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

Betting National Security on a Theory

IPT News
February 24, 2015

1137The debate over whether it’s a good idea to use phrases like “Islamic extremism” in fighting global terrorism took center stage last week as the White House hosted a summit to discuss what it generically calls “violent extremism.”

In a speech last Thursday at the summit, President Obama explained his rationale for eschewing references to terrorist groups’ Islamist ideology.

“Al Qaeda and ISIL and groups like it are desperate for legitimacy,” he said. “They try to portray themselves as religious leaders — holy warriors in defense of Islam. That’s why ISIL presumes to declare itself the ‘Islamic State.’ And they propagate the notion that America — and the West, generally — is at war with Islam. That’s how they recruit. That’s how they try to radicalize young people. We must never accept the premise that they put forward, because it is a lie. Nor should we grant these terrorists the religious legitimacy that they seek. They are not religious leaders — they’re terrorists.”

So accurately describing their ideology, or calling the terrorists “jihadists” grants them undo legitimacy as true representatives of the faith, the argument goes. The current policy aims to deny them that mantle.

That’s a theory. But there’s a key question no one seems to be asking: Does it work?

This is a continuation of a policy instituted during President George W. Bush’s second term, meaning it has been in place for more than seven years. If it is indeed the right, best policy, advocates should be able to point to tangible evidence to show its value.

Arguably, the Islamist ideology has never been more popular, given the flood of foreign fighters making their way to Iraq and Syria to join the Islamic State, or Boko Haram’s endless reign of terror in Nigeria. Hamas still enjoys strong support despite following policies which bring devastation to the people of Gaza.

And there is no mistaking the religious motivation driving these groups. Hamas is an acronym for the “Islamic Resistance Movement.” Boko Haram translates roughly to “Western education is sinful.” And the Islamic State has a whiff of religious affinity.

The Atlantic this month devoted 10,000 words to explaining the core Quranic ideology, with an emphasis on an apocalyptic prophecy, which drives the Islamic State’s brutality. It “follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy, and can help the West know its enemy and predict its behavior,” Graeme Wood explains.

That’s more challenging when that belief system is deliberately kept out of deliberations.

Jeffrey Bale, an associate professor who studies political and religious extremism at the Monterey Institute of International Studies’ Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies Program, called the continued emphasis on avoiding references to Islamic doctrine by Western leaders and pundits “absurd.”

The policy has “not had any discernably positive impact on dealing with the threats that such groups pose,” he said in an email to the Investigative Project on Terrorism. “On the contrary. The simple fact is that it is the Islamists, not Muslim moderates, who are winning the struggle for ideological hegemony throughout much of the Muslim world, and that Obama’s efforts to positively ‘re-set’ relations with the Islamic world have completely failed … In short, there is no evidence that this constant pandering to Islamist activists, these embarrassing efforts to whitewash Islamic history and doctrines, and the foolish insistence that jihadist groups have ‘nothing to do with Islam’ have had any beneficial effects. They have mainly served to confuse Western citizens about the extent and nature of the Islamist threat.”

Maajid Nawaz, a former radical who now tries to combat the narrative which fuels Islamist terrorism, argues the avoidance policy could be making things worse for everyone, including Muslims. In recent social media and television appearances, Nawaz, a co-founder of the London-based Quilliam Institute, calls it the “Voldemort Effect.”

Islam is a religion, he writes. Islamism is the attempt to make the laws of the religion supreme over a society. That’s the ideology that must be defeated, but that “cannot happen if you refuse to recognise it exists,” he wrote in a social media post addressed to Obama that he signed “a constantly betrayed liberal Muslim.”

If we dare not say its name, in other words, it can become more frightening to its foes and more alluring to prospective recruits.

In a recent appearance on Fox News, Nawaz expressed concern that this self-censorship actually makes life more difficult for the overwhelming majority of Muslims who reject terrorist brutality displayed by the Islamic State, Boko Haram, al-Qaida and others.

Non-Muslims in the West “they’re just petrified,” he said, “and that can lead to even more anti-Muslim hate crime. Because if they are unable to pinpoint specifically that we’re dealing with the Islamist ideology, in their ignorance they blame all Muslims. And of course then all Muslims face a backlash. So I think it’s better if we wish to protect mainstream Muslims from anti-Muslim hate crime to name the very specific ideology that we’re talking about, which is Islamism, and distinguish that from Islam the faith.

