Terrorist Groups Take Advantage of South African Violence

82377795_dd6b3c8f-43f3-45a5-9f18-975676c3558eCSP, by Joshua Kraus, April 23, 2015:

In South Africa,  which is sometimes affectionately refereed to as a “rainbow nation,” gangs of black South African residents have taken machetes and torches to immigrants accused of taking scarce jobs and undermining an already unstable economy. According to the South African defense minister, this latest string of violence has killed at least seven people this month.

The anti-immigration violence is not new to South Africa. This type of bloodshed took place in 2008, killing 62 and displacing another 100,000 people. The world awoke to the type of atrocities that were happening in South Africa when Ernesto Alfabeto Nhamuave, a native of Mozambique, was photographed while being burned alive. His murder investigation was recently closed after a very questionable police investigation unsurprisingly resulted in no witnesses.

Both Islamic State affiliate Boko Haram and Al Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab have referenced the riots in recent propaganda statements.  Boko Haram has threatened that if the South African government does not limit this violence and stop the inexcusable murdering of Nigerians, it will execute all South Africans residing in Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and other surrounding countries. The embassies in those countries are being threatened as well.

Al-Shabaab has posted messages on social media sites with phrases explaining that “We (Al-Shabaab) will enter Durban” and “For all the foreign lives lost in SA (South Africa) there is a price to pay”.

Why have Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab insinuated themselves into the South Africa “xenophobia” story?

Recently, Kenya’s military and its people have waged character assassinations against the Somali people in retaliation for the attack on Garissa University that killed 148 people. Kenya sent a request to the United Nations to shut down Dadaab, one of the biggest refugee camps in Kenya for Somalia people. Kenyan security officials previously described Dadaab as a breeding ground for terror and a primary recruiting ground for Al-Shabaab in recent years. The camp’s house would force out more than 350,000 Somalia inhabitants back into Somalia. This perception of repression would only feed into the plight of the Somali people as their government has yet to defend them. Al-Shabaab is sure to take advantage of the maltreatment of the Somali people and form a tight knit community whose mission is to advance sharia law.

According to Aden Duale, a member of the Garissa Township National Assembly, Al-Shabaab is said to train in camps such as Daab and further conduct radicalization classes and suicide bombers from the camp. Both Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab’s advancement of protecting their own people from “xenophobia” can possibly lead to further destabilization of established governments due to the lack of respect for a class of people.

Jihadist organizations such as Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab are using classic insurgency tactics to radicalize a group of people and create homegrown terrorism. The refusal by the Kenyan government to acknowledge homegrown terrorism only gives more precedence for Al-Shabaab to operate safely and securely in refugee camps.

This refusal to acknowledge homegrown terrorism can translate to the global jihad movement within the United States. Since 1991, the U.S. State Department has imported more than 100,000 Somali nationals directly from United Nations refugee camps into U.S. cities and towns. According to State Department estimates, they arrive at a rate of 5,000 to 12,000 per year.

Boko Haram Re-Brands as Islamic State in West Africa

Nigerian special forces prepare to fight Boko Haram in Diffa, March 26, 2015. The country's army has reportedly severed Boko Haram’s access to arms suppliers, forcing the insurgents to resort to less sophisticated weaponry. REUTERS/Joe Penney

Nigerian special forces prepare to fight Boko Haram in Diffa, March 26, 2015. The country’s army has reportedly severed Boko Haram’s access to arms suppliers, forcing the insurgents to resort to less sophisticated weaponry. REUTERS/Joe Penney

CSP, by Nicholas Hanlon, April 23, 2015:

There is a lot of relatively good news on the progress of the Nigerian army in it’s efforts to defeat Boko Haram.  Here is where all of the nit-picking about the differences between IS and Boko Haram will mean even less.  Boko Haram was lionized for it’s ability to take and hold territory.  However, because of it’s primary driver as an internationally connected Islamist group that is ideologically driven, it will adapt to a new menu of tactics that resemble Al Shabaab.  This is where the relationship beetween IS and Boko Haram becomes significant.

The signal is the re-brand as Islamic State in West Africa.  Analysts were hard pressed to see the tactical advantages that the allegiance between IS and Boko Haram could afford the West African jihadist movement in Nigeria.  The counter terrorism battle space in Nigeria will mutate as former Boko Haram fighters disperse and attempt to blend back in to the population.  The question of whether al Shabaab will also pledge allegiance to IS will arise with more frequency in the coming months.

As Boko Haram (now Islamic State in West Africa) is forced to shift tactics, Boko Haram’s pledge to IS will pay off.  When al Shabaab held territory they resembled Boko Haram.  When they control territory they raise money like a state.  When they are defeated militarily they operate like a terror group.  The make up and the mission of these groups do not change.  They all want to hold territory.  That factor does change.  When it does, each jihadist group adapts.

TERROR: Death toll from Boko Haram attack in Cameroon rises to 19, majority of victims were beheaded

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Today, by Olawale Kadir, April 19, 2015:

Nineteen people were killed in Thursday night’s attack on a Cameroonian village by Nigeria-based Boko Haram militants, a security source said in an updated toll, adding that most of the victims were beheaded, AFP reports. “The final toll from this attack is 19 dead, with a majority of the victims decapitated,” a security source said Saturday on condition of anonymity. Security sources had previously said 10 civilians were killed in the cross-border raid on the village of Bia in Cameroon’s Far North region. The attack comes after a regional military offensive — which includes Cameroon — has claimed a string of successes in their fightback against the Islamist militants in Nigeria in recent weeks. Bia, which borders Lake Chad, has been identified previously by security forces as a recruiting ground for Boko Haram militants. The source speaking to AFP on Saturday said security forces were slow to react to the raid on Bia, located in an area with several military bases. “We noted a late response by our forces,”, the source said.

“Many huts were burned down,” the source added. Also during the night from Thursday to Friday, Boko Haram Islamists attacked a Cameroon army position in Amchide, on the border with Nigeria. “They burned houses in Amchide, but without losses on our side. The attack was repulsed. We don’t know yet about casualties on the enemy side,” a security source told AFP on Friday. The insurgency by Boko Haram — which is seeking to create a hardline Islamic state — has killed some 13,000 people in northeast Nigeria and sent 1.5 million fleeing their homes since 2009. The group had in recent months widened its attacks into neighbouring nations, prompting Chad, Cameroon and Niger to launch a joint offensive with the Nigerian army, resulting in a series of rebel-held towns and villages being recaptured in Nigeria’s northeast. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s perceived inability to end the six-year insurgency was a factor in his election defeat last month. Nigerian President-elect Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to rid the country of the “terror” of Boko Haram.

On Anniversary of Boko Haram Kidnapping, 85% of Chibok Girls Still Missing

Bring-Back-Our-Girls-March-1-Year-Later-ap-640x480Breitbart, by Frances Martel, April 14, 2015:

On April 14, 2014, the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram abducted more than 300 schoolgirls from the village of Chibok, cementing their international reputation as one of the most ruthless and dangerous terror groups in the world. One year later, more than 200 of those girls remain missing, and Nigeria’s president-elect is making no promises to find them.

The exact number of girls abducted out of Chibok’s secondary school during their physics examination that day remains unconfirmed. Africa Check, a project by the Agence-France Presse, notes that estimates range from 200-500 girls and estimates the exact number to be at 360 girls. According to the Nigerian police commissioner in charge of the investigation, 53 of those abducted escaped. Still missing are 219 girls, or 85%, not seen since Boko Haram released a horrifying video of more than 100 of the girls wearing black Islamic garb and reciting Koranic verses.

Nigeria is commemorating their loss today with a large march in its capital, Abuja, demanding the girls be returned home safely. Two hundred nineteen girls marched today, one representing each of the victims still missing. Every day that passes makes the possibility of their safe return less likely.

The international community’s immediate reaction to the Chibok kidnapping was lackluster enough to embolden Boko Haram to embark on at least 38 other abduction sprees in the past year, according to Amnesty International. At least 2,000 women are estimated to be in their custody, though Amnesty notes that number may be much higher.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in a video released shortly after the Chibok kidnapping that the girls would be sold into slavery or married off. While this is true for many of Boko Haram’s victims, a number of others have been used as suicide bombers to attack public squares in northern Nigeria.

The United States responded to the alarm following the Chibok kidnapping with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, with which First Lady Michelle Obama posed for a photo. Even before the Chibok kidnappings, the Obama State Department was reticent to acknowledge the Boko Haram threat, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton actively objecting to placing the jihadist group on terror lists.

