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.

What will it take for us to stop doing business with Qatar?

UN-GENERAL ASSEMBLY-QATAR

We’ve let the desert state face both ways on funding extremism.

The Spectator, Simon Heffer, 4 October 2014:

On 17 June, a meeting of the Henry Jackson Society, held in the House of Commons, discussed (according to the minutes published on the society’s website) how a tribal elder in northern Cameroon who runs a car import business in Qatar has become one of the main intermediaries between kidnappers from Boko Haram and its offshoot Ansaru and those seeking to free hostages. It was alleged that embezzlement of funds going to Qatar via car imports might be disguising ransom payments. It was also alleged that Qatar was involved in financing Islamist militant groups in West Africa, helping with weapons and ideological training, and (with Saudi Arabia) funding the building of mosques in Mali and Nigeria that preach a highly intolerant version of Islam.

This was far from the only time such accusations have been levelled. Yet Qatar is supposed to be one of our allies, supporting air strikes against the Islamic State. Its ruler even thinks his enormous wealth entitles him to blag his way into Her Majesty’s carriage at Royal Ascot. Given Qatar’s questionable role in the current tide of savage Islamism, should its ruler be allowed anywhere near our Queen? And should they be allowed to buy up our country, as they have done relentlessly since the crash of 2008?

After the overthrow of President Morsi of Egypt, Qatar became a place of refuge for the Muslim Brotherhood. However, on 12 September it asked several leading Brotherhood figures to leave. They duly did, not in outrage or indignation, but apologising for causing embarrassment. Clearly, they felt a debt to the Qataris, and a senior Brotherhood spokesman, Amr Darrag, said what it was. He issued a statement thanking Qataris for their support to ‘the Egyptian people in their revolution against the military junta’.

Qatar asked its former friends to leave because of pressure applied by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Some may come to London: there is already a group of Brotherhood members in Cricklewood, under scrutiny from the authorities. But even now, Qatar remains home to an array of exiled Islamists, and thus a focus of suspicion to its neighbours. Bahrain joined Saudi Arabia and the UAE in withdrawing its ambassador from Doha this spring. It has been widely reported that Qatari money funds extremists in Libya, and when these ambassadors were recalled, the Zionist Organisation of America asked the US government to declare Qatar a state sponsor of terrorism.

The Emir of Qatar’s personal fortune and the country’s sovereign wealth fund are rumoured to amount to £50 billion. Qataris own substantial amounts of real estate — such as the Shard, the Olympic Village, One Hyde Park, a part of Canary Wharf, the United States Embassy building in Grosvenor Square, the Chelsea Barracks development and Harrods. They have large stakes in the stock exchange, Sainsburys and Barclays bank. Almost all Britain’s liquefied natural gas comes from Qatar, accounting for a quarter of our gas needs. The desert state has also bought the 2022 World Cup — rather like playing a cricket Test series at the South Pole — in a fashion so seemingly corrupt that there have been widespread calls for a boycott.

Sir John Jenkins, the British ambassador to Saudi Arabia, has compiled a report exposing extremist activity among members of the Brotherhood and their links to jihadis. It named three Muslim charities in Britain that seemed to be sending funds to extremists in the Middle East. At the very least this should lead Britain to expel members of the Brotherhood, close down the charities and sequester their funds; but the problem will never be dealt with until the source of the funding is cut off. At some stage the British government must ask itself a simple question: however much we want Qatari gas, how much longer can we permit commercial relations with such people?

In June the American magazine The Atlantic asserted that Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qa’eda proxy in Syria, had somehow received ‘Qatar’s economic and military largesse’. There is no suggestion this was sanctioned or funded by the Qatari government: but every suggestion it came from interest groups based in Qatar and wealthy Qatari nationals. The problem has been around for years. Wikileaks published a memorandum from Hillary Clinton, when US secretary of state, saying Qatar had the worst record of counter-terrorism co-operation of any ally of the United States.