Nawaz is offering a theory, just like the people who advocate the policy embraced by the Obama administration. There’s a key distinction, however. As he describes in his autobiography, Nawaz helped recruit followers to Hizb ut-Tahrir, a group which dreams of a global caliphate and has been called a “conveyor belt” for jihadist terror. He knows which messages worked and which did not.

Some American Islamists showed last week that the Obama message is not working. They have criticized the White House summit as hostile toward Muslims despite the verbal contortions invoked to avoid that very reaction.

If we’re going to focus on extremist violence, they argue, the bigger threat to America is from right-wing, anti-government movements. It turns out the Department of Homeland Security is concerned about violence from “sovereign citizen” movements who believe they are exempt from state and federal laws.

But it would be wrong to talk about that, Linda Sarsour and Deepa Iyak wrote Feb. 17 in The Guardian.

“One thing is clear: the federal government’s one-note approach to countering violent extremism fosters distrust and hostility towards Muslim communities while disregarding threats to Americans’ safety from racist hate groups in the country.”

There is a key distinction, however. For the most part, sovereign citizen attacks are smaller scale, often erupting in what should be routine encounters with law enforcement officers. CNN cites a 2012 example involving a Louisiana traffic stop that led to a shootout between police and a father and his son.

What Islamist terrorists want, what they urge followers to carry out, are mass casualty attacks that can target specific groups deemed to have offended Islam or simply any place where many people gather.

The United States has rigidly followed a policy, going at times to uncomfortable lengths, to avoid putting a religious label on terrorism clearly driven by a rabid adherence to centuries-old Islamic theology. The uninterrupted flow of new recruits to the Islamic State indicates that the policy has not had the desired effect.

“American policymakers do not yet understand Islamism or what persuades young Muslims to join Jihad: sincere religious devotion based on the core texts of Islam, in particular early Islam’s politicized and aggressive period in Medina (compared to Islam’s spiritual and ascetic period in Mecca),” Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim, writesin Time magazine.

“How does one tackle misguided religious devotion of young Muslims? The answer lies in reforming Islam profoundly—not radical Islam, but mainstream Islam; its willingness to merge Mosque and State, religion, and politics; and its insistence that its elaborate system of Shariah law supersedes civil laws created by human legislators.”

For the West, the sanitized language and tap-dancing around the issue makes it impossible to fully understand the enemy’s motivation, writes Robert R. Reilly, a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council.

“You cannot go into a war of ideas without understanding the ideas you are at war with. Yet, throughout the two speeches, [Obama] never mentions the substance of the enemy’s ideas once,” Reilly writes. “…This is like saying, in World War II, that we were fighting the Nazi ideology, but never mentioning the thoughts of Friedrich Nietzsche, Alfred Rosenberg or Adolph Hitler. Or, during the Cold War, saying we are fighting the ideology of Communism, but never mentioning the ideas of Karl Marx, Lenin, or Stalin.”

Rather than continuing to do the same thing and hope for a better outcome, perhaps it is time to listen to the Muslim reformers asking for a more honest, tough love approach. Terrorists are committing acts of barbarism daily in the name of Islam. That doesn’t mean all, or even most, Muslim see the same commands in their faith.

It might delegitimize terrorists more to emphasize how most of their victims are fellow Muslims, and to clearly draw the lines between the terrorists and the hundreds of millions of Muslims who reject their savagery.

It’s a theory, anyhow.

“First Steps in Defeating Islamic Terror: Understanding the Arab and Muslim World”

Published on Feb 19, 2015 by emetonline

EMET was proud to host Dr. Mordechai Kedar on why Islamic terrorists are targeting the free world, and what we need to know about the Muslim and Arab world to win the war on terror.