President Obama also sent a team of American military personnel to help Nigeria find the girls, though this was widely criticized as insufficient support, and detractors have been proven correct by the continued absence of the Chibok girls in their families’ lives–that is, those family members who themselves have not fallen victim to Boko Haram. Eleven parents of Chibok girls died in a Boko Haram attack in July 2014, long before the jihadist group took temporary control of Chibok in November, slaughtering more residents who attempted to defend themselves. The Nigerian military eventually liberated the town of the Boko Haram threat–an attempt to thwart the final humiliation of losing the town that has become emblematic of Nigeria’s inability to defeat the group.

Nigeria’s failure to eradicate the group is believed to have been a deciding factor in incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan’s loss to Muhammadu Buhari, who served as the nation’s military dictator in 1983 before becoming a serial presidential candidate. In an election postponed but otherwise unmarred by Boko Haram, Buhari–who himself survived a Boko Haram car bomb–vowed to eradicate the group.

And yet even Buhari, who played a pivotal role in the destruction of the violent Maitatsine sect, is making no promises about the Chibok girls. “We do not know if the Chibok girls can be rescued. Their whereabouts remain unknown. As much as I wish to, I cannot promise that we can find them,” Buhari said in remarks on Tuesday, nonetheless promising to place all efforts towards finding them.

In the past two months, escaped Boko Haram captives have claimed to have either spotted personally or heard rumors from other captives of where the Chibok girls are being held. Nigerian military sources have said in the past that the group has likely been split into smaller groups and hidden in the woodlands of the north.

Also see:

The Butchers of Islam

PersecutedChristians-2By Justin O. Smith:

Christians, Jews and other religious minorities, such as Yazidis, Turkmen and Shabak, are currently being systematically exterminated across the Middle East and North Africa, especially in Iraq and Syria. As the Islamic State, Boko Haram and Al Shabaab repeatedly boast of horrific attacks on these religious minorities, the Christians and other victims are far less concerned with meaningless “Religious Freedom Acts” signed by Obama (Aug 2014), than they are with simply surviving; they need righteous world leaders, who will fight the evil marching towards every nation worldwide __ the evil of the oppressive, totalitarian ideology of Islam.

On April 2nd, 2015, the international community witnessed 147 Christian students at Garissa University in Kenya singled out and murdered by Al Shabaab Islamofascist terrorists. And then on Easter Sunday, Islamic State fascist thugs destroyed the Church of the Virgin Mary in northeastern Syria, marking the latest in a long series of attacks against Christians during this decade.

Statistics from numerous sources, like Open Doors and PEW Research Center, show that Christians, who once represented 20% of the Middle East’s population have been reduced to 5% of the population in the Middle East. It is also safe to say that nearly three million Christians, in both Iraq and Syria, now number less than a combined total of 300,000, as they have fled or been slaughtered.

In January 2015, forty-five Christian churches were burned in Niamey, Niger alone, and two thousand people were murdered in the town of Baga, Nigeria, which was burned to the ground (BBC). According to Open Borders, an organization dedicated to “serving persecuted Christians worldwide”, roughly 3.2 million residents in Nigeria have left their homes, since the rise of the Islamic terror army of Boko Haram. For the same reason, thousands of Christians are evacuating Diffa, the border region between Niger and Nigeria, and seeking refuge at the military camps at Zinder.

Whenever Boko Haram, Al Shabaab and the Islamic State occupy an area, a common and terrible theme emerges, as they demand that the people identify themselves as Muslim or Christian, Allahu Akbar or Alleluia. A great number of these Christians truly live their faith, and they refuse to deny Jesus in order to save themselves. They die as martyrs for Christ.

In January of this year, David Curry, president of Open Doors USA, reported that 2014 was the most violent year of global Christian persecution. Curry also released the World Watch List, which named North Korea, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Iran, Pakistan, Eritrea and Nigeria the nations that are most hostile towards Christians. The overwhelming common thread in nine of these is the Islamic ideology.

Since July 2014, the Islamic State has demanded Iraq’s Christians must convert to Islam, pay extra taxes or be killed. The Islamic State has massacred and enslaved thousands of Christians and followers of the ancient Yazidi faith, murdered hundreds more from the Shabak religious minority, ransacked the tomb of Jonah in Mosul, destroyed a 7th Century Greek Orthodox Church in Tikrit, bombed a memorial of the Armenian genocide in Dair Alzour, Syria and beheaded 21 Coptic Christians in Libya.

These Islamic savages surpass the Nazis and Communists in their depravity. Islamofascist “soldiers” teach Muslim boys how to slice off the heads of the kafir, the infidels, the Christians and the enemies of Allah. They bury people alive and butcher little children. They have delivered hundreds of girls and women as sex-slaves and unwilling “brides”, torturing and raping them, as reported by the International Center for Investigative Reporting.

Representative Anna Eshoo (D-Ca) is personally troubled by these atrocities. She is a first generation American and a Chaldean Catholic, whose mother is Armenian and whose father is an Assyrian Christian from Iraq. She recently told the ‘Washington Examiner':

“We’re coming up to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide and when we look over our shoulders at history, we say ‘never again, we will never forget.’ So from both sides of the family, exactly what my grandmother described and all the elders of the family escaped is [again] taking place.”

Terrorized Christians and religious minorities unable to reach safety have been begging for help from anyone, and while some U.S. leaders have expressed the dire need to help them, so far, the vaunted international community has not acted forcefully enough to stop these Islamofascists from annihilating Christians and others. Their efforts have been small and futile, providing insufficient aid, as this new Holocaust is continuing to grow.

Kaldo Oghanna, an Assyrian Christian who helped train fellow Christians to combat these Islamic terrorists, told the Wall Street Journal, “No one has protected the minorities, and no one will in the future.”
Some experts, such as Paul Salem of the Middle East Institute, have called for “hard protections” and “safe zones” for people without the ability to protect themselves. Although $1.6 billion from the U.S. National defense Authorization Act has been allocated to aid Christians, ethnic minorities and their “local forces” in the Nineveh Plain and surrounding regions, this is far from fully addressing the broader scope of the problem, as the progeny of terrorists continue to ply the family trade across the globe.

How much longer will the world leaders continue to look the other way? When will the U.S. and Europe and the world’s Christian nations do something substantial and concrete to defend and protect our Christian brothers and sisters, who are persecuted, exiled and slain solely for being Christian?

On Veteran’s Day of 2011 at the Preserving Freedom Conference in Madison, TN,  Dr. Justin Akujieze revealed that the entire northern half of Nigeria had already been, in essence, conquered by the Islamists, as they have unilaterally declared Sharia Law without comment, debate or media discussion. At the same time, Muslims were committing genocide against the Christian Igbo tribes of Nigeria by burning them alive by the thousands, and these Islamofascists are now moving to control the entire country. As Dr. Justin appealed to those in the audience for their help in saving the rest of Nigeria from this Islamofascist onslaught, the emotion in his voice rang true, “Today is the last day and we must not wither. We must confront this head-on and together we will win.”

The Butchers of Islam have created a global crisis. They are an existential threat to families, human rights and religious communities in the United States and Europe too, not just in the Middle East and Africa, and as such, America and any other rightfully concerned nations must wage a relentless, vicious, intense war against them and brutally obliterate them wherever they are found: Destroy the destroyers of everything righteous, those lovers of Death, or continue doing next to nothing and watch Christianity in many regions become a footnote in history.

***

Caliphate over Africa: The Islamic State’s Boko Haram Franchise

article-0-1D9622CB00000578-650_634x403Religious Freedom Coalition, by Andrew Harrod, April 1, 2015:

Nigerian human rights lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe discussed with Powerpoint a “New Arc of Evil:  The Boko Haram/ISIS Merger” during the Hudson Institute’s March 23 panel “Boko Haram, the Islamic State’s West African Franchise.”  Ogebe and his fellow panelists examined before an audience of about 50 the dangerous, bloody ramifications of unity between Nigeria’s Boko Haram jihadists and their similarly brutal allies in the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Ogebe noted a recent “wedding announcement in the Washington Post” in which Boko Haram proposed and ISIS accepted an allegiance to the latter’s self-declared caliphate, a move that reflected the two groups’ “grudging admiration and rivalry.”  While Hudson religious freedom scholar Nina Shea saw in Nigeria under the ravages of the “ultra-violent” Boko Haram “human rights suffering…of epic proportions,” a Boko Haram -ISIS alliance will only worsen matters.  Boko Haram jihadists “already have an international operation going” that has killed nationals from 15 states, stated Ogebe.  Boko Haram’s “large operational theater” encompasses not just Nigeria but its neighbors of Niger, Mali, and Cameroun, an area more extensive than ISIS’ considerable holdings.  ISIS has called for “Muslim brothers” who cannot reach it to join Boko Haram, creating thereby a “whole new frontier of terror” and “new flank” in Boko Haram, as demonstrated by Frenchmen caught fighting for Boko Haram in Cameroun.