The Qatari foreign minister, Khalid al-Attiyah, called claims such as The Atlantic’s ‘Qatar-bashing’, and denied the country or anyone in it was bankrolling IS. Certainly, most of the evidence for IS’s funding points to groups and individuals in Saudi Arabia. However, Saudi Arabia may provide training camps for anti-IS groups from Syria approved by the Americans. In response to a US request for similar assistance, the Qataris said it would be ‘premature’. Meanwhile, the Americans continue to accuse Qatar and Kuwait of being ‘permissive environments’ for the funding of terrorism, and believe Qatar has unhealthily close links with Jabhat al-Nusra. Certainly, Mr Attiyah has sought to play down its activities by pointing instead to atrocities committed by those loyal to Bashar al-Assad.

Israel has driven America’s scepticism over Qatar, accusing it of funding Hamas and of exporting terror not just through Jabhat al-Nusra but through IS. A German minister, Gerd Müller, then said that when the question was raised about funding IS, ‘The key word there is Qatar.’ This brought an immediate repudiation from the Qataris, who argued they had been among the first to condemn the beheading of the murdered American hostage James Foley.

However, the Americans — whose largest base in the Middle East is, ironically, at Al Udeid in Doha — believe Qatar has funded extremists not merely in Syria and Libya but also in Tunisia, Mali and Iraq. Another Wikileaks cable revealed Meir Degan, a former head of Mossad, telling the US that ‘Qatar is trying to cosy up to everyone’, and warning America to close its bases there.

Qatar’s pretence that it is an honest broker in the Middle East, attempting to see all sides of an argument, may wash in Doha. It won’t, however, resonate in countries such as Britain and America whose citizens are targeted by jihadis financed by people who may be Qataris, and who have enjoyed Qatari hospitality. Qatar needs to be reminded that the civilised parts of the world with which it does business won’t tolerate apologists for savage extremists. It can’t face both ways on this. Britain must expel members of the Brotherhood and sequester their funds. And it must tell Qatar that unless it stops turning a blind eye to some of its people funding murder and extremism, and stops equivocating about extremists, its assets will be frozen and trade with it suspended until it does.

Simon Heffer, is a columnist for the Daily Mail and a former deputy editor of The Spectator.

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:

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:

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

They Reject your Motivations, and Substitute Their Own

CSP, by Kyle Shideler:

Congress continues to struggle with Obama Administration officials, from all branches, in an effort to force them in matters of oversight, to merely assert facts that are already well known to everyone.  A good example of this was the recent success of Rep. John Cornyn who was able to get recently appointed FBI Director James Comey to admit that Fort Hood Shooter Nidal Hassan was in fact motivated by Al Qaeda.

This should not have been news at all, since Hassan, a self-declared “Soldier of Allah”, was in direct correspondence with Al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a fact known to the U.S. counterterrorism officials prior to his attack. Yet the administration has continued to insist the matter was one of “work place violence”, not Islamic terrorism.

Assistant Secretary Sarah Sewall at House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Terrorism Nonproliferation and Trade hearing on Boko Haram.

Assistant Secretary Sarah Sewall at House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Terrorism Nonproliferation and Trade hearing on Boko Haram.

Yet even going on six years of an administration which introduced the world to the phrase “man-caused disasters,” we’ve not seen as tasteless a display of reality rejection as the one put on by Assistant Secretary Sarah Sewall at House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Terrorism Nonproliferation and Trade hearing on Boko Haram.

Asked by Rep. Jeff Duncan whether Boko Haram discriminates against Christians, Sewall uttered the jaw-dropping reply:

I wish there was such discrimination in Boko Haram attacks. Boko Haram attacks everyone who is Nigerian. Boko Haram is an equal-opportunity threat for all Nigerian citizens.” (Emphasis added)

This statement, which combines a basic falsehood with disturbing callousness, earned rightful derision by the subcommittee, who pressed forward with additional inquiries, citing facts, including the 25:1 ratio in attacks against churches as opposed to mosques. Sewall began to backpedal:

The question that I was asked was whether there was an official State Department position on the motivations of Boko Haram, which I simply don’t have with me.

It seemed Assistant Secretary Sewall had misplaced her copy of the current truth as issued by the State Department, thus explaining her flailing answer.

While less grating than the tone-deaf reply, it is perhaps more appalling from a policy standpoint that Ms. Sewall thinks it appropriate that the State Department even have an “official position on the motivations of Boko Haram.” The only “position on the motivations of Boko Haram” that matters is Boko Haram’s, based on what they say and do. And they have not been shy on making their feelings known.