From ISIS’s beheadings, to the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris, including the Charlie Hebdo shootings leaving 13 innocent dead, and the slaughter of four Jews at a Kosher supermarket for the mere fact that they were Jewish, the Western world has been left shocked by an enemy it does not know how to defeat. The Islamic State’s campaign of genocide and crimes against humanity has taken on a new level of horror with the recent murder of Jordanian pilot, Moaz al-Kassasbeh, who was burned alive by the radical Islamic terror group. The U.S.’s greatest ally in the Middle East, the State of Israel, was subject to Hamas’ launch of 4,000 rockets into many of its major cities, and the State has to fight terrorists, including those from Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, and Hezbollah, on a daily basis to protect its citizens.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar is an academic expert on the Israeli Arab population. He served for twenty-five years in IDF Military Intelligence, where he specialized in Islamic groups, the political discourse of Arab countries, the Arabic press and mass media, and the Syrian domestic arena. The Los Angeles TimesEdmund Sanders described him as “one of the few Arabic-speaking Israeli pundits seen on Arabic satellite channels defending Israel”

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“WE ARE DEALING WITH AN IDEOLOGY” By Andrew Harrod, (philosproject.org)

Israeli scholar Mordechai Kedar’s Feb. 12 presentation for the Endowment for Middle East Truth gave indispensable insight into the Islamic sources of jihadist movements now threatening the world. During his briefing entitled “First Steps in Defeating Islamic Terror,” Kedar warned that one must recognize the nature of a threat if one ever hopes to defeat it.

“There is no radical Islam,” Kedar said definitively. “There is no moderate Islam. There is Islam.” Each of Islam’s three canonical sources includes “whatever you want to justify, [from] zero violence to 100 percent violence.”

Like Jews and Christians, every Muslim “has his own reality of religious doctrine” and “can argue that opposing viewpoints have hijacked Islam.” Many Muslims uphold Islam’s positive ideas and are “as peaceful as can be.” Other Muslims go the opposite way. Kedar pointed out that environment plays a significant role, since a Muslim who grows up in a free society like the United States will most likely “tailor his Islamic garment” with benign texts, while a Muslim who grows up in war-torn Libya will probably seek out Islam’s more martial aspects.

The problem is that it only takes a few bad seeds. If just one out of every 10,000 Muslims in the worldwide community of 1.5 billion joined ISIS or a similar group, these 150,000 Muslims could “devastate the whole world.” After all, 9/11 and this January’s Paris massacres took place at the hands of just a few jihadists.

The audience watched segments of an ISIS propaganda video showing mass beheadings of captives in places like Europe, Malaysia and the Middle East. This type of video strikes terror in the hearts of Iraqi soldiers and other Middle Easterners longing for peace and order. An English-speaking jihadist pictured in the video warned that Americans deployed to the region could be the next beheading victims; he also called out “to Obama, the dog of Rome.” Kedar explained that a medieval Muslim leader, following the 1453 Ottoman subjugation of the “cats” of Constantinople, had declared that the “dogs of Rome” were Islam’s next target.

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which was founded in 1928, can be thought of as the grandmother of organizations like ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Nigeria’s Boko Haram. The Muslim Brotherhood’s logo, whose depiction of crossed swords and Quran leaves no doubt about its Islamic agenda, features the Arabic word “prepare,” which occurs only once in the Quran, in verse 8:60’s command to “prepare … whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war, by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah.” The Muslim Brotherhood and similar organizations represent Sunni terror, while Hezbollah is the Shiite terror counterpart with a state sponsor in Iran’s Islamic Republic, possibly nuclear-armed in the future.

One audience member referenced Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s internationally noted New Year’s Day address that called for Islamic reform, but Kedar was unimpressed. “I highly respect this man,” he said, but added that Sisi is no different from past dictators like Anwar Sadat (subsequently assassinated), Hosni Mubarak, or Hafez Assad. “Every ruler who sees himself as a target of those radical Muslims has made similar appeals for religious reform,” Kedar said, “yet the last people on earth to change anything are political Muslims who would not consider Sisi legitimate” after that president overthrew Muslim Brotherhood rule.

Willful blindness was a running theme in Kedar’s briefing. He warned that “political correctness will kill America after it already killed Europe,” where the human landscape is morphing after decades of Muslim immigration and non-assimilation.

Kedar ominously concluded his presentation by saying that “the Atlantic is not wide enough to protect this country from a global jihadist ideology.” He pointed to the book 40 Hadith on Jihad, which has a chapter titled “War is a Deception.” While current policies often prevent American authorities from asking about religion during criminal investigations, combatting Islamic threats demands, first and foremost, “intelligence, intelligence and intelligence.” Sun Tzu’s dictum of knowing the enemy remains valid in today’s conflicts, religious or not.