Ogebe’s slides noted that Boko Haram was the world’s third deadliest terrorist organization after Taliban groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan during the years 2009-2013 while ISIS was only in fourth place.  News reports and ISIS’s “more tech savvy” media edge over Boko Haram despite its recent advances obscured that Boko Haram was the deadlier of the two groups, killing more people last January than ISIS killed in six months last year.  While ISIS beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts in Libya garnered a shocked world’s attention, Boko Haram killed over 150 in September 2013 with chainsaws used to behead quickly Christians caught in a staged army checkpoint.

Ogebe observed that Boko Haram’s “threshold for horror” continually rises and amazes him with ever greater heights of brutality.  Boko Haram’s slaughter of 59 boys at a boarding school and kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in the village of Chibok followed in 2014 the “chainsaw massacre.”  Al Qaeda (AQ) actually condemned the “mind-numbing” Chibok kidnappings, Ogebe recalled; “that’s when you know that you are in a really bad place.”  Recently retreating Boko Haram fighters had killed their wives so that they would not remarry and supposedly be available in heaven.  The Nigerian Bukky Shonibare from the Bring Back Our Girls aid campaign for the Chibok girls suggested that Boko Haram killed these wives, who in many cases are just adolescents forced into marriage, in order to prevent their revealing information.  Ogebe noted that Boko Haram took 13 years before its annual killing rate last year equaled the Taliban; “given a little time, they can do great damage” in a “piecemeal Third World War” first suggested by Pope Francis.

At times on the verge of tears, Shonibare brought Boko Haram horrors in her Nigerian home to life.  She discussed how 57 of the Chibok girls had left Boko Haram captivity in various ways, sometimes returning home pregnant or infected with HIV/AIDS.  Some of the girls had developed an allegiance to their captors under a Stockholm syndrome, such as one girl released by Boko Haram who actually killed her own mother.  Boko Haram has also duped “innocent, naïve girls” into suicide bombing operations, forcing mothers of the Chibok captives to worry about losing their daughters whenever there is a suicide bombing report.  Referencing the four Nigerian schoolgirls sitting in the front row at Hudson, escapees from Boko Haram within the first two days of the Chibok kidnapping, Ogebe noted that three of them had lost family members to Boko Haram violence in the last month, a terrible statistic.

In the face of such a grave struggle, Ogebe criticized deficient foreign aid for Nigeria.  He had a “rude awakening” following the Bring Back Our Girls Twitter campaign when only private, but no public, resources became available to bring Boko Haram escapees to the United States for assistance.  The American government even denied one girl a visa.

The Nigerian government also requested military training from the United States, but met with American objections that Nigerian forces did not possess proper equipment, Ogebe said.  Yet American officials rebuffed Nigerian military equipment cash purchases even as an Iraq fighting ISIS and suffering from depressed oil prices received American military aid credits.  Nigeria, meanwhile, had hired South African and Russian mercenaries to fight Boko Haram, showing how “in Nigeria you have to outsource a lot of stuff,” he said.  Along with Boko Haram foreign fighters, “two can play at this game,” but he worried about the mercenaries’ capabilities in light of a South African’s recent friendly fire death.

Shea critiqued American policymaker unwillingness to recognize Boko Haram’s jihadist ideology.  As on previous occasions, she cited Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson’s ludicrous 2012 statement that Boko Haram violence resulted from socioeconomic grievances like “poor government service delivery.”  By contrast, Ogebe recalled Boko Haram’s original name of the “Nigerian Taliban” and how coalition forces overthrowing the Taliban after AQ’s September 11, 2001, attacks discovered Nigerian Muslims in Afghanistan.  “Maybe this merger will now get their attention,” Shea stated.

Shea’s comments are noteworthy, for as Boko Haram and ISIS show, neglect and ignorance merely allow jihadist threats to metastasize over time. Boko Haram and ISIS present growing dangers in their own right to their respective regions and the wider world.  Cooperation between the two and other jihadist groups will only multiply the threats.  Freedom’s defenders have no time for idleness before such gathering storms.

U.S. Crony Subverts Nigerian Democracy

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CSP, by Nicholas Hanlon, March 31. 2015:

In the months leading up to the 2015 Nigerian presidential election, incumbent Goodluck Jonathan received generally negative media coverage.  This was due in large part to what was at the time an unexplainable lack of response to the rise of Boko Haram and the kidnapping of over 250 school girls from Chibok in April of 2014.

The Chibok tragedy heightened international attention on Boko Haram that had been preceded by U.S. State Department campaign to downplay the significance and motivations of Boko Haram as a group disgruntled by a lack of government services.  Boko Haram was in fact identifiable as a part of the global jihad movement with connections to al Qaeda going back to 2011.

No one could fault an analyst or observer who predicted that Goodluck Jonathan would lose this weekend’s election due to his own lack of leadership and assertiveness.  There were and indeed are ostensible shortcomings.  There is now, however, a critical piece of context that was missing before.  The U.S. administration intentionally undermined the democratically elected president of Nigeria while David Axelrod and his political firm were being paid by the political opponent of President Goodluck Jonathan.  That opponent is former dictator Muhamadou Buhari and he stands to be the next president of Nigeria.

The list of particulars with which U.S. policy was used to frustrate the Nigerian government’s battle against Boko Haram began with the State Department resistance to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist organization. The list also includes denial of intelligence in the crucial weeks following the Chibok kidnapping, ending oil purchases as Nigeria’s primary customer, and prioritizing Nigeria’s domestic social policy over national security.

Note that the reduction of oil purchases, an act of economic warfare, was hanging over President Jonathan’s head just before the Chibok kidnapping.  Reeling from unexplained punishment from the U.S., Jonathan’s strained silence in his reaction seems explainable in this context.  Each mechanism with which the U.S. subverted President Jonathan came with a thinly veiled pretense that will disappear for lack of necessity after a Buhari victory.

This pattern will continue.  Buhari’s victory will be contested in court by President Jonathan’s PDP party.  Watch for the U.S. to congratulate Muhamadou Buhari prematurely.  U.S. oil purchases from Nigeria will recommence, likely fulfilling a deal cut long ago between Axelrod and Buhari.  Buhari will take credit for restoring the economy and decisively challenging Boko Haram, with U.S. Intelligence and military support resuming full scale.  It is, after all, what Buhari’s campaign, designed by Axelrod’s firm, AKPD, was based on.

Shock claim: Why Obama refused to help fight Boko Haram

2091508155CSP, (Originally published by WorldNetDaily)

Allegations are mounting that the Obama administration withheld weapons and intelligence support from Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram in an effort to boost the chances of the Muslim candidate for president, who is a client of the political firm founded by key Obama strategist David Axelrod.

Nigerians this weekend are deciding a very competitive race between incumbent Christian President Dr. Ebele Goodluck Jonathan and retired Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, who ruled as dictator there from 1983 until 1985, when he was removed through a coup. Buhari has previously vowed to institute Shariah law in the Muslim-dominated parts of the country if elected.

With the guidance of Axelrod’s firm, Buhari has tamped down talk of Shariah nearing election day and even added a Pentecostal Christian as his running mate.

Boko Haram is a radical Islamist terrorist group that recently pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. In recent years, Boko Haram has slaughtered entire villages, burned countless churches and targeted Christians and moderate Muslims for death. It received global attention last year for abducting nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls.

The Obama-Axelrod connection to the Nigerian elections and its impact on U.S. policy toward Boko Haram is laid out in a detailed piece by James Simpson for Accuracy in Media.

Simpson said the Nigerians are thoroughly convinced Obama’s actions are rooted in politics.

“Nigerians overwhelmingly, at least the ones that I talk to and the articles I’ve been able to access, believe that the U.S. deliberately withheld military aid to the Nigerian president because David Axelrod’s group, AKPD, is consulting his Muslim opponent in the upcoming elections,” said Simpson.