Boko Haram leader AbuBakr Shekhau has said, “Nobody can stop us and live in peace, except if you accept Islam and live by sharia law.” A simple statement that is pregnant with meaning. Instead, the State Department’s position is that economic deprivation, corruption, and bad governance by the Nigerian government motivate Boko Haram.

Sadly no. That’s what motivates the State Department’s interactions with the Nigerian government. State  has used every new outrage by Boko Haram to rhetorically flog the Nigerian government for their failings on these issues. And they may be issues on which the Nigerian goverment deserves criticism, but they are irrelevant to the current conflict with Boko Haram, which is a jihadist terrorist organization motivated to impose shariah law.

This administration continues to insist on protecting us from the threats they they wished we faced, and solving problems they wish we had, instead of addressing the threats and problems this nation actually faces.

Unfortunately such distortions of reality will always come crashing down, violently, and at great cost.

Boko Haram violence explodes; the West struggles to “understand”

Mitigating Religious Conflict in Nigeria
Boko Haram in Focus at Washington, DC, Briefings

by Andrew Harrod:

(Washington, DC) Nigeria’s jihadist group Boko Haram was recently featured in several Washington, DC, briefings, including a presentation by a Nigerian teenager who was the lone survivor of a family massacred by Boko Haram.  These briefings highlighted significant challenges in combating Boko Haram’s brutal terror campaign.

Deborah Wakai Peters was forced to watch the murders of her father and brother at the hands of the Boko Haram.

Deborah Wakai Peters was forced to watch the murders of her father and brother at the hands of the Boko Haram.

Fifteen-year old Deborah Peters appeared at a May 13 Hudson Institute panel to discuss a December 22, 2011, Boko Haram attack on her home near Chibok in Nigeria’s Borno state.  Peters saw Boko Haram assailants, one of whom she knew, shoot her pastor father.  Targeted after rebuilding his church which had been burnt down by Boko Haram the previous November, the pastor suffered martyrdom after refusing to recant his Christian faith.  The terrorists then killed her brother as well, and left the young girl lying between the bodies.

The girl’s mother, described by Nigerian human rights activist Emmanuel Ogebe as a Muslim convert in “one of those strange love stories that doesn’t end very well,” was not in the house at the time.  Nonetheless, she cannot return home as Boko Haram would kill her as an apostate.  Another pastor who helped bring Deborah Peters to the United States was himself a victim of a May 2013 Boko Haram attack.

Boko Haram has perpetrated “massive genocides” of Christian Nigerians in Muslim-majority northern Nigeria in order to establish a Muslim rule, with Taliban-style stadium beheadings in the “old-fashioned way,” Ogebe noted.  The terror group marked Christian dwellings for subsequent nocturnal attacks and had an “MO” of close range “shoot to kill” headshots.  While sporadic killings of Christians are “normal in northern Nigeria,” such as when Muslims blame Christians for an eclipse, Boko Haram presents “persecution on steroids.”  Boko Haram attacks, for example, have “virtually de-Christianized” Nigeria’s Yobe state, Ogebe wrote online, leaving hardly 80 pastors where once over 1,000 churches existed, a percentage loss greater “than the decimation of Christians in Iraq.”

Twice denied an American visa for insufficient family ties (“You can’t make this stuff up,” Ogebe observed), Deborah Peters had a low profile once in the United States.  Ogebe and his colleagues “tactically decided not to put her in a public space” because “we could not sacrifice the mental health of this young child” suffering from trauma.  International outcry over Boko Haram’s April 14 kidnapping of hundreds of mostly Christian girls, however, some of whom Peters had “literally…played with” moved her to “put a face to this travesty,” in Ogebe’s words.

The April 14 attack marked Boko Haram’s transition away from “gentlemen terrorists,” Ogebe noted.  Boko Haram in the past had often spared women, children (in an exception, Boko Haram feared that Peters brother would grow up to be a pastor like his father), and the elderly — in what Ogebe had described online as a “religious gendercide.”  Boko Haram had now moved to “gender-based targeting of women,” though, after the men had left various regions to avoid death.  Girl captives who had escaped Boko Haram horrifyingly related how their captors had forced them upon pain of death to convert to Islam and marry Boko Haram supporters.

