disease and famine loom: The massive displacement has strained refugee centers past the breaking point. Conditions in the camps are universally reported to be unsanitary and breeding grounds for cholera and measles. Because resources are stretched so thin, most refugees are left to fend for themselves for shelter, food, and water. As winter begins to set in, observers on the ground I have spoken to in the past few weeks warn of possible mass starvation in the months ahead.

Food prices are high and most refugees left their homes with nothing and have no reliable income. Because of the security situation, few relief agencies have a permanent operating presence in the most heavily affected areas. UN and private relief agencies are requesting additional funds, and yet the Strategic Response Plan for Nigeria launched in February was just 14 percent funded by mid-November.

4) Power grab by Muslim militias: In recent weeks there have been efforts by Islamic authorities and the emirs to stand up Muslim militias in the north, ostensibly to fight Boko Haram. But there’s no guarantee that these militias will always be opposed to Boko Haram, particularly if they continue to advance against government forces (this has been true for rebel groups in Syria that were initially opposed to ISIS and other hardline jihadist groups, but ended up allying with or defecting to these same groups).

And it should be noted that Boko Haram has not been the only actor targeting Christians in the north. Muslim militias have been attacking Christian areas for years. Observers on the ground express concern that the real-world effect of these militias will be to create a parallel system to the Nigerian government and eventually grab power in the north. Many Muslims in the north would love to break away from the political influence and governmental control of the Nigerian government, where they are forced to share power with the Christian majority. Thus, many of these calls for Muslim militias by Islamic authorities are couched in openly anti-government rhetoric.

5) Targeting of children: When nearly 300 school girls were abducted from Chibok in April, it grabbed the world’s attention. Some were able to flee, but reportedly 219 remain captive. Last month, Boko Haram chief Abubakar Shekau said that the girls had converted to Islam and had been married off. When Boko Harm stormed the town of Lassa on December 3, they carried away 20 more girls.

But while girls are targeted for abduction, boys are targeted for killing. Just last month, dozens of young men were killed when a suicide bomber dressed as a student bombed a morning assembly. This targeting of school-age boys is a pattern for Boko Haram, such as when they attacked a boarding school in Yobe state back in February where boys were shot, had their throats slit, or were burned alive when their dorms were set on fire.

6) Women suicide bombers: Last Wednesday, two young girls in hijabs conducted a dual suicide bombing in a high-traffic textile market in Kano city, the largest city in the north. Another 13-year-old girl was found wearing an explosive vest just hours later. Boko Haram is using young female suicide bombers at an increasing and disturbing rate, thoughthis tactic is not isolated to their operations in Nigeria and has been endorsed elsewhere by preeminent Islamic scholars like Yusuf al-Qaradawi. The use of female suicide bombers requires security forces to target women as well as men, and then the terror group is able to use the “abuse” of women being searched as a propaganda ploy. What is especially troubling is a VICE News report last week that indicated that Boko Haram has dispatched 50 female suicide bombers in the hopes of inflicting 100,000 casualties.

7) Jihadist jail breaks: ISIS has used jail breaks to effective use in Iraq, busting out al-Qaeda operatives of the infamousAbu Ghraib prison last year and Mosul and Tikrit earlier this year. Those released have helped swell the terror group’s ranks. So too with Boko Haram, which staged a jail break earlier this month that released 300 prisoners, and one on Sunday that freed another 200. The BBC reported in November that Boko Haram jail breaks had at that time freed 2,251 prisoners, and that they had launched an attack on a French cement plant and recovered a large cache of dynamite that could be used for future jail breaks. With thousands of Boko Haram operatives and supporters presently in jails, along with hardened criminals conditioned to violence, targeting more jails will continue to swell their ranks.

8) Government impotence: One of the primary factors emboldening these power grabs has been the ineffectiveness of the Nigerian military to roll back Boko Haram’s gains. Relatively few small scale victories by government forces are overshadowed by continuing gains by Boko Haram. To mask the problem, the Nigerian government has issued a media blackout in many of these areas and imposed a moratorium on foreign media visas. While President Jonathan’s administration has come under fire for not adequately protecting its own people, it has seemed to be more concerned about its public relations in Washington, D.C. than in regaining the public trust of its own citizens.

A study published this week by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization found that Boko Haram was responsible for 801 deaths last month alone, with more people killed by terror attacks in Nigeria than in Syria or Afghanistan.

NBC News noted last week that Boko Haram’s violence is now on par with ISIS in Iraq, which is why in 2013 Nigeria climbed to fourth in the Global Terrorism Index, up from seventh in 2012 and twelfth in 2011. According to the Council on Foreign Relations tracker, the violence in Nigeria from May 2011 (when President Jonathan came into office) to November 2014 has claimed more than 26,000 lives. Now there are reports that Nigerian special forces have uncovered plans by Boko Haram to expand their attacks by targeting 25 communities in five different states.

But you would never know how desperate the situation is in Nigeria in light of the absence of any urgency or alarm from the Obama administration or from Congress.

It’s worth repeating: Congress had to drag a reluctant Clinton State Department kicking and screaming to get Boko Haram designated in November 2013. Members of Congress also discovered earlier this year that the Clinton State Department intentionally lied and downplayed the threat from Boko Haram, and worked to kill bills in both the House and the Senate calling for their designation in 2012.

At the same time, 21 American academics sent a letter to Hillary Clinton strongly arguing against Boko Haram’s designation in response to the Department of Justice’s National Security Division urging the State Department to do so.

But the November 2013 designation of Boko Haram and the offensives by ISIS in Syria and Iraq have allowed Congress to get distracted as well.

