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

Nigeria Teeters on the Brink: 8 Terrifying Trends

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Qatar Awareness Campaign – Letter to the American People #StopQatarNow

qatar_awareness_campaign_fbTo the American Public:

Over the course of the last month, the Qatar Awareness Campaign has issued 25 letters, addressed to people, companies, organizations, and universities who profit from their relationship with the state sponsor of terror, Qatar.

Why?  Despite their official denials, Qatar is the nation that funds Hamas, Fatah, Boko Haram, al Qaeda and the Islamic State.  Qatar, as the host country of the revolutionary Muslim Brotherhood and one of the wealthiest countries in the world, attracts these fanatical, murderous groups like a magnet, showering them with endless funding and resources.

Looking back, it is an astonishing list of power players in the political establishment, influential institutions, and big business that support Qatar in their quest to establish a regional, and eventually global, Islamic Caliphate.

News outlets like CNN and the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera regularly promote the Qatari viewpoint on television, directly and by virtue of the guests they choose as analysts, such as Brookings Doha Center scholars.

Universities such as Georgetown, Texas A&M, Carnegie Mellon, and Cornell each have satellite campuses in Qatar’s capital city, Doha, fully funded by the Qatar Foundation.  Harvard is partnered with the Qataris to establish a Sharia law school in Doha.  The Brookings Institution in recent months has come under enormous scrutiny for their close ties to Doha, and their curious omission of criticizing the Qatari state.

American defense contractors and arms manufacturers such as Raytheon, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin have multi-billion dollar deals with the Qatari Ministry of Defense.  Boeing provides most of the commercial airliners for Qatar Airways, which has been implicated in numerous cases of narcotics and human trafficking.

American industrial giants such as ExxonMobil have developed the natural resources in Qatar, providing the Qatari state with virtually limitless revenue.  Meanwhile, in a country of 2 million inhabitants, only 278,000 are citizens with full rights; and there is a burgeoning slave population, whose rights are non-existent, as these migrant workers have their passports seized and are routinely denied exit visas.  In preparation for the FIFA 2022 World Cup, it is estimated that 4,000 migrant workers will die constructing soccer stadiums.  This is double the number of casualties in the Hamas-Israel war over the summer.

Notable politicians in both parties have not deviated even an inch from official Qatari policy.  In the Republican Party, John McCain stood squarely behind Egyptian “democracy” in the form of Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brother who encouraged violence and terror against Egypt’s Christians.  As Commander-in-Chief, President Obama abandoned Hosni Mubarak when the Arab Spring came to Egypt, and used American military might to depose non-Islamist Gaddafi in Libya.  Today, according to PBS, the American government is training Syrian rebels in Qatar to defeat Assad, despite the glaring and undeniable fact that the Islamic State grew out of the Syrian rebels in concert with Al Qaeda in Iraq.

These actions suggest political approval; or, at least, looking the other way while Qatar willfully funds genocidal and slaving terrorist groups that target religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East and Africa.  Additionally, the official Washington relationship with Qatar has led to dramatically degraded diplomatic ties with Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt.

For those who have followed the news stories promoted by the Campaign, another trend has become evident.  It is not only the United States that backs Qatar, but also the United Kingdom.  The Emir of Qatar recently visited London, where he was received by Prime Minister Cameron and Queen Elizabeth.  Shortly after the Emir left, Cameron’s Tories announced planned legislation to ban criticism of Sharia (and gay marriage).  Is this surprising when Qatar has a reported £30 billion invested in England, with plans for much more?

Word of this campaign has reached millions of people across the world, from Europe, to the Middle East, to Africa, to Asia, and South America.  All civilized peoples are threatened by the Islamic doctrine and practice of conquest: jihad.  Concern has mounted in the media, and Qatar’s financing of terrorism is now regularly a topic in the daily press.  Indeed, there is a growing backlash in some political circles as well, as calls for boycotts and divestment from Qatar are heard from England.

Although their influence, wealth, and reach are staggering, the Qatari’s will ultimately lose in the court of public opinion.  Free people reject America’s associations with a slaving, state sponsor of terror, regardless of the blood money they pay our governing elite.

What can you do?  Sign the petition, make your position known.  Visit the website, www.stopqatarnow.com, and send a link to your friends and family.  Pay closer attention to the root causes of violence that have disrupted a relatively peaceful world since 2008, and spawned a dozen or more religious wars that show no signs of stopping.