Read more at Religious Freedom Coalitionn with video

 

Boko Haram Reportedly Ready to Exchange 100 Girls

Clarion Project, Published on May 19, 2014

Ryan Mauro, national security analyst for the Clarion Project, speaks about the latest news concerning the close to 300 Nigerian girls kidnapped by Islamist terrorists Boko Haram. A news report says the terrorists are ready to exchange 100 girls for 100 of their low-level fighters and the wives and daughters of Boko Haram fighters being held by the Nigerian government. Although the exact location of the girls has not been found, satellite images show temporary camps of Boko Haram in the Sambisa forest that may be where the girls are being held. Unfortunately, Nigerian forces lack the training and equipment to rescue the girls from this massive area.

 

Nigeria & Islamic Extremism: Briefing by Fmr Deputy Dir. of the Mossad:

 

Clarion Project, Published on May 14, 2014

Former Deputy Director of the Mossad Ilan Mizrachi gave this exclusive briefing to the Clarion Project on Boko Haram and Islamic extremism in a global context. Originally delivered to members of the diplomatic community and members of the press, Mizrachi spoke about the extremist Islamist ideology that drives Boko Haram and the other terrorist groups it is connected to. His thirty plus years of experience enabled him to accurately and insightfully clarify the difficulties facing the Nigerian government in tackling Boko Haram and shed light on the tactical decision Boko Haram made in targeting schoolgirls.

Nigerian ‘Sex-Slaves’ Disrupt Obama Narrative on Islam

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by :

Islamic law permits the possession of concubines, or sex slaves.  This has been demonstrated countless times, including through Islamic clerics quoting Islamic scriptures, and through ordinary Muslims, past and presentacting on it.

That said, Islamic sanctioned sex-slavery does not perturb the Western world simply because the powers-that-be-specifically academia, media, and government-ignore it, and all other unsavory phenomena associated with Islam, out of existence.

Interesting, therefore, are the responses from the authorities-comical one might even say-when one of these everyday anecdotes actually does surface to the general public.

Enter the recent abduction of nearly 300, mostly Christian, teenage schoolgirls in Nigeria at the hands of Boko Haram, yet another Islamic terrorist organization plaguing mankind.  As expected, the group justified its actions in Islamic terms, with its leader declaring on video, “I abducted your girls. I will sell them on the market, by Allah….There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell.”

Of course, for those in the know, none of this is surprising.   In March 2012, Boko Haram warned that it would do just this, declaring that it was preparing to “strike fear into the Christians of the power of Islam by kidnapping their women.”

Moreover, of all the human rights abuses I catalog in Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians-and these are depressingly many-Boko Haram’s has resulted in more Christians killed than in the rest of the world combined.

The group has bombed or burned hundreds of Christian churches in the last several years, most when packed for service, including on Christmas Day and Easter Day, leaving countless worshippers dead or dismembered. In its bid to cleanse northern Nigeria of all Christian presence-a repeatedly stated goal-it has threatened to poison the food eaten by Christians and stormed areas where Christians and Muslims were intermingled, singling the Christians out before slitting their throats.

Go to my monthly “Muslim Persecution of Christians” series (currently 31 in all), and see the innumerable atrocities that Boko Haram has been responsible for in the last two-and-a-half years-many of which make the recent Nigerian girls’ abduction pale in comparison.

The real news here is that the so-called mainstream media, which generally downplays or ignores Boko Haram’s terror campaign (see here for example), actually reported on this particular atrocity, prompting both Western and Muslim authorities-who are much more accustomed to, and comfortable with, pretending these sorts of things don’t exist-to respond in awkward, hypocritical and, in a word, foolish, ways. Thus,

Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. had been in touch with Nigeria “from day one” of the crisis. But repeated offers of U.S. assistance were ignored until Kerry got on the phone Tuesday with [Nigerian president] Jonathan amid growing international concern and outrage over the fate of the girls in the weeks since their abduction….  “I think now the complications that have arisen have convinced everybody that there needs to be a greater effort,” Kerry said at a State Department news conference. “And it will begin immediately. I mean, literally, immediately.”

Seconds before Boko Haram decapitate a Christian on video

“Convinced everybody”?  Is Kerry referring to himself?  After all, there might not have been any need for “greater effort,” the need to act “immediately. I mean, literally, immediately” had Kerry only let the Nigerian president and government do their job one year ago, when they were waging a particularly strong and successful offensive against Boko Haram in the very same region that the schoolgirls were recently kidnapped.