Boko Haram Shura Council Considers Loyalty to Islamic State as Media Hypes Report on IS-Boko Haram Differences

Boko-Haram-.-kill-Agric-students-in-Gujba-Yobe-stateCSP, by Kyle Shideler, Feb. 23, 2015:

A statement by a U.S. intelligence officer discussing the differences between Boko Haram and Islamic State, and stressing that the two groups, ” caliphates are completely separate” and that they would find it difficult to cooperate due to Arab racism received plenty of traction in reporting last week:

“The Arab world is incredibly racist,” explained a U.S. intelligence official. “They don’t see black Africans as equivalent to them.”

ISIS may show “affinity” with Boko Haram, said the official, “but they stop short of allegiance.” Moreover, said the official, while Boko Haram has in the past year released videos to show “affiliation” with groups like ISIS, there’s no evidence of either group sending members to fight with the other. And while Boko Haram has praised ISIS, and shown the ISIS flag in videos, ISIS has not reciprocated.

Now, however, comes a new report by the private intelligence firm SITE, which notes that according to jihadist media sources, Boko Haram, whose actual name is Jama’at Ahl al-Sunnah Lil Dawa Wal Jihad (Group for the Propagation of the Sunnah and Jihad), will have its Shura council discuss swearing allegiance to the Islamic State’s “caliph” Abu-Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

It’s just another example of the ironic timing of an analysis which seems to misunderstand the nature of the Islamic State, and the Global Jihadist Movement generally. The Islamic State, in its position as a declared Caliphate, does not need to offer allegiance to Boko Haram. Rather it is incumbent upon Boko Haram, as a group waging jihad, to swear its allegiance to the Caliph. As IS wrote in its original declaration of the Caliphate, “This is The Promise of Allah“:

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. Imam Ahmad (may Allah have mercy upon him) said, as reported by ‘Abdūs Ibn Mālik al-‘Attār, “It is not permissible for anyone who believes in Allah to sleep without considering as his leader whoever conquers them by the sword until he becomes khalīfah and is called Amīrul-Mu’minīn (the leader of the believers), whether this leader is righteous or sinful.”

There was never a question of the Islamic State accepting Boko Haram. Islamic State ALREADY claims authority over Boko Haram, since it’s leader AbuBakr AlBaghdadi was declared literally “leader of all the believers,” meaning the entire Ummah, and thus all Muslims everywhere, regardless of the color of their skin.

While Islamic State may include many individuals who are racist in their behavior, by giving non-Arab jihadists the worst positions for instance,  the question of allegiance is entirely dependent on whether Boko Haram acknowledges the Caliphate claim, and chooses to accept Islamic State’s authority.

That Boko Haram has expressed some attraction to Islamic State and its messaging (using their flag, anthems and so on) suggested that there was a desire to do so, but ultimately the question is a legal one. Does Boko Haram’s Shura council recognize the legal claim of AbuBakr Al-Baghdadi or not? It is this question that the Shura council will convene to answer, and which will decide whether or not Islamic State adds another province to its roster.

Also see:

Boko Haram Discusses Baga Massacre, Ideology in New Video

 

CSP, by Kyle Shideler, Jan. 28, 2015

The jihadist group known as Boko Haram, appears to have released a new video featuring an interview with the group’s spokesman Sheikh Abu Mus’ab Al barnawi. Regarding its recent successes in attacks on towns in the Lake Chad region Al Barnawi says:

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’s known that those military complexes if they go to a place they corrupt it and injustice rules over it, and we by the Grace of Allah alone have managed to conquer this city and add it to the cities of the Islamic state in Africa.

It’s not immediately clear if Al barnawi means the term Islamic State in a generic sense, or if he is referring to the self-declared Caliphate represented by ISIS leader AbuBakr Al Baghdadi, but Boko Haram has increasingly utilized the flag and symbols of ISIS in its media presentations, and has expressed support for, if not allegiance to Al Baghdadi. In the video, Al barnawi is explicit regarding the group’s larger goals of establishing Sharia and expresses irritation at the insistence of the western media’s referring to the group as Boko Haram rather than by its official name Jama’aat Ahul Sunna wall el Daa’wa wal Jihad (Group for the Propagation of the Sunnah and Jihad). The Boko Haram spokesman also denied allegations that the group engaged in Takfirism (the practice of declaring fellow Muslims to be infidels), spending several minutes denying the claim.