According to Simpson, the Nigerians are most upset over their requests being denied for Cobra attack helicopters.

Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with James Simpson.

Gaffney said it isn’t hard to see a pattern developing in how this administration approaches foreign elections. “It seems the Obama administration has withheld intelligence,” said Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney. “It seems it has withheld training. It’s found various pretexts, but (the fact it has also withheld) some of the arms that could be very, very decisively used against this odious terrorist organization … really raises a host of questions that I don’t think have been satisfactorily answered by this administration.”

Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Frank Gaffney.

“This may sound like deja vu all over again,” said Gaffney, who likens U.S. involvement in Nigeria’s presidential elections to what America just witnessed in Israel’s parliamentary elections.

“He has, as he had in Israel, a political operative engaged in helping effect, in a way that is clearly meddling in the internal affairs of a foreign government and a friendly, sovereign foreign government at that,” Gaffney said. “It rebounds to the benefit, in this case it would appear to the financial benefit of his friend and adviser, David Axelrod. That has translated into efforts to support the candidacy of General Buhari.”

Like President Jonathan, Gen. Buhari is also vowing to exterminate Boko Haram. So how could Obama administration policy impact the campaign?

“Clearly, Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election has been made more difficult by the appearance that he’s not doing enough to defeat Boko Haram,” he said.

While Gaffney believes Obama’s denial of meaningful assistance to Nigeria reflects either a desire to see Buhari get elected or simply to help Axelrod’s client win, there are more official reasons given for the lack of support.

“One is that the administration has found fault with the human rights record of the Nigerian military,” said Gaffney, who noted that the other public concern rests with the Obama cultural agenda.

“There are laws on the books of Nigeria, adopted by a sovereign nation through its normal processes, that they consider to be untoward, unacceptable, homophobic, whatever you want to call it, toward people who are lesbians, gays, transgenders, bisexuals and so on,” he explained.

Simpson reports that Secretary of State John Kerry added fuel to the fire by suggesting the U.S. may re-evaluate the selling of arms and sharing of intelligence after the elections.

“The whole thing is a joke. We provided military aid to Uganda and they have a bad human rights record as well. We’ve provided military aid to al Qaida-liked groups in Libya who are now joining ISIS. The whole thing is ludicrous,” said Simpson.

Despite very little U.S. assistance, Nigeria is starting to make significant strides against Boko Haram. Forty towns have recently been liberated, at least 500 Boko Haram members have been killed and many of the terrorists are retreating to the jungle in the border regions near Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

The Nigerians say it’s because they finally got help – from Moscow.

“They are having an impact but they claim it’s because finally they had to turn around and get their arms from Russia. They got Russian Hind attack helicopters and some other heavy duty military equipment, troop carriers and [armored personnel carriers] and things like that. So they’ve been able to take the fight to the enemy,” said Simpson.

Another major issue at work is the Obama administration’s push for a “gay” rights agenda throughout the world and Nigeria recently moved decisively in the opposite direction.

Fifteen months ago, Nigeria enacted laws that criminalize homosexual behavior and strictly forbids “gay marriage.” Simpson says a public display of affection between homosexuals could draw imprisonment of 10 years or more.

That is not sitting well with the Obama administration.

“The gay rights agenda is detested throughout much of Africa. Seventy percent of African nations have laws outlawing homosexuality. This particularly harsh law was passed in December 2013 and the United States and other western nations spoke out against it,” said Simpson.

The diplomatic friction over the Obama administration’s “gay” rights agenda may well be a key factor in America’s refusal to provide more help against Boko Haram and in Obama’s desire to see a new president in Nigeria.

“Obama, in sort of veiled threats, said that he would withhold aid if they didn’t repeal that law. The Nigerians basically told them to get lost. ‘We’re going to do what we want. You don’t have any right to impose your morality on us,”’ said Simpson, who says the Jonathan campaign alleges that Buhari has secretly promised the Obama administration that he will work to repeal the law if elected.

Gaffney believes some concerns about laws addressing sexual orientation may be warranted, but said he has no “dog in that particular fight” and believes regional and U.S. security interests suggest the administration ought to be pursuing a far different course.

“We do have a profoundly important stake in the larger question of whether Nigeria continues to slide into chaos, into the orbit of these jihadists,” he said. “Oil, the strategic resources and position and population of that country are put into serious jeopardy as a result of these calculations.”

Also see:

Obama Accused of Obstructing Battle against Boko Haram to Promote Axelrod’s Nigerian Muslim Client

timthumb (12)AIM, by James SimpsonMarch 26, 2015:

When the notorious Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, kidnapped 278 school girls from the town of Chibok in northeastern Nigeria last year, Michelle Obama began a Twitter hashtag campaign, #BringBackOurGirls. But behind the scenes, the Obama administration was undermining Nigeria’s efforts to take the battle to the terrorists. Obama refused to sell Nigeria arms and supplies critical to the fight, and stepped in to block other Western allies from doing so. The administration also denied Nigeria intelligence on Boko Haram from drones operating in the area. While Boko Haram was kidnapping school girls, the U.S. cut petroleum purchases from Nigeria to zero, plunging the nation’s economy into turmoil and raising concerns about its ability to fund its battle against the terrorists. Nigeria responded by cancelling a military training agreement between the two countries.

The Nigerian presidential election is coming up Saturday, March 28, 2015. AKPD, the political consulting group founded by Obama confidante David Axelrod, is assisting Retired Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim presidential candidate from Muslim-dominated northern Nigeria, where Boko Haram was spawned and wields the most influence. Buhari is well-known throughout the country, having led as “Head-of-State” following a military coup in 1983. He was dislodged following another coup in 1985.

Democracy is a recent phenomenon in Nigeria. With the exception of two short periods from its independence in 1960 to 1966, and the second republic from 1979 to 1983, the country was ruled by a string of military dictatorships between 1966 and 1999.

Under the All Progressives Congress (APC) banner, Buhari is putting up a stiff challenge to the sitting president, Dr. Ebele Goodluck Jonathan who hails from Nigeria’s Christian south. Buhari was also the North’s presidential candidate in the last election held in 2011.

Axelrod is credited as the force behind President Obama’s election victories in 2008 and 2012. He served as Obama’s Senior Advisor until 2011. A well-placed Nigerian interviewed for this report who asked to remain unidentified says that influential Nigerians within and outside the government believe Obama deliberately undermined the war effort and sabotaged the Nigerian economy to make President Jonathan appear weak and ineffectual, and thus bolster the electoral prospects for AKPD’s client, Buhari.

The prominent daily Nigerian Tribune cites an activist group, Move on Nigeria, complaining that the U.S. is fueling tension in Nigeria and has “continued to publicly magnify every challenge of the Nigerian government.”

An anti-Buhari Nigerian blogger writing in the Western Post went further:

In the last year, Nigeria sought aid from the White House for many initiatives, including the fight against Boko Haram.

The Obama administration refused to do anything but play [sic] lip service to Nigeria’s requests. However, it used public and private channels to internationally magnify every failure Nigeria’s government experienced.

In the last year, since the involvement of Axelrod’s firm, relations between the two nations have significantly deteriorated, with the US refusing to sell arms to Nigeria, a significant reduction in the purchase of Nigeria’s oil, and the cancellation of a military training agreement between Nigeria and the USA.

In turn, the Buhari-led Nigerian opposition used the U.S. government’s position as validation for their claim that the Nigerian government was a failure.

Nigerian officials seeking to purchase weapons, especially Cobra attack helicopters, were outraged at Obama’s refusal to allow these transactions. Nigeria’s ambassador to the U.S., Professor Adebowale Adefuye, stated publicly that:

The U.S. government has up till today refused to grant Nigeria’s request to purchase lethal equipment that would have brought down the terrorists within a short time on the basis of the allegations that Nigeria’s defence forces have been violating human rights of Boko Haram suspects when captured or arrested.

We find it difficult to understand how and why, in spite of the U.S. presence in Nigeria, with their sophisticated military technology, Boko Haram should be expanding and becoming more deadly.

Another official quoted in the Nigerian newspaper ThisDay, stated:

The U.S. government has frustrated Nigeria all the way in our war against terrorism despite its public statements in support of Nigeria, as it fights the Boko Haram insurgents in the North-east… They want us to fight Boko Haram with our arms tied to our backs.

They have blocked us from procuring the helicopters and would not provide us with intelligence despite the fact that they have several drones and sophisticated aircraft overflying the North-east of Nigeria from bases in Niger and Chad where the Boko Haram fighters and movements are clearly in their sights.