Back then, in May 2013, soon after Nigerian forces killed 30 Boko Haram members, Reuters reported that “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued a strongly worded statement [to the Nigerian president] saying: “We are … deeply concerned by credible allegations that Nigerian security forces are committing gross human rights violations, which, in turn, only escalate the violence and fuel extremism” from Boko Haram.

Read more: Family Security Matters 

Boko Haram release chilling videos of missing Nigerian schoolgirls

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  • Some of the schoolgirls captured by extremist group Boko Haram on April 14 have been paraded on video
  • More than 200 girls were abducted by the Islamist militants from a village in the north-east of Nigeria
  • Boko Harum leader has said that he will release the captured girls in return for militant prisoners being freed
  • The Nigerian government has reportedly rejected this offer and has two army divisions hunting for the seized girls
  • Governor of state where they were seized – Borno – claims to know where they are
  • Kashim Shettima said he’d received reports of sightings of the girls and had passed this information to the military
  • Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, calls for negotiations with the terrorist group, which he says is ‘merciless’

 

By Ted Thornhill, Jack Doyle and Jason Groves:

Some of the schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamic militant group Boko Haram have been paraded on video.

The terror group said many of them had been converted to Islam while being held and all those on the footage are wearing headscarfs.

The group’s leader said that it will release them in exchange for militant prisoners being freed.

The Nigerian government has reportedly rejected this offer and has two army divisions hunting for the seized girls.

Some girls on the 17-minute-long video, which was obtained by news agency AFP, spoke to camera, and looked extremely nervous.

The girls recite Islamic prayers during the clip as they sit in a group in a wooded area.

After the girls appear the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, wearing military fatigues and holding an AK-47, addresses the camera. He appears confident and at one point laughs.

‘All I am saying is that if you want us to release the girls that we have kidnapped, those who have not accepted Islam will be treated as the Prophet (Mohammed) treated infidels and they will stay with us,’ he said, according to a translation of his words originally spoken in a Nigerian language.

‘We will not release them while you detain our brothers,’ he said, before naming a series of cities in Nigeria. It was not clear whether he was in the same location as the girls.

The video came through channels that have provided previous messages from Shekau, who speaks in the video in the Hausa language of northern Nigeria.

The video, which shows around 130 of the girls, was aired after the governor of the Nigerian state from where they were kidnapped said that he knew where some of them are being held.

Kashim Shettima, the Governor of Borno, said that he’d received reports of sightings of the girls and had passed on this information to the military.

Extremist group Boko Haram seized 276 girls who were taking exams at a school in Borno’s north-eastern village of Chibok on April 14. Some managed to escape, but around 200 remain missing.

Mr Shettima told the BBC: ‘We’ve got reports of them being sighted in some locations – which we have conveyed to the relevant military authorities, for them to cross-check, verify and get additional information on the accurate location of the daughters.’

His comments came as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, called for negotiations with the terrorist group over the fate of the missing girls.

The Archbishop, who has acted as a hostage negotiator in Nigeria on behalf of the Church in the past, said the girls were at ‘colossal’ risk.

‘They are in the hands of a very disparate group which is extremely irrational and difficult to deal with – and utterly merciless,’ he told BBC Radio Four’s The World This Weekend programme.

Read more at Daily Mail

Chibok Affair: The Emerging And Uncomfortable Facts

”The girls that have been kidnapped are being raped up to 15 times a day by their captors and that those amongst them that have refused to convert to Islam are having their throats cut ”

By Fani-Kayode:

Now that the operational leadership and visible face of Boko Haram, in the person of the filth called Mr.  Abubakar Shekau (aka Darul Tawheed), has finally admitted that they were responsible for the abduction of hundreds of our school girls and that they intend to ‘’sell them in the market  like slaves’’, it is pertinent and necessary for us to consider some  of the emerging, though uncomfortable, facts.

This will enable us to understand the nature of who and what we are dealing with and allow us to consider what the appropriate response ought to be if we really want to solve the problem. Permit me to share the following facts that have been brought to my attention:

1.  That the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has told us that 90 per cent of the girls that were abducted from their school at Chibok were Christians.