The Qatar Awareness Campaign will continue to report on Qatar and their influence in the United States and around the world.  In the end, as always, it will be the American people who force our government and politicians to correct course and stand up for what is right!

Sincerely,

Lt. Col. Allen B. West (US Army, Ret)
AllenBWest.com

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
Center for Security Policy

Pamela Geller
Atlas Shrugs

Walid Shoebat
Shoebat.com

Charles Ortel
Washington Times

Paul E Vallely, US Army (Ret)
Chairman, Stand Up America

Robert Spencer
Jihad Watch

& the entire Qatar Awareness Campaign Coalition.

Qatar Research Report: http://www.stopqatarnow.com/p/research-report.html
Sign the Petition! Visit www.stopqatarnow.com
Facebook: Stop Qatar Now
Twitter: @stopqatarnow

** Select signatures as of 9/27.  The Qatar Awareness Campaign Coalition is comprised of more than 40 journalists, national security experts, publishers, and independent researchers. To view all Coalition participants, please visit the Campaign’s website.

USA Policy on Nigeria – See No Jihad, Hear No Jihad, Say No Jihad

J. Peter Pham PhD of the Atlantic Center; Emmanuel Ogebe of Jubilee; Anselm John-Miller of the Movement for Ogoni People; and Robin Renee Sanders former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria. Note the Nigerian Ambassador seated behind Mr. Ogebe. http://jubileecampaign.org/congressional-hearing-on-boko-haram-and-the-continued-violence-in-nigeria/

J. Peter Pham PhD of the Atlantic Center; Emmanuel Ogebe of Jubilee; Anselm John-Miller of the Movement for Ogoni People; and Robin Renee Sanders former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria. Note the Nigerian Ambassador seated behind Mr. Ogebe. http://jubileecampaign.org/congressional-hearing-on-boko-haram-and-the-continued-violence-in-nigeria/

Obama Administration can find no jihad in murders and kidnappings in the name of Islam in Nigeria

By Andrew Harrod:

American Nigerian policy is to “see no jihad, hear no jihad, say no jihad,” the Nigerian human rights activist Emmanuel Ogebe from the Jubilee Campaign criticized in submitted testimony for a September 18 congressional hearing.  Along with Christian girls who escaped kidnapping by the jihadist group Boko Haram (BH), Ogebe and others at recent Washington, DC, briefings analyzed Nigeria’s bloody security crisis.

“Stop the denial,” Ogebe stated at the hearing while his prepared remarks criticized United States government agencies for blaming Nigerian conflict on socioeconomic grievances.  “Contrary to” this “recurring…narrative,” BH has “made amply and repeatedly clear” that it is an “Islamist insurgency” seeking an “Islamic Sharia state,” Ogebe wrote.  A BH video, for example, proclaimed “Jihad war against…Christianity…western education, democracy.”

The result is “possibly the worst on-going genocide against Christians” even as globally “Christianity is the most persecuted religion.” “More Christians were killed in Northern Nigeria in 2012 than the rest of the world,” for example, while official reports ranked BH the “second most deadly terrorist group in the world right below the Taliban.”  In total, BH has killed over “10,000 people since 2009, both Nigerian nationals and international victims…from over 15 nations—far more than ISIS, AL Qaeda and possibly the Taliban.”

BH has “not beheaded an American…not for want of trying,” given several abduction attempts in northern Nigeria.  “I want to cut White people,” BH leader Abubaker Shekau stated in a video shortly after the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) beheaded American journalist James Foley.  Several Americans, though, survived an August 26, 2011, BH bombing of United Nations’ Nigerian headquarters in the capital Abuja, including one recently identified.

BH’s “threat to not only Nigerian people but also the world” has a “well documented nexus with global jihad,” as shown by Nigerians captured fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden’s personal secretary visiting Nigeria.  Groups like BH and ISIS globally “feed off each other,” as BH schoolgirl kidnappings have inspired ISIS sex slavery and BH has emulated ISIS’ caliphate declaration.  BH is “paralleling” ISIS atrocities, religious freedom expert Nina Shea seconded Ogebe on a September 19 Hudson Institute (HI) panel, with “clear confirmation” of BH Islamization in Nigeria under a “very brutal religious cleansing.”