There are considerable national security and other strategic interests for the United States in Nigeria. But as the country teeters on the brink in the face of Boko Haram advances, Washington, D.C. is asleep at the wheel. The risks of inattention and inaction in Nigeria threaten to jeopardize the whole of Africa.

The Global Jihad

3682902893By Olivier Guitta:

“Islamic extremism is a Middle East problem but it is quickly becoming the world’s problem too.  It is a transnational challenge, the most destabilizing and dangerous global force since fascism. For certain, the United States and the West have a big interest in this battle.  Now is the time to act.

Any action must begin with a clear plan for direct intervention against ISIS but must address the other dangerous extremist groups in the region.  It is also critical to tackle the support networks, the entire militant ideological and financial complex that is the lifeblood of extremism.”

Who uttered these words? President Obama, PM Cameron or President Hollande? Actually, none of them; it was the UAE Ambassador to the U.S., Yousef Al Otaiba, speaking in September 2014.

From 2001 and a time when Al-Qaeda (AQ) was perceived as our main enemy, the jihadist movement has grown in strength and in numbers. The violent jihad groups we now face include the Islamic State, Boko Haram, al Shabaab, Ansar al Sharia, al Murabitun, Ansar al Dine and AQ itself, which has expanded significantly with franchises in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), East Asia, and now the new Indian franchise as well.

Nor is the threat limited to Sunni groups but includes Shia terror outfits such as Hezbollah that, under Iranian sponsorship, are still very much active on an international scale and will stop at nothing to strike terror against the West. Geographically, the threat has grown from an Afghanistan-centered one to one that spans the globe, with a jihadist presence on nearly every continent.

The Global Jihad should be viewed from two different, but related perspectives: first, the most obvious is the doctrinally-mandated conquest of physical territory in all theaters of war; second, and just as important, is the conquest of our societies from within by way of the civilizational jihad challenges that we face. Therefore, it’s not enough to merely look at terrorist groups, because the role of intellectuals, propaganda operatives, and recruiters is actually at the root of the problem. Jihad groups should be viewed and approached through that prism.

Fighting against the global jihad cannot be effective if focused only on the “armies” but must also confront the “brains” behind them: let’s not forget that inciting terrorism has a multiplying effect.

The Islamic State

Surging to power across national borders in 2014, the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has become a household name and supplanted al-Qaeda (AQ) as the vanguard of the global jihadist movement. ISIS announced in June 2014 the establishment of a new Caliphate in Syria and Iraq and changed its name to the “Islamic State (IS)” to signify its global ambitions, claim the allegiance of Muslims everywhere, and emphasize its non-recognition of Western-drawn political boundaries. It also seeks allegiance from jihadist group worldwide and rapidly is winning support from Muslim followers and recruits from over 80 countries around the world.

IS victories in Syria and its spectacular advances in Iraq from Mosul to the fringes of Baghdad, and even advancing to the Saudi and Jordanian borders, have made IS the new “kid on the block”. In mid-September 2014, its Chechen members threatened to march on Amman, Jordan’s capital, while Saudi’s military forces are on high alert for advances toward Mecca and Medina.

By calling itself the Islamic State with no mention of countries, IS leader al-Baghdadi is seeking to bring to his fold all groups that view al-Zawahiri’s brand as passé and see al-Baghdadi as the true inheritor of Osama Bin Laden’s global vision. This is why in the past months, thousands of jihadists around the world announced they were switching allegiances to the Islamic State. The Islamic State’s fighters are young, fluent on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, and, unlike al-Qaeda, they are actually setting up the Caliphate and governing captured territory.

Read more at Center for Security Policy

Olivier Guitta is a security and geopolitical risk consultant to corporations and governments. He tweets@OlivierGuitta.

Islamic State spreading into northern Africa, alarming U.S.

Islamic State 5 year territorial expansion plan

Islamic State 5 year territorial expansion plan

By Guy Taylor:

In its war to create a caliphate across Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State is opening a front in North Africa, where affiliated militants are wreaking havoc in eastern Libya and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula — presenting a complex challenge for Washington and its allies in the region.

Through its savvy use of social media and slick production of recruitment videos, the Islamic State — also known by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL — is attracting a growing number of individual jihadis to its harsh interpretation of Islamic, or Shariah, law.

“ISIL’s stated goal of expanding its caliphate and its adherence to a strict form of Shariah has definitely resonated with a collection of extremists across North Africa, who appear to be mimicking ISIL’s rhetoric and brutality,” said a U.S. intelligence official who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss security issues freely.

What remains to be seen is whether the region will face a surge of unbridled Islamic State-style violence, including beheadings. Counterterrorism analysts say there is little doubt of that — especially in Libya, where the government is under threat of being overrun by militants, and in Egypt, where the military has struggled to contain Sinai extremists for years.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that the Islamic State is going to commit and claim responsibility for an increasing number of attacks in North Africa, both in Libya and in the Sinai during the year ahead,” said Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington.

“But it’s not yet clear how it’s going to play out,” Mr. Joscelyn said. “If they go in the direction of more horror killings the way the Islamic State is doing in Syria and Iraq, they may go after Christians and others, and that could end up triggering sectarian violence in Egypt. But that remains to be seen.”

The U.S. intelligence community regards the Islamic State as the world’s most violent terrorist organization, and officials say its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, sees himself as a kind of Osama bin Laden figure.

But Mr. Joscelyn, who writes about the Islamic State for the Long War Journal, says al-Baghdadi has had limited success in persuading jihadi groups around the world to abandon bin Laden’s core al Qaeda movement and join his caliphate.