2. That President Goodluck Jonathan himself alluded to this during his last media chat when he said that ‘’the majority’’ of girls that were abducted were Christians.

3. That the majority of the girls that either ‘’escaped’’ or were released by their abductors were Muslims.

4. That the Governor of Borno State refused to accept the counsel and abide by the directives of WAEC that the exams should not take place in Chibok due to the precarious security situation and instead he insisted that the exams should take place there and that he would guarantee the security of the children.

5. That the Christian Association of Nigeria has formally accused the Governor of Borno State of ‘’conspiracy and collusion’’ and they have urged him to tell us exactly where the girls are and what he knows about the whole incident.

6. That the girls that have been kidnapped are being raped up to 15 times a day by their captors and that those amongst them that have refused to convert to Islam are having their throats cut (read the testimony of one of the girls that ‘’escaped’’ on page 8 of the Vanguard Newspaper, 5th April, 2014).

7.  That  there was not a single adult in the school grounds watching over the 278 girls that entire night apart from one security man and that there was no electricity, no generator, no principal, no matron, no house master and no house mistress in the grounds with them.

8. That the children were all alone in their dormitories that night in the blistering heat and deepest darkness before the Haramites arrived to burn their school and carried them away into captivity.

9. That the soldiers that were guarding the school in Chibok were redeployed a  few hours  before Boko Haram launched their attack and abducted the children.

10. That up till now pictures of the abducted girls have not been produced or released by the school authorities or the state government.

11. That this was a predominantly christian School and that Chibok is a predominantly Christian community.

In my view, these facts are relevant and instructive. When one considers them, the picture of what really happened at Chibok on that tragic night, what the real intentions of the abductors and their secret sponsors were and what is really going on now is getting clearer by the day.

Ordinarily, whether the children are Christians, Muslims, pagans or atheists really should not matter because, regardless of their faith, we want them all back and we must fight for them all to be returned to their homes and loved ones.

Read more at Vanguard

Fani-Kayode is a former Minister of Aviation.

Boko Haram Kidnaps 3 More Women in War Against West

Nigerian protest

Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau:”This is a war against Christians and democracy and their constitution.”

BY RYAN MAURO:

As the international manhunt for the 276 girls kidnapped by the Boko Haram terrorist group continues, the group has abducted three more women, the two daughters and a wife of a retired police officer.

The abduction happened as the terrorists hindered the manhunt by blowing up a second bridge and engaging in violence that forced 3,000 people in the town of Liman Kara near the Cameroon border to flee. The Nigerian government believes that Boko Haram is possibly planning an attack on a market.

Nigeria has been the center of global attention since Boko Haram, an Al-Qaeda affiliate, kidnapped nearly 300 girls at a boarding school during the night of April 14. About 50 were able to escape. One escapee said she ran away when she was sent to get water and was shot at as she fled. Another girl described hiding in bushes for a day after jumping from a vehicle transporting the victims. Eleven more schoolgirls were taken on May 4.

According to Amnesty International, the Nigerian government received intelligence four hours ahead of time about an impending attack in the area after locals saw armed men riding motorcycles to the location. The Nigerian military denies the allegation.

“There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women,”  said Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in a video taking credit for the kidnappings.

Shekau justified his group’s actions based on his interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia.

“I am going to marry out any woman who is 12 years old, and if she is younger, I will marry her out at the age of nine, just like how my mother, Aisha, the daughter of Abubakar, was married out to Prophet Mohammad at the age of nine,” Shekau said according to an English translation of his speech.

“Slavery is allowed in my religion, and I shall capture people and make them slaves,’ he declared.

Read more at Clarion Project

Boko Haram’s Bin Laden Connection

Getty Images

Getty Images

By Eli Lake:

In 2002, Osama bin Laden dispatched an aide to Nigeria to hand out $3 million in local currency to a wide array of Salafist political organizations there that shared al Qaeda’s goal of imposing Islamic rule.

According to an overlooked report from a well-respected international watchdog, one of those organizations was Boko Haram, the terrorist outfit that’s become globally infamous for its threat to sell girls into slavery. In other words, bin Laden helped provide Boko Haram’s seed money, this report maintains.