“Starving refugees on mountaintops, towns overrun and their Christian population exterminated, children decapitated” characterize not just Iraq, but northern Nigeria, Ogebe wrote.  “Practically every ignoble deed” of ISIS “has been done by Boko Haram in the last three years.”  A “putative third world war” is occurring in an “incremental,” “retail,” or “franchise” manner or, as Pope Francis I recently declared, “piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction.”  An “iron veil” in some countries has replaced the iron curtain’s tyranny, Ogebe assessed.  “We are all in this together,” Ogebe stated at HI given jihad’s global reach in countries like Iraq, Nigeria, and the Philippines.

“Violent Jihad is as Violent Jihad does” and “cannot be rationalized,” Ogebe’s congressional testimony criticized in assessing American attributions of BH violence to, for example, deprivation.  Nigeria is Africa’s wealthiest economy and BH bribes people from neighboring Niger to fight, Ogebe argued at a September 9 Rayburn House Office Building briefing.  The “good old days” before BH, in contrast, already exhibited Muslim animus against Nigerian Christians; Ogebe recalled a Christian student illegally forced to kneel in the sun while receiving Islamic instruction in a Muslim-majority area.  “Violent jihadist groups are never about an inclusive government,” Ogebe meanwhile qualifies American concerns about sectarianism in Iraq and Nigeria, “they are about an exclusive government.”

Yet “Violent Extremist Organization” or VEO, not jihadist, is the description for groups like BH in American training undergone by African military officers.  An equally anodyne “junket-filled tenure” marked America’s last Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Suzan Johnson Cook.  She covered a “record 27 countries in 29 months” with equal time in Nigeria and Ghana, a country with few religious freedom concerns.  While the presumptive presidential candidate Hillary Clinton “is playing to the gallery” now by calling BH terrorists, Ogebe noted on September 9, she resisted this designation as secretary of state.

Media such as the Wall Street Journal and American officials have often presented BH as equal opportunity killer. BH’s “campaign against all Nigerians,” for example, concerned Undersecretary of State Sarah Sewall at the September 18 hearing.  (Sewall also did not “have numbers in front of me” concerning Christianity as the world’s most persecuted faith and speculated that claims of more Christians killed in Nigeria in 2012 than the rest of the world “might not be accurate.”)  Yet BH only attacks Muslims “for cause” such as government collaboration in the midst of wholesale targeting of Christians.  Thus about 90% of the 276 schoolgirlskidnapped by BH on April 14 were Christian from Chibok, a specifically targeted majority-Christian community.

Read more at Religious Freedom Coalition

OBAMA AT THE UN: DON’T BLAME ISIS

United Nations Hosts World Leaders For Annual General AssemblyBreitbart, by DR. SEBASTIAN GORKA:

In what could have been a seminal wartime address to the nations of the world at the UN today, instead of rallying the West and her regional allies against the barbarity of the Global Jihadist Movement, President Obama chose to reinforce the administration narrative that America’s deadly enemies are a product of local injustices.
Since 2008, the Obama administration has promoted the argument that what we face in the guise of Al Qaeda, or ISIS, or any other part of the global Jihadi coalition, is simply “Violent Extremism” that grows out of “local grievances.”

This is Beltway speak for an academic idea called Social Movement Theory. (If you want the full history behind this idea and who pitched it to the White House, here is a piece on its origins).

In short, this view sees the violence of jihadi groups against Christians, Yazidis, or even fellow Muslims, as a reaction to the injustice endemic in their societies. Years of oppression by Saddam, Maliki, or the Assad family will inevitably lead to religious genocide and mass slaughter when circumstances allow (e.g. after US forces leave Iraq).

Today the President went even further by drawing the analogy that the violence here in Ferguson, Missouri is an example of the same injustices prevalent throughout the Middle East. The President of the United States appeared to equate the shooting of a thief by a sworn law enforcement officer with the mass slaughter of women and children based upon their religion.

In response to ISIS, the Commander-in-Chief called upon the “international community” to come together and improve said conditions and make “a better life” for all.

Unfortunately history teaches another lesson.

ISIS, the Islamic State, the Al Nusra Front, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram are simply the various faces of a new totalitarianism. The commonality of Jihadism with Fascism and Communism is not an accident. In fact, key Jihadi authors such as Sayyid Qutb of the Muslim Brotherhood studied Mussolini, Lenin and Hitler when writing seminal Jihadist works such as Milestones.