“You have to understand the context here that al-Baghdadi and his minions have made a huge push over the last year to basically try and co-opt or win the allegiance of all these jihadi groups around the world — basically saying, ‘Hey, everybody needs to sign on with us now because we’re the strong horse,'” said Mr. Joscelyn. “But that effort was, for the most part, a total failure. The Islamic State was actually rejected far more than they were accepted.”

Where the group has had success is among young jihadists seeking to distinguish themselves from their elders by declaring “baya,” or pledging allegiance, to al-Baghdadi. That seems to be occurring most often in eastern Libya and the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.

Early this month, a group of militants claiming to control the Libyan town of Darna — long a hotbed of al Qaeda-inspired extremism between Benghazi and Libya’s border with Egypt — declared allegiance to al-Baghdadi.

Read more at Washington Times

Also see:

Boko Haram: Growing Interest, Continuing Uncertainty on Capitol Hill

By Andrew E. Harrod:

About 90 Congressional staffers filled a Dirksen Senate Office Building hearing room last May 28 for “Boko Haram:  Beyond #BringBackOurGirls,” a Foreign Policy Initiative briefing on Nigeria’s Muslim terrorist group.  While the audience was “telling how much interest has grown in this group” for panelist Dr. J. Peter Pham of the Atlantic Council, the briefing indicated several complicated issues in the struggle against Boko Haram.

Abubakar Shekau, leader of Islamic terror group Boko Haram

Abubakar Shekau, leader of Islamic terror group Boko Haram

A rescue operation for these girls “just makes no sense,” the Atlantic Council’s Rudolph Atallah specifically commented, as their scattering makes success “next to impossible.”  Previous rescue operations in Nigeria and the region had ended in hostage deaths, concurred Blanchard, perhaps necessitating negotiations for the girls’ release.  These failures were part of wider panelist concerns with respect to Nigerian security forces, often ill-equipped and counterproductively harsh in their tactics.  Nigeria’s army actually “is not a poor and starving military,” Blanchard argued, yet corruption often consumed needed resources.  Nigeria had purchased nine Israeli Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), for example, but they currently do not operate.The April 14 Boko Haram kidnapping of 276 schoolgirlsin Chibok, Borno state, is “really only a drop in the bucket” of Boko Haram’s bloody record, although Boko Haram’s recent international notoriety largely derived from this event, Pham observed.  Boko Haram had caused 4-6,000 deaths, noted Laureen Ploch Blanchardfrom the Congressional Research Service (CRS).  The United Nations (UN) estimated six million people affected by Boko Haram’s violence in an “incredibly important country” with Africa’s largest economy and population (about 180 million). Alone Nigeria’s Muslim population was Africa’s largest Muslim community and one of the largest in the world, observed Pham.

Divergence, however, marked panelist discussions of Boko Haram’s character.  Boko Haram is a “branch of Al Qaeda that is in Africa,” Kansas Representative Mike Pompeo flatly declared in introducing the panel.  Boko Haram’s “evil barbarians” who kidnapped the Chibok girls were part of a “threat of global jihadists” facing America, recently manifested by a foiled 2013 bomb plot in Wichita close to Pompeo’s home.  A “larger, more diverse” Al Qaeda (AQ) in places like Nigeria and Syria is threatening the United States “at a full gallop,” making Nigeria an “enormous American national security interest.”  AQ has indeed “metastasized,” as President Barack Obama often says, yet contradicting Obama, AQ has become more dangerous, not less.

“Marked by economic deprivation,” by contrast, was Pham’s description for Boko Haram’s origins in northeastern Nigeria, raising thereby past controversies concerning whether material need or Muslim zeal was a greater motivation for Boko Haram.  While a “great bit of economic angst” resulted for this region from, for example, lost textile jobs, the area’s “ethnically marginalized” Kanuri tribe also had political grievances against a negligent federal government.  “Boko Haram 2.0” emerging in 2009 and “increasingly virulent,” though, has a “more standard Salafist line” while Boko Haram’s current leader Abubakar Shekau has made video appearances in “classic Al Qaeda fashion.”

Read more at Religious Freedom Coalition

Also see:

Exclusive: Nigerian Security Forces Infiltrated by Boko Haram

boko-haram-Reuters (1)by JORDAN SCHACHTEL:

Breitbart News had the exclusive opportunity to sit down with Lt. Col. Rudy Atallah, former head of African counterterrorism for the Pentagon to discuss Boko Haram and Islamist movements in Africa.

Rudolph Atallah is the former Africa Counterterrorism Director for the Department of Defense. He retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel after 21 years of service in the United States Air Force. Atallah is now a Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council & CEO of White Mountain Research.

Breitbart News: Why has it been difficult to counter Boko Haram?

Rudy Atallah: Boko Haram is split into several factions run by different leaders. Also, Boko Haram has been used as a pawn in Nigerian politics. Three days ago there was a Nigerian internal investigation of nine generals and senior military officers all suspected of aiding and abetting Boko Haram. The officers were suspected of giving them weapons, access to the armories, and information on government tactics and targeting. It is very difficult to counter an organization when internally, within the Nigerian structure, there are political, militarily, and logistical issues.

Nigeria is considered a leader in the region. They’ve led ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) missions, they are part of the African Union community, they do peacekeeping missions all over the place. Nigeria is a powerful country. There is also a national pride element when you have such events occur on your own soil. The Nigerians historically have been more hesitant on taking external support and more bent on saying, “We can take care of this issue ourselves.” Boko Haram is resilient because they operate across national borders. When the Nigerian military comes in, Boko Haram tends to move over to countries such as Cameroon and Niger, so that makes it especially difficult to target them.

