Sunday, 25 May 2014

Reality of Boko Haram

BOKO HARAM Attack on Nigerian Girls:

Twitter lobbies to bring back the girls:

Americans have increasingly been pulled into the frightening story of more than 220 schoolgirls in Nigeria who were kidnapped by terrorist group Boko Haram. People around the world have watched and prayed and helped spread awareness of the girls’ plight by using the social media hashtag #BringBackOurGirls

** Boko Haram’s leader has offered to trade the girls for the freedom of captured terrorists.

Instead of the girls sitting for their exams - they were kidnapped? Why? Who is responsible?

What is Boko Haram? Has it been active for long?
Boko Haram is a Nigerian-based terrorist organization that has received funding and training from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, al-Qaeda’s North Africa franchise. It attacked the United Nations headquarters in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, in 2011. Boko Haram has effectively turned the northern part of Nigeria into a conflict zone, forcing more than a quarter-million Nigerians to flee their homes.
The terrorist group conducts nearly daily indiscriminate attacks against both Muslims and Christians, including car bombs, assassinations, shootings, raids and abductions. More than 8,000 people have died in the past four years as a result of the conflict driven by Boko Haram and Ansaru’s (a Boko Haram breakaway organization) violent activities.

Why is it abducting schoolgirls?
The abduction of the girls from Chibok follows Boko Haram’s desire to ban women’s education and its goal to create a Sharia law state. Since 2013, Boko Haram has claimed it would abduct infidel women and turn them into slaves to sell at the market.

Point of thought by the editor: In Pakistan, the Taliban Peace Talks is a reflection of the struggle to enforce sharia law but it was a fallacy on the part of government to think that peace talks shall be carried out smoothly and it was a camouflage to launch strikes in Miran Shah and Waziristan areas. Were F 16 a part of plot on sharia vs constitution saga?

What is the U.S. doing to help?
Recently, the Obama administration announced it was sending a limited number of military personnel (about 30), intelligence and negotiators to assist the Nigerian government in locating and securing the girls. The U.S. is flying surveillance missions across the region to look for the girls, but given the vast and heavily forested terrain, aerial surveillance is unlikely to produce meaningful intelligence. Given the regional ramifications of Boko Haram and the likelihood of the girls being outside Nigeria, U.S. personnel in the immediate term will likely have a limited impact on securing the girls, other than to allow President Obama to say he “did something.”

Hillary Clinton’s State Department refused to give Boko Haram the legal designation of official terrorist organization, which it did not receive from the U.S. government until 2013. What does that mean?
For nearly three years, the U.S. State Department was unwilling to acknowledge the threat and legally define Boko Haram as a terrorist organization, despite its overt and calculated efforts to terrorize Nigeria and its neighbors, including international targets like the U.N. headquarters. Failure to do this denied U.S. authorities one of the key tools required to counter the group’s activities.
Many social welfare organizations and prominent activists have been warning of the group’s threat and calling for its official designation by the State Department since 2009. A timely designation would have given agencies such as the FBI, CIA and the Justice Department the resources to focus on disrupting and countering the terrorist group’s financial support network. If the requests for this designation from Congress and experts had been answered sooner by the State Department, these young girls might have completed their high school exit exams instead of being kidnapped by terrorists.

Why did the U.S. wait so long to designate Boko Haram as terrorists?
Despite the serious implications of instability and violence in Nigeria and the region, the State Department repeatedly deferred to the Nigerian government’s request that the group not be designated so as not to discourage investment in what is now the largest economy in Africa, rather than allowing U.S. national interests – and common sense – to take precedence.

Point of thought bu the Editor: Since ages common man all around the world has been made to shut up because we have no right to speak or stand up. Organizations as Boko Haram tap in the weakness of the overall society and economic downturn to hire people in to their organization, and then they all fight in the name of jihad or are used for covert operations by various agencies. US interest in Nigeria's economy prevented them for long designating Boko Haram as terrorists. Why? Is investment a greater value indicator than human life? 
*Why can't powerful agencies like FBI, CIA stop this menace of abduction or pick leads of such adverse happenings through their intelligence network? 

What is America’s relationship with Nigeria?
Nigeria is the United States’ largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa. It remains a top producer of oil sold in the United States and is one of the largest contributors of U.N. peacekeepers worldwide. Given the ongoing crisis in Eastern Europe with Russia, a secure and stable oil supply from Nigeria will be a critical component of European energy security.

What should the U.S. do next?
The Obama administration would be na├»ve to think that once the #BringBackOurGirls story leaves the media limelight, so will the threat of Boko Haram. French President Francois Hollande has offered to hold a regional security summit with Nigeria and surrounding nations to discuss partnership and coordination opportunities going forward. Nigeria has accepted the invitation. The U.S. should support France’s efforts and accept an invitation to the summit.

Before the girls were kidnapped, the U.S. was already training and professionalizing a small number of Nigerian forces, in particular helping to stand up Nigeria’s own “Army Special Operations Command.” These types of training and partnership opportunities that help professionalize the Nigerian security forces should be expanded.

Outside of military and security support, the U.S. should also look at opportunities to help the Nigerian government advance economic freedom, focusing on more inclusive growth and dynamic job creation in northern Nigeria. This would help create greater economic opportunities and build trust with the Nigerian government, undermining Boko Haram’s ability to recruit and act with impunity in the north.


"Beginning of the end of terror"

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday said the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls by Boko Haram will mark a key turning point in the battle against “terror in Nigeria”.

“I believe that the kidnap of these girls will be the beginning of the end of terror in Nigeria,” Jonathan told delegates at the World Economic Forum, thanking Britain, China, France and the United States for their offers of help to rescue the hostages. 
The four world powers have pledged varying levels of expert help to track down the girls whose April 14 mass abduction from Chibok in north-eastern Borno state has sparked global outrage.
Jonathan’s comments echoed those of US President Barack Obama , who stated that the Chibok kidnappings “may be the event that helps to mobilize the entire international community to finally do something against this horrendous organisation that’s perpetrated such a terrible crime”. 

Jonathan had hoped that the World Economic Forum would highlight Nigeria’s economic progress and its recent emergence as Africa’s top economy, but the headlines have remained focused on Boko Haram. 

Written and Compiled by:


*Political Analyst & Journalist
*Tweets @KANWALanalyst