Retired Col. Abubakar Umar, a former military governor, concluded that the Americans “have decided to turn a blind eye to what is happening in Nigeria.”

Former Head-of-State, Retired Gen. Yakubu Gowon publicly stated last November that America is no friend of Nigeria.

After exhausting all avenues, the Nigerian government finally turned to Russia, China and the black market to obtain needed arms, and as a result has gone aggressively on the offensive against Boko Haram, retaking some 40 towns occupied by the group and killing at least 500 terrorists. According to recent accounts, Boko Haram has gone to ground in the northeastern border regions. But whereas the border states of Niger, Chad, Benin and Cameroon formerly took a hands-off approach, they have now joined in the effort to destroy the group, pledging a total of 8,700 troops. Most recently, Boko Haram has been cleared of its northeastern strongholds in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

U.S. Excuses

The Obama administration has said it is barred from supplying weapons by the so-called Leahy Amendment which forbids foreign states that have committed “gross human rights violations” from receiving military aid. However this did not stop the U.S. from sending Special Forces to Uganda—another country accused of such violations—to assist in capturing Lord Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony. Nor did it prevent Obama from supporting al Qaeda-linked rebel groups in Libya, who later went on to attack the Benghazi mission, and have now joined ISIS. The Syrian “moderates” the administration claimed to back are also allegedly joining with ISIS.

In fact, Obama supported the Islamic radicals who destabilized states throughout the Middle East, including Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, and did little to prevent Iranian-backed Shiites from overthrowing Yemen—a key ally in the War on Terror. And despite claims that the U.S. “does not negotiate with terrorists,” the administration did so in secret with the Taliban for years, most notoriously over the release of Bowe Bergdahl.

The U.S. State Department is currently negotiating a deal that will enable Iran to obtain the bomb, and it just declared that Iran and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, are not terrorists. The administration even claims Iran has been an ally in the War on Terror! Finally, Axelrod’s client, Buhari, has been accused of human rights abuses during his time as chief-of-state.

To top it off, Secretary of State John Kerry made a mockery of the administration’s pretext by hinting in January meetings with both Jonathan and Buhari that the Obama administration might allow weapon sales after the election. If the U.S. was so concerned about human rights violations, how could a mere election change that? Given the perception that Buhari has Obama’s implicit support, this sends an unmistakable message.

The administration also rationalized its decision to cut purchases of Nigerian oil by claiming that output from domestic oil fracking has reduced America’s dependence on foreign oil. But that begs the question: why have U.S. oil imports from other nations increased at the same time? Nigeria was formerly among America’s top five oil supplying countries, and America its largest customer. Nigeria relies on oil revenues for 70 percent of its budget. America’s decision to look elsewhere has been catastrophic for Nigeria’s economy.

A Deutsche Bank analyst noted that the decline in Nigeria’s oil sales to America “proceeded much faster than for the U.S.’ other major suppliers,” and concluded that singling Nigeria out this way had to be driven by politics.

Nigeria is not the only country where Obama is using oil as a foreign policy weapon. The U.S. has not renewed its 35-year-old agreement with Israel to provide emergency supplies of oil, despite booming U.S. oil production. The agreement expired in November 2014. At the time, the State Department claimed to be working on renewing the agreement, but has yet to do so.

U.S. Media AWOL

There is not a single article mentioning Axelrod’s assistance to Buhari in any U.S. “mainstream” media outlet. Only the Washington Free Beacon ran a story.

A Google search of “New York Times, Nigeria, Axelrod,” found only one Times article titled Nigerian Soldiers Noticeably Absent in Town Taken from Boko Haram. There was no mention of Axelrod or his relationship to Nigeria’s Muslim candidate, Buhari. Rather, it criticized Nigeria’s participation in the recent multi-country effort to remove Boko Haram from its northeastern Nigerian holdouts, quoting Chadian foreign minister, Moussa Faki Mahamat, who said, “The Nigerian Army has not succeeded in facing up to Boko Haram.”

There are however, many flattering articles about Axelrod, like the Times review of his book, Believer.

NBC News reported on the oil issue, quoting Peter Pham, the Atlantic Council’s director of its Africa Program, who characterized it as “a sea change in [Nigeria’s] relations with the United States, a sea change in its geopolitical position in the world.”

NBC also noted Nigerian ambassador Adefuye’s complaint about U.S. refusal to provide weapons to Nigeria, and how both issues impacted Nigeria’s ability to fight Boko Haram—but there was no mention of Axelrod’s assistance to Buhari.

Buhari Connected to Boko Haram?

Boko Haram is a virulently anti-Western Islamist movement. Its name, roughly translated, means “fake education is forbidden,” but in practice the term “fake” refers to Western education. It was founded in 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf, a Salafist preacher who created a school to provide an Islamic alternative to Westernized schools. Over time it became a recruiting tool for Boko Haram fighters. The group envisions creating an Islamic caliphate throughout Africa. Yusuf was killed by police in a 2009 uprising, and was replaced by Abubakar Shekau, who recently pledged the group’s alliance with ISIS. Let’s review just what kind of monsters these Boko Haram terrorists are:

Certain Buhari supporters such as Ango Abdullahi of the Northern Elders Forum(NEF), have been accused of tacitly supporting Boko Haram, and Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has linked Buhari himself with the terrorists. The alleged connection however, is an open question. In 2013, Buhari protested a government crackdown on the group. In 2012, Boko Haram nominated Buhari as one of six mediators in negotiations with the government over a proposed ceasefire. In 2001, Buhari expressed his desire to see Nigeria ruled by Sharia law,saying:

I will continue to show openly and inside me the total commitment to the Sharia movement that is sweeping all over Nigeria… God willing, we will not stop the agitation for the total implementation of the Sharia in the country.

However, Boko Haram attempted to assassinate Buhari last year in a suicide bomb attack that killed 82. More recently, the group called both him and Jonathan “Infidels.” For his part, Buhari called the group “bigots masquerading as Muslims.” Buhari also ruthlessly suppressed a similar group, the Maitatsine, during his time as military head-of-state. Buhari’s vice-presidential running mateis a Pentecostal pastor from the south. Similarly, Jonathan picked a Muslim from the north as his number two.

But much violence has surrounded Buhari’s past efforts. Nigeria has a practice of alternating northern and southern rule called zoning. In the 2011 election, Jonathan was president, having ascended from the vice presidency in 2010 following the death of President Umaru Yar’Adau, a northerner. Some Northern politicians believed that Buhari should have assumed the presidency in 2011.

Abdullahi and others, at that time, threatened violence if Buhari wasn’t elected. Buhari himself refused to condemn violence. This was universally interpreted as encouragement from Buhari. Within hours of Jonathan’s election—what was believed to be one of Nigeria’s historically fairest—Buhari’s Muslim supporters took to the streets, attacking Jonathan supporters with machetes and knives. Following Jonathan’s inauguration, Boko Haram launched a wave of bombings, killing and wounding dozens. An estimated 800 people died in the post-election violence in the Muslim north.

A prominent Nigerian deputy governor, Tele Ikuru, who recently abandoned the APC to join Jonathan’s PDP, called the APC “a party of rebels, insurgents and anarchists, clothed in the robes of pretence and deceit.”

Embarrassed by the kidnapping and the perceived association between Buhari’s supporters and Boko Haram, AKPD claimed that they discontinued work for Buhari in early 2014. However, The Washington Free Beacon has unearthed emails showing that they continued to quietly aid APC into at least January of this year.

Their campaign appears to have been successful. While Nigerian election polls are conflicting, the most recent one projects Buhari the winner by a wide margin. Not surprisingly, the reasons cited for Jonathan’s unpopularity include the perception that he is weak and ineffectual against Boko Haram, and that the economy is in a sorry state. Nigerians have taken to calling the president “Bad Luck” Jonathan.

Nigeria’s Critical Role and U.S. Policy Failures

Most Americans are unaware of the critical role Nigeria plays in African politics. In addition to being Africa’s largest oil producer, Nigeria is also the continent’s most populous nation, with an estimated 162 million people, and is home toapproximately 12.5 percent of the world’s total black population. Additionally, Nigerian Americans are very productive and well represented in the fields of medicine, sports, engineering, and academics. Annual remittances are $21 billion, with America providing the largest proportion. It is ironic at best that America’s so-called “first black president” is alienating such a nation, especially given its powerful influence throughout Africa.