Breitbart News: Tell us about Boko Haram’s leadership structure under Abubakar Shekau.

Rudy Atallah: Several years ago it was understood that Boko Haram had a Shura council made up of 13 members. Above that Shura council was Shekau as the main leader, and the Shura council members all operated independently in separate areas. The leaders’ communications were very discreet and each ran their own cell. The Nigerians claimed at one point that they had killed Shekau, but then he resurfaced. There are also reports that Shekau was previously wounded. Because of the various reports, it remains unclear how Boko Haram is currently re-structured.

Some believe that there are three main leaders. Shekau is seen as one of them, although there are some that argue Shekau may have been pushed to the outside. There is the possibility Shekau may independently run his own group or cell of Boko Haram. There are other individuals that are also running their own branches of Boko Haram. They merge together in order to do one operation and then they will separate and go their own ways.

There’s no real solid evidence to narrow down Boko Haram’s current structure. The intelligence coming from the area where Boko Haram actually operates is miniscule. A lot of the information comes from prior kidnap victims, from NGOs that operate in the area, and from people that were attackedby Boko Haram. Jacob Zenn, whom I respect and consider to be a very a good resource, just wrote a piece where he claimed that several Boko Haram factions come together in a federation for major attacks such as the recent kidnapping of the Nigerian schoolgirls. This leads me to believe that these guys are now branched off. While they used to be one solid Shura council, right now that may be in question.

Breitbart News: What is stopping the Nigerian forces from rescuing the kidnapped schoolgirls?

Rudy Atallah: Its the complexity of the potential rescue. Its now understood that the schoolgirls have been split up in different areas. You can’t mount a rescue operation of one group of schoolgirls and potentially put the rest of them in danger in another location. By not engaging in an all-encompassing strategy, the result could end in tragedy.

A rescue operation for the girls should have occurred immediately after they were kidnapped in mid-April, but that never happened. Nobody started talking about a potential rescue operation until weeks afterwards, which is way too late.

Read more at Breitbart

Boko Haram and the return of the Nigerian slave trade

747c913f8ff754bfb2ebce61e3adf517_viewBy Geoffrey Clarfield:

Last week the Nigerian Islamic militants, Boko Haram, struck again in a small town in northern Nigeria near the Cameroonian border, killing 300 people. This is part of a series of escalating attacks such as the one they carried out last August, as the men of Konduga, a small northern Nigerian riverine Muslim community, were attending their Friday prayers. As they prayed, a group of armed Boko Haram terrorists attacked the mosque and killed 44 worshippers. The next day, as is their custom, Boko Haram released a video where they vilified and taunted the United States and Israel.

And then, just a few weeks ago, Boko Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls and boasted on the Internet that they were going to sell them into slavery, something that has suddenly shocked the world, for few have fully realized that this means that we are witnessing the return of the Nigerian slave trade.

Given the extreme violence and the high death toll of Islamic uprisings in places like Syria and Iraq, the Western public has become accustomed to hearing about an ebb and flow of religiously inspired massacres, but it is the proud slaving propensities of Boko Haram that are a shock to the news reading public and, the fact that they openly boast about it. There is more to this story than meets the eye.

Western readers have difficulty understanding who Boko Haram are, where they come from and what they mean in the context of Nigerian history, for Nigeria is really two distinct countries, a Muslim north and a non Muslim south. These two distinct cultural and religious entities were artificially fused by the British empire in the late 19th and early 20th century in what historians now call the “scramble for Africa,” a period of about forty years when England, France, Portugal, Belgium and Germany occupied almost all of North and Sub Saharan Africa. Most of the members of Boko Haram hail from the northern Islamic states of what later became the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

What we now call Nigeria is the result of English merchants, and later imperial civil servants contracting treaties with a host of African chiefs and then linking them into a colonial framework which set the stage for the large African independence movements that emerged after WWII, motivated by western educated African elites who had witnessed a world war where the supposedly racially “superior” Europeans fought to the death with the help of hundreds of thousands of African and Asian troups. Indeed, it was the French General De Gaulle who once said that without the assistance of the African soldiers of French West and Central Africa, they would not have prospered in their fight against the German Nazis.

When the British established their administrative and military control over Nigeria in the early 20th century, they froze a historical dynamic that had been ongoing for over a thousand years, that is the slow conversion to Islam of the sahelian dwelling northern tribes of Nigeria, such as the Hausa and Kanuri peoples who lived under a range of feuding emirs or local sultans and who then, as sincere believers in Islam, adopted a Jihad which included systematic enslavement and sale of captives from the more southern non Muslim tribes, such as the Yoruba, Ibo and many others who lived nearer to the Atlantic ocean.

This indigenous African slave trade which supplied northerners with an abundance of concubines, cheap domestic help and farm based slave labor, was then incorporated into the more widely known transatlantic slave trade where “up country” West Africans raided and sold slaves to “down country” West Africans, who in turn sold them in growing numbers to Europeans who took them across the Atlantic to the United States and to countries like Brazil, where legalized forms of slavery survived into the 1880s. The northern Nigerian slave trade never stopped, even when the British made it illegal and long before historians brought to our attention the full horror of the transatlantic slave trade that has so dramatically changed the demography of the new world, both north and south and, our perceptions of American and South American history.