We have come to give victory to AlSunna and to establish the governance of Allah on earth. As for accusing us of shedding Muslims’ blood that’s not true, and Allah is our witness. How do we fight them if we fight for their cause? When we entered the city that was what is called the stick carriers “Catodqora,” they collaborated with the armies of the false deity and carried their weapons, and stood by them. We fought who fought us, and they know they fought us, and when they saw our strength they fled the city, some by sea, some to the forests, and yet we send them this message: Who fought or didn’t fight us who comes repenting will be forgiven and we give him safety and security because we are a nation whose morals refuse to initiate harm on who doesn’t harm us.

“Stick carriers”, presumably refers to vigilante groups which have sprung up in some northern Nigerian towns in order to repulse attacks by the jihadist group. As is common in jihadist propaganda material, the focus of the group remains on the establishment of the Islamic State, and enforcement of Shariah. There are no references to corruption, disparity in oil wealth, or endemic poverty, the sorts of so-called “root causes” that drive State Department policy on Nigeria.

Boko Haram continues to slaughter Nigerians

Boko Haram attack mapLWJ, By

Since the New Year began, Boko Haram has continued its offensive against Nigerians and its perceived enemies. Setting off what turned into a horrendous chain of events, the jihadist group assaulted and overran a military base that hosted the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) on Jan. 3. The initial attack sent nearby villagers fleeing into neighboring Chad.

In the days that followed, members of Boko Haram attacked the nearby village of Baga and others, killing civilians and burning as they went. Jihadists reportedly unleashed assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades on townspeople.

By Jan. 8, Nigerian officials commented that Boko Haram had razed at least 16 villages in the surrounding area and some 2,000 people were unaccounted for and feared dead.

In a statement to the press on Jan. 13, Nigeria’s Director of Defense Information, Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade, said that only 150 people, including a large number of Boko Haram members, were killed in the confrontation, faulting the claim that 2,000 people were slaughtered. He further stated that many community members were missing because they had fled the area as a result of incessant attacks on their towns. However, what he did not note was that Boko Haram still controls the area. The Nigerian military reportedly began an offensive on Jan. 9 to reclaim Baga. The assaults by both air and ground forces have yet to unseat the terrorist group.

Outside of Baga, Boko Haram has been active on other fronts. On Saturday, Jan. 10, a girl estimated to be around 10 years-old was strapped with an explosive device which detonated at a busy market in Maiduguri in Borno State. The market had been previously hit by suicide bombers in 2014. At least 20 people were killed and many others were injured in the bombing. A metal detector at the scene indicated that the young girl was carrying something suspicious, however the bomb was set off before she could be isolated.

The same day, a car bomb went off at a police station outside of Potiskum in Yobe State. The detonation occurred as the driver of the vehicle was being taken in for questioning. He was killed, along with a police officer.

The following day, two female suicide bombers hit a busy Sunday market in Potiskum. According to a local security source, “One of the bombers looked 23 and the other 15. The first bomber — the 23 year-old — detonated her explosives just outside the entrance of the market, where volunteers were screening people going inside the market with metal detectors. The second bomber was terrified by the explosion and she tried to dash across the road but she also exploded.”

Boko Haram has also continued its offensive beyond Nigeria’s borders. On Jan. 12, several hundred members of the group attacked a Cameroonian military base in Kolofata, about 10 km east of the border with Nigeria. The Cameroonian Army reported that it killed 143 members of Boko Haram in the battle and lost one soldier on their side. Responding to the attack, Cameroon’s Information Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary said, “It is by far the heaviest toll sustained by the criminal sect Boko Haram since it began launching its barbaric attacks against our land, people and goods.” The attack on Cameroon’s forces came just days after Boko Haram released a video of a man claiming to be group leader Abubakar Shekau, in which he threatened Cameroon’s President Paul Biya. The supposed Shekau directed statements at Biya, saying “If you do not repent then you will see the dire consequences.”