Social Movement Theory denies the responsibility of the perpetrators of heinous acts such as the recent beheadings of innocents journalists. Jihadi John isn’t responsible. Taking seven minutes to cut of James Foley’s head while he is alive is just the natural response to years of “oppression.”

In reality, this fight is simply another war against a totalitarian enemy who truly believes that either they will win and we will be killed or we will win. Unfortunately, it will be impossible for us to be victorious if our plan is based upon solving all injustice in the world and especially if we believe that the enemy is the victim.

Sebastian Gorka, Ph.D. is the Major General Matthew C. Horner Distinguished Chair of Military Theory at the Marine Corps University and the national security and foreign affairs editor of the Breitbart News Network. Follow him on Twitter @SebGorka.

Media Confused as Boko Haram Claims to Join the Islamic State

boko-haram_3016074bCenter For Security Policy, By Kyle Shideler:

In a video released over the weekend, AbuBakr Shekaku, head of the Nigerian jihadist group known as Boko Haram, appears to have declared allegiance to the Islamic State, proclaiming lands currently under Boko Haram control in the province of Borno part of the “Caliphate.”

Despite this, much of the Western media seemed confused about the nature of a Caliphate and what it means. From the AFP report:

In a July video, Shekau voiced support for the leader of the Islamic State and the Levant (Isil) militants Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who in late June declared himself “the caliph” and “leader of Muslims everywhere”. But there was no indication from Shekau in the latest video that he was associating himself with Baghdadi, whose Sunni Muslim fighters have taken over parts of Iraq and Syria. As such, it was not clear if Shekau was declaring himself to be a part of Baghdadi’s call or if he was referring to a separate Nigerian caliphate.

The position of Caliph is one with purported dominion over the entire “ummah” the total collective of the Muslim faithful.There can only be one legitimate Caliph, and one Caliphate, as Shekaku is no doubt aware. Given that the  laudatory language Boko Haram has in the past offered towards the IS Caliphate, the most likely conclusion would be that Boko Haram either has joined, or intends to join the Islamic State of Al-Baghdadi. It would be incongruous for Shekaku to praise IS, and then negate its primary achievement by denying it legitimacy by claiming he was the true Caliph.

It’s worth noting that while this confusion over whether or not Boko Haram was declaring for the IS Caliphate or declaring its own Caliphate was echoed in all the western reporting which followed from the AFP report, the same confusion is not at all present in an OnIslam.net report, which draws from the same AFP wire.  The OnIslam.net report also ignores the extraneous historical detail of the Sokoto caliphate, a 19th century Nigerian Islamic state which laid claim to the Caliphate title. This is a classic example of how the disinclination to study Islamic law on matters leads to injecting unnecessary complexity into the analysis of events.

If it is the case that Boko Haram has acknowledged the territory it controls as part of the IS Caliphate, this is a major development for the Islamic State. The claim of authority by its “Caliph” Al-Baghdadi has largely been rejected by other Jihadist groups, with only minor exceptions. Yet being recognized as receiving the bay’at (oath) of notable scholars and jihadi emirs who hold actual territory is central to Al Baghdadi’s claim of legitimacy. Of course whether either group is capable of meeting the perceived obligation of such an oath, sharing and exchanging resources, personnel etc, is an entirely other matter.

Also see:

DECLARE WAR ON SHARIAH

iraq-machine-guns-held-aloft-afpBreitbart, by FRANK J. GAFFNEY, JR., Aug. 24.2014:

The National Journal called earlier this week for the United States to “declare war on ISIS.” The magazine is right to argue for a new authorization for the use of military force (AUMF), a legislative vehicle that passes these days for a congressional declaration of war. It is wrong, however, to urge that the existing AUMF, which targets al Qaeda and “associated forces,” be replaced by one that focuses just on the Islamic State (also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Sham/Syria, or ISIS, or the Islamic State in the Levant, or ISIL).

Nearly thirteen years after 9/11, it is past time to recognize that we are at war not with one group of “terrorists” or another. Rather, adherents to a doctrine or ideology they call shariah are at war with us. Shariah is, at its core, about power, not faith. While some small percentage (some estimates suggest ten-percent) of its dictates prescribe the religious practices, the rest of it defines comprehensively how every relationship must be ordered – between individuals, families, neighbors, business associates, all the way up to how the world is governed.