Read more at The Times of Israel

 

 

Jerome Vitenberg: France Aims to Destroy African Militias

victims of Boko Haram2By Ryan Mauro:

Jerome Vitenberg is an analyst of international politics and taught International Relations and Political Science for the London School of Economics through the University of London’s International Programsat DEI College Greece.

In a column last month, Vitenberg wrote that France’s involvement in the war-torn Central African Republic is part of a strategy to assemble a bloc of liberal democracies in Africa. He explains that France wants to create what he himself has termed the “Doula-Djibouti Corridor” across Africa, although France has never used this term.

CAR’s population is 80% Christian, but an Islamist campaign of violence is causing mayhem and the deaths of over 1,000 civilians and displacement of over 500,000 people. Unfortunately, some Christians have responded with their own militias that have engaged in retaliatory violence.

The following is Vitenberg’s interview with Ryan Mauro, Clarion Project National Security Analyst:

You should read the entire interview at but I want to focus on this part because it speaks to the most often asked question I see: Why do government officials tolerate and appease Islamists even when they are fully aware of their agenda?

Clarion: What is the official stance of France and other European countries towards the Muslim Brotherhood and, specifically, its role in Egypt?

Vitenberg: The French and other European intelligence agencies are fully informed about the jihadist goals and malicious strategies of the Muslim Brotherhood and affiliated organizations.

On the other hand, the political echelons have shown a policy of appeasement towards those organizations within their countries. Each European country has a different theoretical understanding and practical methodology towards its dealings with Muslim organizations, especially the Muslim Brotherhood.

These differences result from how the various states relate to minority groups, the relationship with the minorities’ representative groups and, more generally, the concept of the relationship between the state and the individual.

There is a blatant contrast between the well-known intolerance of the Muslim Brotherhood ideology towards non-Muslim states and societies and the laissez-faire policy of the European governments towards the Brotherhood. There are several hypotheses about the political elites in Europe.

In some cases, the political echelons are naïve and believe in appeasement of jihadist organizations. Their normative and idealist approach prevents them from listening to their security and intelligence agencies.

CJR: See The Cognitive Dissonance of the Progressive World View on Islam

Political elites may be victims of political blackmail that leads to a quiet understanding with the Muslim Brotherhood organizations in their countries. The understanding is that the European government lets the Islamists operate and the Islamists will keep quiet and not cause too much trouble.

The political elites may also be bribed, possibly via financial donations (e.g. from Qatar) for specific national projects or due to corruption with funding deposited into secret bank accounts.

CJR: See John Guandolo: The Muslim Brotherhood in America – We are at war and we are losing, specificallyPart III – The settlement process

There might be more explanations, but I believe that stupidity, fear and greed summarize why politicians are letting the Brotherhood manipulate individuals and families as a first step and societies and governments later.

CJR: see Western Arrogance and Decline  by Bruce Thornton at Front Page

Virginia: Government case collapses, Somali “pirate” seeks asylum in US

Courts says Ali Mohamed Ali not a pirate, now seeking asylum in US! http://thesomalian.com/us-dropping-case-against-man-accused-of-piracy/

Courts says Ali Mohamed Ali not a pirate, now seeking asylum in US!
http://thesomalian.com/us-dropping-case-against-man-accused-of-piracy/

Refugee Resettlement Watch, by Ann Corcoran:

The case against a middle-aged English-speaking “pirate” ended and now the question becomes, can Ali Mohamed Ali get asylum in the US thus setting up the problematic scenario that the Guantanamo Bay prisoners have also posed for out legal system.  Try them in the US and if they aren’t convicted, then what?

We already know our asylum system is a mess—70% or more are frauds and cheats.

But there is more, did the Obama Justice Department screw-up?

From Politico (hat tip: Judy):

The failed prosecution of an alleged Somali pirate — and the fact that that failure could leave him living freely, and permanently, inside U.S. borders — is highlighting anew the risks of trying terror suspects in American courts.

Just a few weeks ago, Ali Mohamed Ali was facing the possibility of a mandatory life sentence in a 2008 shipjacking off the coast of Yemen — an incident much like the one dramatized in the film “Captain Phillips.” Now, the Somali native is in immigration detention in Virginia and seeking permanent asylum in the United States.

Ali, who was accused of piracy for acting as a translator and negotiator for a crew of pirates, was partially acquitted by a jury in November after a trial in Washington. Prosecutors initially vowed a retrial but decided last month to drop the rest of the case against him.

That’s just the kind of situation that opponents of U.S. criminal trials for Al Qaeda suspects caught abroad have long feared: The government falls short at trial — and the courts eventually order an accused terror figure freed to live legally among Americans.

“It’s a trial, not a play. You don’t know how it’s going to end,” said Cully Stimson, a former military prosecutor and defense official now at The Heritage Foundation. “Justice has all sorts of twists and turns. … It really has to be thought through at the highest level of government before we take action to bring someone here.”

One current federal terrorism prosecutor said the Ali case and the potential for his eventual release is another reason why foreign Al Qaeda suspects picked up overseas should not be brought to the United States but should instead be detained at Guantánamo or some other facility.

“It’s a significant risk … to say, ‘Oh well, we’ll just turn him over to the immigration service’” if a criminal case falls apart, said the prosecutor, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak publicly. “You can’t count on the justice system working out just the way you want it to.”

Even some proponents of closing Guantánamo and relying on American civilian courts to prosecute alleged terrorists agree that the collapse of the Ali case highlights the potential downside of bringing suspected terrorists to the United States for trial.