Also see:

Boko Haram is ISIS in Africa

165551161CSP, by Nicholas Hanlon, Jan. 8, 2015:

Like the U.S. non-response to the Syrian civil war which gave rise to ISIS, Boko Haram has been allowed to fester in Nigeria.  Inaction emboldens the merciless Islamist militants and makes them stronger.

Boko Haram currently holds a military base in Baga, a tri-border town on Lake Chad in the North Eastern most part of Nigeria near Cameroon and Chad.  The sum of territory Boko Haram holds is comparable to that of ISIS.  There are reports that some 2000 lives were taken when Baga fell and in the aftermath.  The strength of Boko Haram’s hold on such territory rests largely on the fear in the hearts of the land’s inhabitants as does the strength of the Taliban in Afghanistan and ISIS in Iraq.   The White House has given relatively minor attention to Boko Haram.  The nature of the group’s rise and territorial occupation would raise the same foreign policy debates about military expedition and counter insurgency as the Taliban and ISIS did were Boko Haram anywhere else but Africa.  The current unprofessional conduct of the Nigerian military defies the best practices of a counter insurgency and does more to drive locals into Boko Haram’s merciless arms.  The best advice still demands a large force of well trained soldiers to take back, secure, and keep territory.  But who is prepared to take on the task?

For any heads of state that may come to terms with that reality, several questions follow.   Who could muster such resolve and force, and who would?  Baga represented the regional response.  It is where the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) was meant to base its operations that includes Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.  Cameroonian president Biya was able to recess a previous military base attack with airstrikes and has sent 7000 troops to the border.  Perhaps in recognition of Biya’s reliability, AFRICOM stepped up its counter terrorism cooperation with Cameroon in December.

In the new world we live in now, it is clear that the U.S. will not take initiative in Nigeria. The White House press office has put out a fact sheet that reads more like a check list on how to do as little as possible and still appear engaged. Wrought with generalizations the list makes broad statements referencing funding for already existing programs.  The primary measures of substance point to the new Security Governance Initiative but there are no resolute statements that speak to actually defeating Boko Haram.

Even if it were a willing Strong Horse, U.S. military resources have now long since been vultured by domestic politics, misused, and diffused of their strategic posture.  Further, the president made clear in his 2014 West Point address that he did not consider U.S. military power an important or primary tool of state craft.  Likening the U.S. military to  a hammer is an unsophisticated description of the most complex, versatile, and useful force for peace the world has yet seen.  Real solutions and efforts to counter ISIS and Boko Haram will be ugly and require an undesirable level of resolve and commitment.  The president’s misconception of his own options are compounded by a misconception of who Boko Haram and ISIS are as enemies.  Though the White House now bullet points terrorist organization designations of Boko Haram on the list of things it has done, it resisted doing so until John Kerry took over at State Department.  A clear early opportunity to recognize a potential long term ideological threat was lost.  Instead, the state department attributed Boko Haram’s rise to poverty and lack of resources.  Similarly likening ISIS to a Junior Varsity team, the effort to down play the threat of Islamic groups with territorial ambition has been the administration’s supplement for challenging them early on.

The similarities between Boko Haram and ISIS are glaring for a reason and increasingly observed in detail.  There is the claim of a Sunni Islamic caliphate, territorial ambition, highly organized systems of kidnapping and sexual slavery, and organized court systems used to rule captive towns and villages under Shariah law.  There is also increasing recognition of each others legitimacy. Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau has expressed support for ISIS, incorporated its logo and anthem, and has flattered Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi with mimicry.  Boko Haram’s nods to ISIS are not simply surprising similarities discovered by analysts or trite displays of mutual admiration.  Furthermore, whether these acts symbolize real allegiance or recognition is secondary.  These are clear symptoms of camaraderie and brotherhood.  Official declarations of affiliation between Sunni groups are in most ways insignificant to their success, growth or motivation.  Their ideology unites them and animates them both.  More simply put, Boko Haram and ISIS are similar because they are the same set of ideas manifest on different continents in different cultures.

Boko Haram in Nigeria is one front of a larger war. ISIS is another.  Boko Haram presents challenges of diplomacy and state-craft that will increase in threat level the longer left unchecked which will rival that of ISIS.  It is in Nigeria, however that U.S. assertiveness can still galvanize regional resolve in way that has been lost in the Middle East.  Hopefully that opportunity will remain for the possibility of the next U.S. administration to recognize it.