Officially, the U.S. intelligence community assesses that the group has only tangential links to al Qaeda’s north African affiliate, and that reports of bin Laden backing the Nigerian outfit are off-base. But inside the secret state, many analysts believe that the ties between Boko Haram and al Qaeda global leadership go much deeper—and are about more than a little seed money.

“There were channels between bin laden and Boko Haram leadership,” one senior U.S. intelligence offical told The Daily Beast. “He gave some strategic direction at times.”

At issue are still secret documents captured from Osama bin Laden’s lair in Pakistan in 2011. According to two senior U.S. intelligence officials, the trove of documents includes correspondence between leaders of Boko Haram and al Qaeda’s central leadership, including Osama bin Laden. Other U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast have stressed that the documents only include letters from Boko Haram to bin Laden—the terror leader never replied back.

The dispute inside the intelligence community falls along familiar lines about al Qaeda. The White House has emphasized the distinctions between al Qaeda’s core and its affiliates and other aspiring jihadists, who the White House sees as operating almost entirely independent of the central group.

However, another faction inside the U.S. intelligence community—one that comprises the current leadership of the Defense Intelligence Agency and others working in the military—see al Qaeda as a flatter organization that coordinates between nodes and operates through consensus in the model of an Islamic Shura council.

In the case of the Boko Haram debate, this latter group inside the intelligence community have pointed to documentation and raw intelligence that suggested the Nigerian group had evolved over time—particularly after 2010—into something that resembles an unofficial al Qaeda affiliate and a threat to the west.

That debate was one factor that delayed the official branding of Boko Haram as a terrorist group until November, despite the fact that many U.S. agencies like the FBI pressed the State Department to list the group as a foreign terrorist organization far earlier, according to two senior U.S. intelligence officials.

One senior intelligence official said that by 2012, White House officials like then-counterterrorism coordinator John Brennan downplayed these documents, saying that they only represented the vague aspirations of al Qaeda’s central leadership and Boko Haram’s chiefs to work together. Another U.S. intelligence official said, “Boko Haram is really on the periphery of the al Qaeda universe.”

Read more at The Daily Beast

World Wide Christian Leaders Abandon Their Own in Nigeria

nigeria-church1-e1399762359218By Wallace S. Bruschweiler and Alan Kornman:

The period 1938 to 1945 should have been a lesson for all future generations.  The European Jews sitting back and accepting to be marched to Nazi slaughter-houses is absolutely not to be repeated in today’s day and age.

Abubakar Shekau, leader of the Islamic supremacist group Boko Haram declared war on the Christians in this shocking video.

How will we justify our inaction(s) to the next generations – what and how will the future history books describe the Christian massacres in Syria, Sudan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Iraq and Nigeria. What kind of justifications will we have to invent, to answer in the future, the questions asked by our children?

Here we are – when Hillary Clinton served as President Obama’s Secretary of State, she vigorously opposed for over two years placing the al-Qaida affiliated terrorist group Boko Haram on the State Department’s official list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations,  John Kerry to his credit did it in November 2013.

The Response

Andrew McCarthy writes in the National Review, “Mrs Clinton and President Obama have convinced themselves that they know more about Islam than Muslim terrorists do, and that the peaceful, pliable, progressive Islam they have concocted somehow renders the jihadists’ Islam false.” Unfortunately, there are over 300 Nigerian girls and young women who would beg to differ!

Boko Haram’s Islamic justified barbaric actions speak for themselves.  Yet Christians around the world remain militarily passive to the existential threats posed by Islamic Jihad. This reminds me of the disgusting repeated ‘non decisions’ to bomb the railways tracks leading to Dachau, Auschwitz, etc. during World War II.

Nigeria, as many other nations in Africa and the Middle East, is an artificial political entity (remember Biafra).  A large number of these African and Middle East countries are formed by a significant  number of tribes with completely different ‘standards’ and kept together by corruption and terror.

Kidnapping, slavery, forced marriages, rape, forced conversions, mass murder, and torture no longer move people of conscience into military action.  Instead our leaders, on the world stage, give us nice words of righteous indignation that sooth’s the souls of the unaffected and washes the guilt of responsibility off our collective shoulders.

Ronald Reagan described, “America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere.” This beacon of light has dimmed and is flickering close to complete darkness.

“For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses . . .”— John Winthrop, aboard the Arbella, 1630

Read more at Dr. Rich Swier