Read the next section about other cases and the pitfalls.  Then back to Ali’s case near the end of the article.  This was a dumb move by someone in the Obama Justice Department!  Ali had a good claim that he was a hostage negotiator, an official in Somalia, and seems to have been an unlikely pirate!   No, not getting soft on Somalis!  Just something stinks about this whole government case!

The Ali case went off the rails for the government in the face of his claims that he was solely trying to resolve the hijacking of the M/V CEC Future— an event in which 13 crew members were held hostage for 71 days. While prosecutors contended Ali was “every bit as responsible” as those who carried weapons, the middle-aged English speaker, who had spent more than two decades in the United States, may not have seemed like an eye-patch-wearing or AK-47-toting type.  [What he was doing in the US for 20 years (refugee?) and not becoming a citizen is a question I would like answered.—ed]

By the time of his arrest in 2011, Ali was serving as education minister for an autonomous area in Somalia. Officials lured him back to the United States by inviting him to attend an education conference. He was arrested when he landed at Dulles International Airport.

My guess is that he will be granted asylum.

 

U.S. Forces Capture Key Al-Qaeda Mastermind in Libya

Clarion Project National Security Analyst Ryan Mauro talks about the significance of this and other simultaneous operations on Fox News.

Ryan M.

Libya al Qaeda Leader CapturedU.S. Special Forces captured a key terrorist and Al Qaeda mastermind in the Libyan capital of Tripoli Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai (who was also known by the name of Abu Anas al-Libi).

Al-Ruqai, who had a $5 million bounty on his head, had been on the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists since the list was established after the 9/11 terror attack in 2001. He was wanted in connection with the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya, which killed more than 220 people.

Al-Libi, was seized on the streets of the Libyan capital on Saturday.

At the same time, a U.S. Navy SEAL force swam ashore in Somalia in a surprise pre-dawn attack aimed at capturing an Al-Shabaab leader specifically linked to the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya. Al Shabaab is an Islamic terrorist group affiliated with Al Qaeda who have been terrorizing East Africa with horrific attacks on schools, churches and, most recently, the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya.

After the SEAL force came under heavy attack, the mission was aborted with no casualities.

As the Clarion Project’s National Security Analyst Ryan Mauro explains on Fox News, the significance of the fact that the U.S. had “actionable intelligence” on the whereabouts of these terrorist leaders.

In addition, Mauro discusses the growing threat of Al Qaeda in Africa as well as the very real capabilities of Al-Shabaab to carry out similar attacks on American soil. The organization has developed a sophisticated recruitment of fighters, both from the Somali community in the United States as well as from hundreds of those who have been illegally entering the U.S. from Mexico.

And Jennifer Griffin reporting:

Separating the Kafirs from the Muslims

hsm tweetBy Bill Warner:

When the al Shabaab jihadi group from Somalia attacked the mall in Kenya, they gathered the crowd together and asked who were Muslims and let them go.  According to the media, they then started killing the non-Muslims who were left.  But “non-Muslims” is not the word what the terrorists would have used.  No, they would have called them Kafirs.  (Actually, they would have called them the Arabic plural of kafirkuffar.  “Kafirs” is the standard English plural form.)

Why did members of al Shabaab do this?  Why did they ask the Muslims to leave and keep the Kafirs and start killing them?  Let’s start with the word “terrorists.”  Members of al Shabaab are not terrorists; they are jihadists, or mujahedeen.  That is what they call themselves.

So what difference does it make which words we use?  It makes all the difference in the world.  You cannot think precisely with imprecise words, and a Kafir is much more than non-Muslim.

The word “non-Muslim” does not imply anything, except not being a believer in Islam.

Kafir, on the other hand, has enormous implications.  Kafir is the actual word that the Koran uses for a non-Muslim.  Indeed, one of the many remarkable things about the Koran is that over half of its text is devoted to the Kafir.  Think about that: most of the Koran is not about how to be a Muslim, but about the Kafir.  Every single verse about the Kafir is not just bad, but terrible.  Allah hates Kafirs and plots and schemes against them.  The cruelest punishments await the Kafir in hell, but who cares about that?  The real problem is what is promised to the Kafir in this life — torture, hatred, death, ridicule, rape, enslavement, political domination, and deception.

It is the same with “mujahedeen” or “jihadist” as opposed to “militant” or “terrorist.”  The words “militant” and “terrorist” do not tell anything about the motivation of the militant or terrorist — only that he uses violence.

Read more at American Thinker

 

Nairobi Attack Prompts Debate Over Shabaab’s Reach

images (96)

by IPT News:

Attack on Nairobi Mall Shows Al-Shabaab’s Ominous Reach

Nairobi attack

Mosques in U.S. areas with a heavy Somali play leading roles in recruiting young men, to sign up for jihad.

BY CLARE LOPEZ:

In a horrific mid-day attack on Saturday, September 21, 2013 in downtown Nairobi, Kenya, jihadist assailants invaded an upscale shopping mall, slaughtering and injuring dozens of terrified shoppers with grenades and automatic weapons.

As of early Sunday morning, even as the stand-off between the attackers and Kenyan security forces continued inside the mall, the death count stood at 59, a number sure to rise in coming hours.

According to reports, at least an additional 150 have been injured. People fleeing from the modern Westgate mall reported that the attackers had singled out non-Muslims to kill after telling Muslims to get out.

The jihadist identity of the attackers as well as their disciplined, swarming tactics, including the use of assault weapons, hand grenades and hostage-taking while holding off responding Kenyan security forces for many hours, which were mounted against a soft civilian target with many non-Muslim, Western individuals inside is reminiscent of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks (although on a smaller scale).