*UPDATED* Nigeria’s 9/11: Boko Haram Massacres 2000 in Attack on Baga, City Burnt to the Ground

Boko-Haran-Leader-APPJ Media, by Patrick Poole, Jan. 8, 2015:

Horrific reports are coming out of Nigeria about a Boko Haram attack on the town of Baga in Borno State following their seizure of a neighboring military base on Saturday.

BBC is reporting:

Nigeria’s militant Islamists have carried out a second attack on the key north-eastern town of Baga, an official has told the BBC.

Boko Haram fighters burnt down almost the entire town on Wednesday, after over-running a military base on Saturday, Musa Alhaji Bukar said.

Bodies lay strewn on Baga’s streets, amid fears that some 2,000 people had been killed in the raids, he added.

Boko Haram launched a military campaign in 2009 to create an Islamic state.

It has taken control of many towns and villages in north-eastern Nigeria in the last year.

The conflict has displaced at least 1.5 million people, while more than 2,000 were killed last year.

Earlier today Bridget Johnson reported here at PJ Media about a message posted by Boko Haram on Monday threatening Cameroon.

Last month I also reported on Boko Haram’s escalating attacks, which now threaten the entire country on the verge of presidential elections.

The loss of life in Baga and Boko Haram’s control over 70 percent of Borno State will undoubtedly require greater action by the Nigerian government and possibly greater intervention from neighboring Chad and Cameroon.

I will update this post as new information becomes available.

UPDATE:

More news reports are coming out of Nigeria regarding the Boko Haram attack on the city of Baga and surrounding areas in Borno State.

AFP is reporting that 16 villages have been razed to the ground and tens of thousands displaced:

Boko Haram razed at least 16 towns and villages in a renewed assault after capturing a key military base in restive northeast Nigeria at the weekend, local officials said on Thursday.

Heavy casualties were feared in the attacks on Wednesday in the remote north of Borno state, according to local sources, but there was no independent corroboration of the figures cited.

Musa Bukar, head of the Kukawa local government area, said: “They (Boko Haram) burnt to the ground all the 16 towns and villages, including Baga, Doron-Baga, Mile 4, Mile 3, Kauyen Kuros and Bunduram.”

Abubakar Gamandi, head of Borno’s fish traders union and a Baga native, also confirmed the attacks, adding that hundreds of people who fled were trapped on islands on Lake Chad.

NBC News reports:

More than 2,000 people are unaccounted for after radical Islamist sect Boko Haram torched more than 10 towns and villages in Nigeria, a local lawmaker told NBC News. Ahmed Zanna, a senator for Borno state where the attack happened, said the militants razed the town of Baga as well as “10-to-20″ other communities in the country’s rural northeast over the past five days. “These towns are just gone, burned down,” he told NBC News via telephone. “The whole area is covered in bodies.”

Zanna said he had spoken to residents who fled the towns. They reported that the spree had been ongoing since Boko Haram overran a nearby military base Saturday. During the days-long assault, the militants chased people out of Baga before returning to kill those left and torch the buildings to the ground, according to survivors who contacted Zanna. Some of those who survived fled on foot the 100 miles south to Maidurguri.

The government’s response to this massacre will be worth watching. Presidential elections are scheduled for Feb. 14th, and criticism of incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan is mounting. Thus, Jonathan’s government will be eager to suppress information about this attack.

Boko Haram’s response will need to be followed as well. After routing Nigerian government forces at the military base outside of Baga, they are now in effective control of Borno State, which borders Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

The National Security “Not Top 10″ of 2014

obamalibya (1)By Patrick Poole:

With the world descending into chaos driven in no small measure by the incoherent, contradictory and frequently non-existent foreign policy of the Obama administration, it was difficult this year to narrow the field for this year’s biggest national security blunders. The task seemed so formidable, I nearly abandoned the endeavor.

But undaunted, I present to you the National Security “Not Top 10” of 2014, in no particular order.