Because of Obama, America is losing allies the world over. Despite his so-called outreach to “the Muslim world,” the few Muslim allies America has are calling him out. For example, observe the unprecedented spectacle of Arabs cheering Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before the U.S. Congress. Columnist Dr. Ahmad Al-Faraj of the Saudi daily newspaper Al-Jazirah, called Obama “the worst president in American history.” The only Muslims Obama seems to like are those who hate America, and he is going out of his way to court them, come what may.

James Simpson is an economist, businessman and investigative journalist. His articles have been published at American Thinker, Accuracy in Media,Breitbart, PJ Media, Washington Times, WorldNetDaily and others. His regular column is DC Independent Examiner. Follow Jim on Twitter &Facebook

Also see:

Report: ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram Training Together

AP Photo/Militant Website, Fil

AP Photo/Militant Website, Fil

Breitbart, by John Hayward, March 24, 2015:

According to Veryan Khan of the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium, the great under-the-radar terror threat comes from an expanse of the Sahara Desert in Mauritania, where ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram are working together to train Western recruits for jihad, including terror attacks in Europe and North America.

“The situation in Mauritania is a powder keg very few people are talking about,” Khan told Fox News.

When the first stories about Boko Haram’s idolization of ISIS broke, some analysts were confident the two terror groups would never work together, because the Islamic State was supposedly too racist to cooperate with their African fan club. That analysis disintegrated completely over the past few months, as ISIS officially embraced Boko Haram as a franchise of their “caliphate.” Operational cooperation, especially in the form of tactical training badly needed by the enthusiastic but sloppy Boko Haram terrorists, would be the next logical step.

Khan’s organization has a source in Mauritania that says at least 80 trainees — including recruits from the U.S., Canada, and Europe — are quartered at the camps, which are located in the sparsely-populated desert interior of the country. “Signs in English can be seen in videos and photos obtained by TRAC inside one of the main camps at the Maatamoulana Mosque, providing unmistakable evidence of westerners’ presence,” writes Fox News.

The joint terrorist training project got a big shot in the arm when Mauritania’s government released five top terrorists following a prison riot in which they took two guards hostage and threatened to not only kill the hostages, but hunt down and slaughter their families as well.  The five were prominent members of al-Qaeda and one of its parent organizations, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat.  Several of them have experience with jihadi recruitment and training.

It is not clear from the Fox News report if any of these five are thought to be actively participating in the Mauritania camps, or if their release was more of a morale-booster and propaganda coup for the camp management.  The article does run down a list of headline-grabbing terrorists who made trips to Mauritania, which offers little in the way of amenities for jihadis besides the desert training facility. Suspected veterans of the training program include three Canadians who joined al-Qaeda in a bloody attack on an Algerian gas plant in 2013, a Florida-based cleric who allegedly used his seminary to funnel terrorist recruits to Mauritania, and a French citizen involved in the execution of ISIS hostage Peter Kassig.

As for Boko Haram’s involvement, it is noted that the leader of the Nigerian gang has claimed some of his thugs were trained in Mauritania, and indeed Boko Haram’s ideology was incubated there. “There also are links between Mauritania and Boko Haram evident in its interaction with Al Qaeda for training and the supply lines for finance and weapons,” Khan told Fox News.  “In addition, there are recruitment centers and organized crime networks in Mauritania facilitating ISIS expansion in North and Central Africa.”

Mauritania has also arrested several suspected ISIS terrorists who bragged that the Islamic State was “on its way to that country,” and a major Mauritanian terrorist brigade recently pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.  It was not merely a rhetorical salute, as a couple of Mauritanian terrorists were subsequently arrested trying to smuggle a load of cash and weapons into Mali.

The Mauritanian terror gangs have been quite active, according to Fox News:

Within Mauritania, there have been several terrorism related incidents waged by jihadists since 2005, including the assassination of four French tourists in Aleg by Al Qaeda, attacks on the Israeli and French embassies, clashes between Al Qaeda members and Mauritanian forces in Tevragh Zeina, the beheading of 12 Mauritanian soldiers, the murder of Christopher Ervin Leggett, a U.S. citizen, the kidnapping of three Spanish citizens, the kidnapping of an Italian couple kidnapped and other embassy attacks that were prevented.

CNN recently ran a disturbing profile of African terrorism that cited Jane’s Defense Weekly’s description of Mauritania as “an aspirational target for jihadist groups due to its military co-operation with France and Algeria.” The World Policy blog proposed Mauritania as part of an urgently-needed African “security belt,” and wondered how al-Qaeda’s interests in Africa would respond to the encroachment of ISIS — “will AQ affiliates strengthen when challenged, or will they pledge bayat [allegiance] to IS like Boko Haram has done?”  If all three groups are cooperating at terror camps in Mauritania, we may have the beginnings of an answer to that question, and it’s not a good answer.

Will al Shabaab Join Islamic State?

1321364230CSP, by Nicholas Hanlon, March 18, 2015:

The past weeks of debate regarding the relationship of Boko Haram and IS paints a picture of the how Western analysts weigh relationships between Sunni Islamic movements.  Most analysis in the media weighed tactical considerations that proved to be superficial in the end.

The overarching predictor of behavior for the allegiance between Boko Haram and IS was their strict religious interpretation of Islamic Law.  This is why the Threat Information Office at the Center for Security Policy so confidently predicted the acceptance of allegiance from Boko Haram by IS.

The tactical superficialities often discussed included egos among leadership in the groups, Arab racism toward black Africans, and propaganda ploys made in desperation.  All of these lines of inquiry are factors that merit assessment but ultimately they are symptoms.   Good intelligence analysis should not resemble an after action report.  It should predict behavior in order to prevent strategic surprise.

One of the symptoms or tactical superficialities that came into focus just before the alliance was the upgrade in Boko Haram’s media capability.  This led many to speculate that they had help and training from IS for their propaganda division.  The assistance could have as easily come from al Shabaab.  Al Shabaab has long had an impressive media capability but the latest video on their invasion of Mpeketoni in Eastern Kenya seems to be a leap forward none the less.  If the propaganda videos released by each group serve a purpose, it is to teach us about tactics and goals.  Emphasize the goals over the tactics and you will have a better handle on behavior.

It has been the over-emphasis on tactics that have cost us the big picture.  Again, it was strict religious interpretation which trumped racism that U.S. intelligence officials said would prevent an allegiance between Boko Haram and IS.  The Ansaru faction of Boko Haram for example came from the mind of Mokhtar Belmokhtar (of AQIM at the time).  The media picked up on Ansuru’s condemnation of Boko Haram’s horrific tactics.  If one were to be specific, Ansaru’s issue was with Boko Haram’s horrific treatment of it’s own members.  Not infidels generally.  In fact, by Belmokhtar’s design, Ansaru was meant to be a regional actor where Boko Haram was local.  Maaman Nur led Ansaru and connected with al Shabaab between 2009 and 20011.  Nur, like Abubakar Shekau, was a disciple of Muhammed Yousef.  Many of Yousef’s followers joined Al Qaeda after his death.

This is all to say that the things that divide these groups do not deter them from their long term goals.  There are now hints that Al Qaeda linked al Shabaab will be the next to pledge to IS.  We can continue to ask if tactical factors will cause significant divisions.  One of the big question that remains is whether alliances between these groups will strengthen them tactically.

Despite military success of western alliances in Nigeria, Somalia, or the Middle East, these allegiances will strengthen these Sunni Islamist groups.  In one sense, they already have because policy makers have alluded themselves that the different banners under which global jihadists fight are more significant than they seem.  Now, as they move toward one banner with four globally connected Jihadist groups holding territory (Taliban, Boko Haram, IS, al Shabaab) the threat will extrapolate.

Consider the ten thousand fighters from Western Europe living in democratic societies whose beliefs caused them to heed the call to battle once IS declared the Caliphate and gave them and accessible place to live out their belief.  Success is a great propaganda and recruiting tool.  Every new place they can paint the black flag of Jihad on the map, more will rally to their banner.

Also see:

Islamic State spokesman publicly accepts Boko Haram’s allegiance

Screen-Shot-2015-03-13-at-11.16.00-AM-300x152LWJ, BY THOMAS JOSCELYN | March 13th, 2015:

In a defiant new speech, Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al Adnani claims that the “caliphate” is undaunted in the face of the multinational forces arrayed against it and remains on the path to victory. Adnani also publicly accepts the pledge of allegiance issued by Boko Haram’s leader, Abu Bakr Shekau, saying that recruits who cannot join the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere now have the option of traveling to West Africa.