The al-Qa’eda-linked Islamic jihad group al-Shabaab took credit for the Nairobi attack in a number of Twitter messages, claiming the attack was retribution for Muslims killed in Somalia by Kenyan forces which launched a defensive cross-border action against al-Shabaab in 2011.

Al-Shabaab, which means “The Youth” in Arabic, arose in 2006 out of the now-defunct Islamic Courts Union, itself a confederation of Somali courts established to enforce sharia (Islamic law) in the lawless country beginning in the 1990s.

The rise of the Islamic Courts Union in Somalia followed a pattern also seen in Afghanistan in roughly the same time frame, when the Taliban (“The Students”) formed armed militias to impose Islamic law and some semblance of order after the Soviet Red Army defeat led to a chaotic scramble for power among savage warlords in that already-devastated country.

In Somalia, similarly, local clan leaders centered in the capital of Mogadishu used the Islamic court system to impose their own rough justice in the wake of the 1991 overthrow of Siad Barre, the dictator who had ruled Somalia since 1969.

Al-Shabaab, which began as the militant youth wing of that Islamic Courts system, attracted numerous foreign fighters to its cause (including from the United States) and formally joined al-Qa’eda with a pledge of bayat (allegiance) to al-Qaeda (AQ) leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in 2012.

Today, al-Shabaab is estimated to include some 7,000-9,000 fighters. Although al-Shabaab appears to have established its own independent line of communication to AQ Central (located in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region), it also has a relationship with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), currently assessed to pose “the most direct threat to the U.S. homeland” of all the interconnected, “latticed” AQ network of affiliates.

Read more at The Clarion Project

via The Al-Shabaab Terror Cell That Attacked Westgate (ojihad.wordpress.com) – updated

Al-Shabaab released the names and places of origin of the alleged terrorist involved in the Westgate assault. It is no surprise the terror raid was carried out by a international terrorist cell of at least eight Al-Shabaab fighters.

According to the terrorist group the attackers all between the age of 20 and 27 years old, are from four different countries and where all trained in Somalia.

Sayid N. from Kismayu, Somalia.

Zaki Jama C., from Hargeisa, Somalia

Said D., from Damascus, Syria

Mohamed B., from Aleppo, Syria

Qasim Said M., Garissa, Kenya

Ismail G., from Helsinki, Finland

Ahmed Nasir S., from London, UK

Mustafa N., from Kansas City, US

Abdishakur Sheikh H., from Maine, US

Abdifatah Osman K., from Minneapolis, US

Ahmad Mohamed I., from Saint Paul, US

Abdikarem Ali M., from Illinois, US

Shafie D., from Tucson, US

Eliko M., from Dagestan, Russia

Mohammed A., from Svalov, Sweden

 

Al Shabaab Nairobi Mall Attack: THE POTENTIAL IMPACT ON US CITIES

KenyaMallAttack_20130921_153947By Jerry Gordon:

At Noon Saturday, September 21, 2013  (East African Time) a swarm of 10 to 15  al Shabaab terrorists  (including one white woman) heavily armed with AK-47s and grenades attacked the high end Westgate Mall in Nairobi resulting in more than 59 dead and 175  wounded with an estimated 30 hostages held in a continuing standoff.  Among the wounded are several Americans. According to a report from Nairobi newspaper, The Nation, al Shabaab, an al Qaida (AQ) affiliate in Somalia, Tweeted responsibility for the attack.

*******

There  are upwards of an estimated 150,000 Somalis in the US in major cities like Minneapolis St Paul, Boston, Columbus, Nashville, San Diego, Phoenix, Seattle and Salt Lake City, Washington, DC  among others. A recent report estimated that the Somali emigre community  has sent an estimated $215 million in remittances to Somalia nearly equal to the $242 million that the US provides in humanitarian assistance to Somalia. Somali refugee entry to the US via the State Department administered Refugee Resettlement program has been fraught with fraud that led to the shutdown for over three years of the P-3 Visa Family Reunification Program. Some US voluntary agencies that process Somali refugees have commented about innumerable instances of fraud.  Somali émigrés have been involved in drug (Khat- a DEA Class A drug), human trafficking,  Medicaid and US Health and Human Services minority health grants fraud. Imams in major Somali émigré centers have been implicated in facilitating al Shabaab recruitment and transportation to Somalia for Jihad training. Other Somalis have been convicted of funneling funds for Al Shabaab via the Halawal money transfer system.

The Nairobi swarming attack is a clear indication that Al Qaeda is not on the run. The US Refugee Resettlement and counter terrorism programs must address the possible threat from the Somali and other Shariah compliant Muslim refugee groups prone to Jihadism for this country to be safe from possible homegrown swarming attacks.

Read more at New English Review

 Tune in to the Lisa Benson radio show today at 5pm

“Terror Nairobi: Tragedy Predicted” THE POTENTIAL IMPACT ON US CITIES

Attention: Phoenix, Minneapolis, Memphis

with Jerry Gordon, Dr. Raymond Stock and Clare Lopez 

Somali-based militants claim responsibility for Kenyan shopping mall massacre in which at least 39 have died