Most importantly, shariah obliges its followers to engage in jihad (or holy war). Don’t be misled by those who argue jihad means “personal struggle.” The Koran makes clear that jihad is “holy war.” And for shariah-adherent Islamists that war has two goals: the triumph of shariah worldwide and the establishment of what is, for want of a better term, a theocratic government to rule the entire planet according to that doctrine.

The jihadists may disagree among themselves about some points of theology (notably, differences that divide Sunnis and Shiites). They may be committed to the use of terrifying violence under all circumstances. Or, as in the case of the Muslim Brotherhood, they may believe it is to be used where practicable, but insist on employing not so much non-violent as pre-violent, subversive techniques where terrorism will be counterproductive.

Whatever the banner under which these shariah-adherents wage jihad – for example, the Islamic State, al Qaeda, Taliban, Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, Taliban, Boko Haram, Al Shabab, Ansar al-Shariah or Muslim Brotherhood – all these Islamists are our avowed enemies. That is not because of how we view them. That is because of their own doctrine which is endlessly reinforced in their mosques, via the Internet, through social media and other vehicles.

We can no longer kid ourselves, or otherwise avoid a harsh reality: While perhaps hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world – including it seems the majority of those in America – practice their faith without regard for shariah (they don’t want to live under it themselves and they do not seek to impose it on others), the authorities of Islam regard shariah as the true faith and consider these co-religionists to be apostates.

At the moment, fortunately, only a relatively small number are actively engaged in violent jihad. Many more, though, are doing what shariah demands of those unable or unwilling to wield the sword in holy war: underwriting those who do, through the practice of zakat (Islam’s obligatory contributions to approved charitable causes, one of which is jihad).

Unless and until we understand that shariah-adherent Muslims are inherently dangerous, we will be unable to define our enemy correctly. Unless and until we hold such Muslims accountable, we will not only restrict unduly the focus and effectiveness of our countervailing efforts.

Worse yet, we will actually encourage Muslims – whether states like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, organizations or individuals – to associate with, underwrite, or in other ways enable deadly foes of freedom.

Some will respond that an AUMF focused on shariah is a formula for a “clash of civilizations.” The truth is that enemies of civilization – namely, those who adhere to and seek to impose, whether through violence or by stealth, brutally repressive, totalitarian, misogynistic, homophobic, intolerant and anti-constitutional shariah on others – have made no secret of their determination to conquer and destroy us and the rest of the civilized world.

Only by making clear that we are determined to fight back in defense of freedom will we have a chance of protecting our civilization against these enemies. By identifying the political-military-legal ideology of shariah as the defining ideology of those with whom we are at war – much as we did in the past against Nazism, Fascism, Japanese imperialism, and communism – we have a chance of prevailing. And that chance will be greatly enhanced if we bring to bear now, as in the past, not only military but all other instruments of national power.

We will also incentivize Muslims who do not conform to this doctrine to join us in fighting those who accuse them of apostasy, a capital offense under shariah. If they do so, the likelihood of our early success improves still further.

So, by all means, let’s have a new authorization for the use of military force. Or better yet, a proper declaration of war approved by the Congress, authorizing the use of the full array of our economic, political, intelligence, strategic and military means of waging war. But for the sake of our civilization and freedoms, we must ensure that it correctly defines the object of our defensive war: those who adhere to and are trying compel us to submit to shariah.

Nigeria death toll higher than reported

Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau

Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau

Town Hall:

GWOZA, Nigeria (BP) — The death toll from Boko Haram’s takeover of the predominantly Christian town of Gwoza is nearly 1,000, not the 100 included in many reports, Nigerian relations expert Adeniyi Ojutiku told Baptist Press.

The Nigerian military abandoned their weapons and fled Gwoza as Boko Haram attacked Wednesday (Aug. 6), burning government buildings, killing residents and taking hostages. Some residents managed to flee to the mountains bordering Cameroon and are without food or water; others made it 85 miles north to Maiduguri, Associated French Press (AFP) and others reported.

News surfaced just today (Aug. 15) of a separate Aug. 10 attack on the remote village of Doron Baga in northeastern Nigeria, where Boko Haram kidnapped dozens of boys and men, leaving women, girls and young children abandoned there.

Boko Haram has escalated its attacks to a new level, capturing towns and hoisting Boko Haram flags instead of killing residents and fleeing, Ojutiku said. He compared them to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). As such, a concerted global effort is needed to conquer the rebels, he said.