Adnani’s audio speech, entitled “So They Kill and Are Killed,” was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group. The recording is nearly 30 minutes long.

“We give you glad tidings today about the expansion of the Caliphate to West Africa, for the Caliph, may Allah preserve him, accepted the pledge of allegiance of our brothers in Jama’at Ahl al-Sunnah Lil Dawa Wal Jihad [Boko Haram],” Adnani says, according to SITE’s translation.  “We congratulate the Muslims and our mujahideen brothers in West Africa for their pledge of allegiance, and we congratulate them for their joining the march of the Caliphate.”

Adnani goes on to say that those who are “unable to immigrate to Iraq, Sham, Yemen, the Peninsula, and Khorasan,” may not be “unable [to immigrate to] Africa.”

Earlier this month, Shekau became the highest-profile jihadist to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State thus far. [See LWJ report, Boko Haram leader pledges allegiance to the Islamic State.]

Abu Bakr al Baghdadi (“Caliph Ibrahim”) and his followers have pressed to garner the fealty of many existing jihadist groups, but failed to woo al Qaeda’s existing branches. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and Shabaab in Somalia all remain openly loyal to al Qaeda’s senior leadership.

The Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official arm in the Levant, has fought against the Islamic State in Syria. Contrary to claims made by jihadists in recent press reports and on social media, Al Nusrah remains a part of al Qaeda’s international network. Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) was established by Ayman al Zawahiri and other senior al Qaeda leaders in September 2014 and is staffed by al Qaeda loyalists.

Other parts of al Qaeda’s global operation, including the Islamic Caucasus Emirate (ICE), have rejected Baghdadi’s caliphate claim. Some of ICE’s commanders have defected to the Islamic State, but the overall group remains in al Qaeda’s camp. Numerous other al Qaeda-linked jihadist groups have declined to follow Baghdadi as well.

Still, the Islamic State’s own international network has been growing, especially in Libya and the Sinai. Baghdadi has also garnered the fealty of disgruntled al Qaeda and Taliban commanders in South Asia, giving the Islamic State some manpower in the region.

Shekau was arguably the first well-known jihadist leader to openly join Baghdadi. Boko Haram has longstanding ties to AQIM and other parts of al Qaeda, but that relationship will undoubtedly evolve further given Shekau’s public backing of Baghdadi.

Ansaru, a pro-al Qaeda group in Nigeria, has increasingly sought to distance itself from Boko Haram in recent months. Ansaru and Boko Haram have frequently cooperated in operations, but have distinctly different jihadist agendas. Ansaru, like other al Qaeda groups, is attempting to portray itself as a popular revolutionary force, as opposed to Boko Haram’s and the Islamic State’s top-down totalitarianism.

In its propaganda this past week, the Islamic State portrayed Boko Haram’s decision to join the self-declared “caliphate” as a major boost for the group. At a time when Baghdadi’s forces are taking on enemies from nearly every direction, Boko Haram’s announcement was seen as a major coup. Before Adnani’s speech was made public, the Islamic State released several videos from followers and members in Raqqa and elsewhere praising Shekau’s announcement. (A screen shot from one of the messages can be seen at the beginning of this article.)

Indeed, with Boko Haram in its camp, the Islamic State can now plausibly claim to control significant territory in both the heart of the Middle East and West Africa.

Adnani’s speech is devoted largely to the task of wooing new recruits. He preaches the supposed virtues of the Islamic State in the Middle East and West Africa.  In the lands of the caliphate, Adnani says, “monotheism is achieved” and “jihad in the cause of Allah” is the norm.

According to SITE’s translation, Adnani continues by saying there “is no polytheism or paganism or nationalism or patriotism or polytheist democracy or disbelieving secularism” in the caliphate. “There is no difference between an Arab and a non-Arab, nor between black and white. Here, the American fraternizes with the Arab, and the African with the European, and the Eastern with the Western.” Adnani promises would-be recruits that they will have the opportunity to live under sharia law if they join the Islamic State’s cause.

Adnani is also keen to portray the Islamic State’s setbacks in Kobane and elsewhere as merely tactical withdrawals, claiming that the the US-led coalition and Kurdish forces found it necessary to demolish these locations. This is a radically different message than the one the Islamic State released during the peak of the fighting in Kobane. At the time, Baghdadi’s group insisted that there were no opposition forces in the city and that the jihadists were in complete control. That was false.

Also see:

Boko Haram: What It Means to Swear an Oath

2700814599CSP, by Kyle Shideler, March 11, 2015:

In response to the fact that Nigerian terror group Boko Haram has sworn allegiance to Islamic States, analysts have primarily seized on what benefit Boko Haram is expected to get out of it, and whether the Nigerian insurgency needed a “propaganda” boost, at a time when they are facing a coalition of African states seeking to roll back them back.

This focusing solely on the question of benefit seems logical to the average western analyst, but is deeply problematic.

First, what is Boko Haram? An insurgency? A terrorist organization? Boko Haram, in their own words, is a jamaat (group) dedicated to dawa (proselytizing) and jihad (warfare against unbelievers). These words in and of themselves are pregnant with significance.

Consider from the prospective of those whom Boko Haram considers a relevant authority on these matters. Founder Mohammed Yusuf in 2009 reportedly stated that: “All Islamic scholars who undermine Ibn Taymiyyah, Sayyid Qutb, Hassan al-Banna and Osama Bin Laden are not authentic Islamic scholars.” Sayyid Qutb, in his seminal work “Milestones” had this to say about Dawa and Jihad:

“The movement uses the methods of preaching and persuasion (Dawa) for reforming ideas and beliefs and it uses physical power and Jihad for abolishing the organizations and authorities of the Jahili (pre-Islamic) system.”

As a Dawa and Jihad organization adhering to Qutb’s methodology, Boko Haram from the beginning was oriented towards the eventual seizure of territory upon which to rule while abolishing Nigerian rule.

Having reached a stage (or milestone as Qutb would have called it), where they felt it appropriate, Boko Haram announced in August of 2014 the establishment of an Islamic state over the territory they controlled in Northern Nigeria. At the time many western analysts misunderstood this claim to be one of a “rival” caliphate. Boko Haram reaffirmed its position of ruling territory in January of this year, noting in discussing its seizure of the town of Baga:

“As for it’s importance to us, it’s because of it removes that military presence from the lands of the Islamic state, and hence establish the Shariah of Allah in the region, and attain safety and security in it for Muslims.”

It was during this period that Boko Haram began openly expressing itself with Islamic State imagery, including their version of the black shahada flag, and using nasheeds (acapella singing) popular with IS fighters in their videos.

Finally the Boko Haram’s Shura Council was previously reported to be considering whether or not to swear an oath to “Caliph” AbuBakr Al-Baghdadi. Having finally done so, it has been reported as an “alliance” or a “team up” but the reality is different. An oath to a caliph carries with it significant implications. Regarding the oath, Islamic jurist Ibn Khaldun (d.1406) wrote:

It should be known that the bay’ah (oath of allegiance) is a contract to render obedience. It is as though the person who renders the oath of allegiance made a contract with his amir, to the effect that he surrenders supervision of his own affairs and those of the Muslims to him and that he will not contest his authority in any of (those affairs) and that he will obey him by (executing) all the duties with which he might be charged, whether agreeable or disagreeable.

In practice, because of geographical distance, and because Boko Haram remains capable of operating independently, it’s unlikely that this degree of total control would be applied, particularly if Boko Haram is granted the position of an IS Province), but legally that is what has been sworn.  It’s an oath which is pre-modern in its conception, and attempting to understand it in the context of  a joint venture between two companies, or a nation-state alliance is an error.

As regards Islamic State’s view of the matter, many questioned whether Boko Haram’s oath would be accepted (it appears to have been). This should come has no surprise either, because Islamic State has explicitly told groups like Boko Haram that such an oath is not only welcome, but “obligatory.” The Islamic State noted in its Caliphate Declaration (This is the Promise of Allah) that:

We clarify to the Muslims that with this declaration of khilāfah, it is incumbent upon all Muslims to pledge allegiance to the khalīfah Ibrāhīm and support him (may Allah preserve him). The legality of all emirates, groups, states, and organizations, becomes null by the expansion of the khilāfah’s authority and arrival of its troops to their areas. (emphasis added).

This would seem to suggest that the Islamic State is now in the position to offer at least some level (of possibly technical) assistance to Boko Haram, thus representing an “arrival of its troops.” Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has already claimed that Islamic State has been training Boko Haram’s forces, although whether that’s true remains to be seen.