  • Security guards wheel out bodies in shopping trolleys from Westlands Shopping Centre
  • Foreign Secretary William Hague confirms British citizens are caught up in the terrorist attack in Nairobi
  • The US State Department has also confirmed Americans were at the shopping centre
  • Somalian terrorist group al-Shabaab, which has links to Al-Qaeda, has now claimed responsibility for the attack
  • The terrorist organisation released a statement released saying it warned Kenya to remove troops from Somalia
  • Hostages are being held by at least five attackers still in building
  • The army and special forces are helping police flush out the gunmen
  • Upmarket mall is a favourite shopping spot for expats and wealthy Kenyans
  • Police opened fire after gunmen launched attack at midday today
  • Kenya Red Cross says at least 39 dead though police not given exact toll
  • Witness says attackers told shoppers non-Muslims were the targets
Women carrying children run for safety as armed police hunt gunmen who went on a shooting spree in Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi September 21, 2013.  Credit: REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

Women carrying children run for safety as armed police hunt gunmen who went on a shooting spree in Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi September 21, 2013.
Credit: REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

By ELLIE BUCHDAHL and STUART WOLEDGE

British and American nationals have undoubtedly been caught up in the ‘callous and cowardly and brutal’ terror attack at a shopping centre in Kenya that has left 39 people dead and 150 injured, according to Foreign Secretary William Hague.

Mr Hague said ‘we should be ready for that and aware of that’ as he revealed a rapid deployment team is being sent to Kenya to help in the aftermath of the atrocity at an upmarket shopping centre in the capital.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, a pregnant woman was among several Britons caught up in the attack.

Somali-based militant group al-Shabaab has now claimed responsibility for the atrocity in which men armed with guns and grenades stormed the mall and targeted non-Muslims.

Terrorist gunmen remain at the scene and police officers supported by the army are still fighting to bring the situation to an end.

Mr Hague added the Government’s security committee COBRA had met and was sending a deployment team to ‘re-enforce’ the British Consulate team in Nairobi.

‘Our High Commission staff in Nairobi are working very hard, visiting hospitals, trying to make sure that they are aware of British nationals who might have been in the area or caught up in this,’ he said.

‘We are sending a rapid deployment team to reinforce that work, which will be particularly important if the situation carries on. We have offered the Kenyan authorities any other assistance and of course we will keep in touch with them about that.’

Hannah Chisholm, a Briton visiting Nairobi, said she and 60 others barricaded themselves into a large storeroom.

She told the BBC: ‘We kept running to different places but the shots were getting louder so we barricaded ourselves along with about 60 others into a large storeroom. There were children hiding with us as well as someone who had been shot.’

She added: ‘The gunfire was loud and we were scared but at that point we thought the gunmen were thieves so we assumed they wouldn’t try to reach the storeroom.’

Read more at The Daily Mail

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A Bad Week For the Muslim Brotherhood

Two weeks ago Muslim Brotherhood leaders from across Africa and the Middle East gathered in Istanbul to regroup following the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, former head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (and who I noted previously here was recruited into the group while studying in the US). But even more setbacks suffered by the group in a number of countries this past week, another meeting might be in order.

Here’s a rundown of the week’s events:

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Egypt: The most prominent example, the MB there rejected calls for reconciliation meetings by the interim government and demanded Morsi’s reinstatement as president before any negotiations. That’s not remotely likely. So that set the stage this week for a game of chicken, with the MB refusing to stand down and Defense Minister Sisi calling for rallies yesterday in support of the interim government, ostensibly to legitimize a crackdown on a terror campaign being waged by Morsi supporters against police and military targets in the Sinai. Of note is the statement last week by senior MB leader that the terrorist acts would stop when Morsi would be reinstated, indicating some degree of MB control over the terror cells.

The result yesterday were massive rallies supporting both sides, predominately backing the new anti-MB government with as many as 35 million taking the streets in support of the army despite a fatwa issued by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the senior international MB jurist prohibiting participation in the protests. Those protests led to a series of clashes last night and this morning that have reportedly left dozens dead. Meanwhile, Morsi was charged with murder and other crimes by the new government this week, and will probably be sent to the same prison currently housing former Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak.

The MB strategy appears to be leveraging the deaths of supporters killed during nearly continuous clashes with the police and army to gain domestic and international sympathy. Yet that doesn’t seem to be happening. Some clashes in which MB supporters were killed have not been with the government, but residents of the areas occupied by the MB protests. And assaults on Egyptian and foreign journalists alike by Morsi supporters and news reports of torture and killing of so-called ‘infiltrators’ at the MB protests aren’t helping either.

And while the MB might have temporarily taken comfort in the Obama administration’s decision this week to halt the transfer of a few F-16 aircraft to the Egyptian military (though the administration continued such military hardware transfers while Morsi declared himself dictator in November and was killing protesters earlier this year), any hope of backing their ‘legitimacy’ campaign were dashed when administration officials said that no determination will probably be made as to whether Morsi’s ouster was a coup or not, which would trigger sanctions against the Egyptian military under a law passed by Congress last year.

So the MB doesn’t appear to be gaining support, and the majority of Egyptians appear willing to hold their nose over the violence against the MB while the army and the police attempt to create some stability. The result will be an increase in the violence and more deaths, and probably the low-grade terrorism in the Sinai will also escalate into more acts of terrorism prompting greater crackdowns.

Gaza: Another big loser in Morsi’s overthrow is the Hamas government in Gaza. In recent weeks the Egyptian military has put a stranglehold on trafficking through tunnels, which provides Hamas with considerable funds. A UN estimate this week said that 80 percent of the traffic through the tunnels running from Egypt into Gaza has been shut down. The Hamas economic minister said the Egyptian crackdown has cost the terror group $230 million – one tenth of the gross domestic product of Gaza. Things aren’t likely to improve with the Egyptian government either, as one of the charges against former President Morsi is collaboration with Hamas in his prison escape back in 2011

Read more at PJ Media