Weeks before taking over Gwoza, Boko Haram violently seized Damboa and killed many in the town 22 miles north of Chibok, the site of the April kidnapping of 300 school girls, approximately 223 of which remain missing. Reports number those displaced at more than 15,000, but the number of deaths had not been reported.

“This is a new dimension in this crisis,” Ojutiku said. “A completely new dimension. Now they are following the strategy of ISIS. They attack, they occupy, they hold the town. Now that they have started adopting ISIS methodology, they should be receiving the type of treatment that ISIS is receiving.”

Based on a report Ojutiku received Wednesday, Aug. 13, from a trusted colleague who lives in Gwoza, 997 had been killed and others had been taken hostage. Previous reports were based on information gathered Aug. 6, the day of the attack, when survivors were forced to flee the city of between 50,000 and 70,000 people.

“The terrorists seized a number of residents as hostages and killed nine hundred and ninety seven an eye witness whose mother among the women that are burying the … bodies confirmed,” the colleague reported to Ojutiku. “The insurgents took over the Emirs (mayor’s) Palace as well as a Government Lodge in Gwoza, and have appointed a replacement for the town’s fleeing Emir. They have hoisted their black flags with Arabic insignia all over Gwoza in a show of their total control of the territory.”

A predawn, Aug. 13 phone call Ojutiku received from Nigeria marked “an unprecedented emergency request for prayers for the inhabitants of the Christian village of Gwoza,” he told Baptist Press.

“The town has … been under siege of Boko Haram for the past nine days,” Ojutiku said.

Read more

See Also:

Jihadist groups across globe vying for terror spotlight

January 2, 2014: Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria carry their weapons during a parade in the Syrian town of Tel Abyad, near the border with Turkey.(Reuters)

January 2, 2014: Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria carry their weapons during a parade in the Syrian town of Tel Abyad, near the border with Turkey.(Reuters)

By Perry Chiaramonte:

With every new act of stunning savagery in the name of Islam that takes place in some corner of the world, a new terrorist group seems to step into the spotlight.

From Al Qaeda’s sudden ascendance in the 1990s, to the recent rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria and ISIS in Iraq, new factions are springing up throughout the world, spreading the twisted message of violence and hate in the name of Allah. Most trace their roots to the terror group founded by Usama bin Laden, but have spun off, and fanned out around the world putting their own stamps on the indiscriminate brutality that is the trademark of terrorism.

“The trend is one of decentralization — smaller Al Qaeda affiliates charting their own courses,” said Ryan Mauro, national security analyst for the research institute The Clarion Project. “If groups like ISIS are seen as more successful, the aspiring jihadists will view them as being blessed by Allah and rally to them. Success is seen as evidence of Allah’s approval, and defeat is seen as Allah’s distancing, or even judgment.”

For now, ISIS, with a huge swath of conquered territory, hundreds of millions of dollars looted from Iraqi banks and a leader — Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — who has pronounced himself the “Caliph” of Muslims around the world, is in position to challenge Al Qaeda for status as the most powerful terror group on the planet. That makes it a magnet for new recruits and donations, said Mauro. One chilling act could cement its role.

“If ISIS wants to overtake Al Qaeda to become the leading Salafist terror group, then it must replicate Al Qaeda’s greatest achievement: Striking the U.S,” Mauro said. “Once that happens, Al Qaeda supporters will switch to ISIS in droves unless the two reconcile.”

Boko Haram was founded in in 2002 in Nigeria’s Borno State, where it campaigned, mostly peacefully, for a Shariah state. But in 2009, after founder Mohammed Yusef was executed in Nigeria, Boko Haram took a violent turn, embracing terrorism, forcing conversions of Christians, and orchestrating kidnappings and bombings. In recent years, Boko Haram has emerged as one of the world’s most dangerous and violent Islamic terrorist sects, culminating in April’s kidnapping of nearly 300 Christian schoolgirls.

Here are some other Islamic terrorist groups operating around the world and waiting to fill any void that should be left by their more high-profile counterparts.

Read more at Fox News

Boko Haram: Growing Interest, Continuing Uncertainty on Capitol Hill

By Andrew E. Harrod:

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

Abubakar Shekau, leader of Islamic terror group Boko Haram

Abubakar Shekau, leader of Islamic terror group Boko Haram

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

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

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

Read more at Religious Freedom Coalition

Also see:

Exclusive: Nigerian Security Forces Infiltrated by Boko Haram

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Breitbart