(For past editions of my “Not Top 10”, see: 2012, 2011, 2010)

1) Befriending “moderate Al-Qaeda” in Syria:

There are some ideas so at war with reason and reality they can only exist in the fetid Potomac fever swamps of DC think tanks and foreign policy community. Such was the case in January when three of the best and brightest from those ranks published an article in Foreign Affairs (the same publication that in 2007 brought us the “Moderate Muslim Brotherhood”) contending that the US needed to “befriend” the Syrian jihadist group Ahrar al-Sham as some kind of counter to more extreme jihadist groups, like ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra. The precedent they cited was the US failure to designate the Taliban (!!!) after 9/11.

Mind you, at the time they wrote this, one of Ahrar al-Sham’s top leaders was a lieutenant for Al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri who openly declared himself a member of Al-Qaeda. After most of their leadership was wiped out in a bombing in September, they have gravitated closer to the jihadist groups they were supposed to counter and their positions have been bombed by the US – much to the consternation of other “vetted moderate” rebel groups. So ridiculous was their proposition that the original subtitle of their article “An Al-Qaeda Affiliate Worth Befriending” was changed online to “An Al-Qaeda-Linked Group Worth Befriending” in the hopes of minimizing the absurdity of their case.

2) Obama Administration deploys three hashtag divisions in response to Russian invasion of Ukraine.

As Ukrainians made their bid to free themselves from Russia’s interference, Putin responded by deploying tanks and troops into Ukraine in violation of the1994 Budapest Memorandum. Obama’s rejoinder was to give a speech and to deploy three divisions of State Department employees all armed with a #UnitedForUkraine hashtag. Hilarity ensued as the Russian Foreign Ministry counterattacked by hijacking the hashtag, prompting State Department spox Jen Psaki to decry, “Let’s hope the Kremlin will live by the promise of hashtag,” leaving many asking: Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

3) Obama: ISIS is the “JV team”.

In January President Obama sat down for an interview with the New Yorker, and when asked about ISIS gains in Iraq, he likened them to the JV team, saying ““The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.” Those words came back to haunt him as ISIS surged in both Syria and Iraq, particular when Obama authorized missile strikes against ISIS in August. Even then Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken defended the president’s “JV team” remark, saying they didn’t pose the threat to America as much as Al-Qaeda. A few week later, the Washington Post noted the attempts to spin the president’s statement. By September, Obama laughably claimed in an interview on Meet the Press that he wasn’t talking about ISIS in his New Yorker interview. But even the notoriously biased Politifact rated his walk-back as “false” and two weeks ago the Washington Post’s fact checker Glenn Kessler branded Obama’s “JV team” spin as “the lie of the year”.

4) State Dept Official denies Boko Haram targeting Christians.

Just weeks after the Nigerian terrorist group abducted nearly 300 Christian school girls in Chibok and committed them to sexual slavery, State Department undersecretary Sarah Sewall denied in a congressional hearing that Christians were being targeted. As I noted in an article here at PJ Media earlier this month on disturbing trends in Nigeria, the burning of churches and the abduction and murder of Christians continues to intensify, with more than 1,000 churches burned in just a few weeks earlier this year.

Readers might recall that this is the same State Department that in April 2012 was telling Congress that Boko Haram was not driven by religious ideology the day after the group bombed a church during an Easter service that killed 39 worshippers. Not only did the State Department vehemently defend not designating Boko Haram a terrorist organization, this year we discovered that they intentionally lied to Congress about the threat posed by the group. Having only designated them barely a year ago, 2014 has been Boko Haram’s deadliest year yet, with 9,000 killed, 1.5 million people displaced, and 800 schools destroyed. Nigerian authorities still complain that the Obama administration is reluctant to provide the country what it needs to fight the Boko Haram terror insurgency.

5) Homeland Security adviser’s pro-caliphate tweet used by ISIS recruiters.

Twitter proved to be the downfall of Homeland Security Advisor Council Senior Fellow Mohamed Elibiary, when he was unceremoniously let go by DHS in September following a long string of extremist social media statements. Critics, including myself, had noted Elibiary long history of promoting radical Islamic groups and publicly defending terrorist supporters. Things began to unravel when earlier this year he tweeted that America was “an Islamic country with an Islamically compliant constitution,” but the wheels definitely came off when he tweeted about the inevitability of the return of an Islamic caliphate – a statement that was later used by ISIS in their recruiting efforts. After his dismissal, which even international media took note of, I talked with Michelle Fields here at PJTV about Elibiary’s highly controversial tenure at DHS.

Read more at PJ Media