Seeking to understand and analyze jihadist organizations absent the context of the sharia law that dictates their actions and which they hold as legally binding and obligatory,  continues to mislead and confuse.

 

Boko Haram’s Pledge to ISIS and the Politicization of Intelligence Analysis

954096622CSP, by Nicholas Hanlon, March, 9, 2015:

It is no surprise that the result of the Boko Haram Shura council meeting resulted in a pledge of allegiance by Boko Haram leader Abu Bakr Shekau to Islamic State emir Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.  Kyle Shideler, director of the Threat Information Office at the Center for Security Policy spelled out very clearly why Boko Haram would come to such a conclusion in order to be consistent with Islamic Law.

It is fair to assume that many analysts worth their salt in the intelligence community came to the same conclusion.  One must assume however because this outcome is contrary to the narrative of the U.S. administration when describing their strategic understanding of each group.  In his testimony at the most recent hearing on Boko Haram in late January, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at State’s Bureau of African Affairs, Robert Jackson took liberty to make this point about the difference between the two groups,

You asked about branding Boko Haram.  I would note that Daesh and al Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Mahgreb have disassociated themselves from Boko Haram because they consider it such an extreme organization.”

He seemed to take issue as the sub-committee chairman, Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, quite accurately referred to Boko Haram as ‘ISIS in Africa.’   As Shideler pointed out, an unnamed U.S. intelligence official pushed hard against the association between Boko Haram and ISIS in the press in late February, echoing Jackson’s January testimony.

At first glance to an intelligence analyst, the disconnect might be explained by a failure to account for a classic bias known as ‘mirror imaging.’  This is where the analyst fails to account for the logic native to the culture and world view of the object of his or her analysis.  He fails to think how the enemy thinks.

That is not a sufficient explanation for the administration’s need to help the media dissociate Boko Haram from ISIS and al Qaeda despite the key unifying factors; ideology, war doctrine, and religion.  That would mean that the best of our intelligence community are ultimately incompetent in their basic function to identify the intent and capability of hostile actors.

It is more likely that a strategic understanding of Boko Haram and it’s intentions have been available within the intelligence community as far back as 2009 when the State Department first refused to designate Boko Haram as a designated terrorist organization.  Boko Haram’s pledge to ISIS is not a symptom of a failure of intelligence analysis.  It is evidence politicized intelligence.  Boko Haram’s atrocities are symptoms of Al Qaeda’s beliefs and goals.  They move forward in different manifestations under different names but they trace back to the same war strategy.  It’s one that we knew about all along.

Had we recognized the strategic nature of the similarities of these groups in 2009, we would have had a war footing to fight Boko Haram.  There were already funded counter-terrorism programs in place which, under the Terrorist Organization Designation, Boko Haram would not have been able to fester until 2013.  If you look at the State Department’s narrative then, denying that Boko Haram had a jihadist agenda, you can see the pattern of intelligence cherry picking begin.  Members of the press should keep pulling that thread.  Pretending to have a nuanced understanding of terrorist groups to avoid political implications has cost Africa thousands of innocent lives.

Boko Haram Militants Ally With Islamic State

Sky News, March 7, 2015:

In an audio statement attributed to Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, the Nigerian group promises to “hear and obey” IS.

The audio message has been attributed to Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau

The audio message has been attributed to Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau

Nigerian militant group Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to Islamic State in an audio statement, according to SITE.

The monitoring group said part of the message, which has been translated from Arabic, read: “We announce our allegiance to the Caliph of the Muslims Ibrahim ibn Awad ibn Ibrahim al-Husseini al-Qurashi and will hear and obey in times of difficulty and prosperity.

“We call upon Muslims everywhere to pledge allegiance to the Caliph.”

The pledge of allegiance has been attributed to Boko Haram leaderAbubakar Shekau, and was released through the group’s Twitter account.

Ibrahim ibn Awad ibn Ibrahim al Husseini al Qurashi – better known asAbu Bakr al-Baghdadi – is the leader of Islamic State.

He has already accepted pledges of allegiance from other jihadist groups in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan and north Africa.

Boko Haram has staged a military campaign to establish its own Islamic caliphate in northern Nigeria over the last six years.

Shekau was not pictured, but did identify himself in the recording.

The group has begun releasing videos in recent months which resemble those made by IS in Iraq and Syria where hostages, including British aid workers Alan Henning and David Haines, were murdered.

This month, it released footage purporting to show two men being beheaded.

Nigerian government spokesman Mike Omeri said: “(The audio) is confirming what we always thought. It’s sad, it’s bad.

“It’s why we are appealing to the international community… hopefully the world will wake up to the disaster unfolding here.”

Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence Group, said: “Boko Haram is now being elevated from a local jihadi group to an important arm of the Islamic State.

“With Boko Haram’s wide network in North Africa, the Islamic State’s projection of creating an Islamic Caliphate is gaining headway.

“Furthermore, Islamic State’s infrastructure, resources and military capabilities will enable Boko Haram to expand its operations and control even faster in North Africa.”

On Saturday, four bomb blasts killed at least 50 people in the city of Maiduguri in some of the worst attacks since Boko Haram militants tried to capture the town in two major assaults earlier this year.

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Also see:

A full list of the 31 groups pledging support or allegiance to ISIS, according to Intel Center, is below:

  • al-I’tisam of the Quran and Sunnah [Sudan] — Aug. 1, 2014 — Support
  • Abu Sayyaf Group [Philippines] — June 25, 2014 — Support
  • Ansar al-Khilafah [Philippines] — Aug. 4, 2014 — Allegiance
  • Ansar al-Tawhid in India [India] — Oct. 4, 2014 — Allegiance
  • Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) [Phillipines] — Aug. 13, 2014 — Support
  • Bangsmoro Justice Movement (BJM) [Phillipines] — Sept. 11, 2014 — Support
  • al-Huda Battalion in Maghreb of Islam [Algeria] — June 30, 2014 — Allegiance
  • Heroes of Islam Brigade in Khorasan [Afghanistan] — Sept. 30, 2014 — Allegiance
  • The Soldiers of the Caliphate in Algeria [Algeria] — 30 Sep. 2014 — Allegiance
  • Jundullah [Pakistan] — Nov. 17, 2014 — Support
  • Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) [Pakistan] Statement — Sept. 24, dated Sept. 12, 2014 — Support
  • Islamic Youth Shura Council [Libya] — June 22, 2014 — Support
  • Jaish al-Sahabah in the Levant [Syria] — July 1, 2014 — Allegiance
  • Faction of Katibat al-Imam Bukhari [Syria] — Oct. 29, 2014 – Allegiance
  • Jamaat Ansar Bait al-Maqdis [Egypt] — June 30, 2014 — Allegiance
  • Jund al-Khilafah in Egypt [Egypt] — Sept. 23, 2014 — Allegiance
  • Liwa Ahrar al-Sunna in Baalbek [Lebanon] — June 30, 2014 — Allegiance
  • Islamic State Libya (Darnah) [Libya] — Nov. 9, 2014 — Allegiance
  • Lions of Libya [Libya] (Unconfirmed) — Sept. 24, 2014 — [Support/Allegiance]
  • Shura Council of Shabab al-Islam Darnah [Libya] — Oct. 6, 2014 — Allegiance
  • Mujahedeen Indonesia Timor (MIT) [Indonesia] — July 1, 2014 — Allegiance
  • Mujahedeen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSCJ) [Egypt] — Oct. 1, 2014 — Support
  • Tehreek-e-Khilafat [Pakistan] — July 9, 2014 — Allegiance
  • Okba Ibn Nafaa Battalion [Tunisia] — Sept. 20 2014 — Support
  • Mujahedeen of Yemen [Yemen] — Nov. 10, 2014 — Allegiance
  • Supporters for the Islamic State in Yemen [Yemen] — Sept. 4, 2014 — Allegiance
  • al-Tawheed Brigade in Khorasan [Afghanistan] — Sept. 23, 2014 — Allegiance
  • Supporters of the Islamic State in the Land of the Two Holy Mosques [Saudi Arabia] — Dec. 2, 2014 — Support
  • Ansar al-Islam [Iraq] — Jan. 8, 2015 — Allegiance
  • Leaders of the Mujahed in Khorasan (10 former TTP commanders) [Pakistan] — Jan. 10, 2015 — Allegiance
  • Boko Haram [Nigeria] — March 7, 2015 — Allegiance