Weekly Political Report: Boko Haram–A New Threat on The Rise and it’s Hidden Secrets

Each week I write a political report that affects YOU and THE WORLD around you.

This week’s Weekly Political Report: Boko Haram–A New Threat on the Rise and It’s Hidden Secrets


On April 15th, 2014, a Nigerian terrorist group named Boko Haram kidnapped 276 Nigerian teenage girls from their school in Chibok. This mass kidnapping galvanized a global outrage and gave rise to a Twitter hashtag campaign #BringBackOurGirls, which First Lady Michelle Obama and dozens of celebrities have joined in. Boko Haram has offered to release all 200 of the girls in exchange for prisoners in government captivity, but little has developed in regards to negotiating peace talks. Boko Haram still has plans to sell the girls in the market, however, their true motive lies within the leader’s words (Abubakar Shekau), who he said in a recent television release that he wants to establish an Islamist theocracy in Northern Nigeria and beyond. On May 6th, the White House announced that the United States will send a team of military personnel, hostage negotiators, and intelligence experts to assist Nigerian authorities in finding the Nigerian girls, but the question remains, “Can the US #bringbackourgirls?

Boko Haram, whose names translates to “Western Education is A Sin,” has always been under the radar of U.S. counterterrorism operations since 2012. But the problem was (at the time) if Boko Haram should be labeled as a FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organization) because of its “very very thin” link to Al-Qaeda–said a former senior administration official–and cloudy goals except for ousting the Nigerian government and establishing an Islamist rule in its place. Johnnie Carson a former assistant secretary of state for Africa mentions today that there is little evidence of links to Al Qaeda.

The largest role in Obama’s foreign policy today is to narrowly define al Qaeda; deemphasize the rise of its new affiliates; and most importantly shift from the “War on Terror” to an inevitable but manageable law-enforcement problem. And so when it came time in 2012 to decide if Boko Haram should be listed as a FTO (an example being a Jan 2012 letter from Lisa Monaco then-head of the Justice Department National Security contending to the State Department that Boko Haram had links to “transnational terrorist groups”)  there was an immediate reluctance because of the common fear of expanding the war against al Qaeda to “other parts of the world,” says one U.S counterterrorism official who was familiar with this type of discussion. The best way to sum up this fear or “reluctance” is this: “Certainly there was a reluctance to make international terrorists out of people who weren’t international terrorist” –U.S official

Another reason was that it would create undue attention for Boko Haram which would possibly attract recruiters and finances from terrorist affiliates around the world. However it would not be until November 2013, that the U.S finally added Boko Haram to the FTO list largely because of Johnnie Carson’s departure and Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan’s declaration of Boko Haram as a terrorist organization.

So How Does This Affect You?

It affects you because Boko Haram has been and now is on the FTO list. Therefore, resources from everywhere including the United States will be invested in stopping the spread of terrorism in Nigeria and beyond. Like Israel, Nigeria plays a pivotal role in promoting democracy in Africa so it is necessary to establish African militaries to staff peacekeeping missions in Nigeria (to #bringbackourgirls) and suppress militant groups like Boko Haram. Not only that but Nigeria is 5th largest oil exporter to the United States. However, “Can the U.S. #bringbackourgirls?”

There is a strong possibility knowing the strength and capabilities that the US has shown towards its terrorism foes. But since Obama has dispatched a small team to assist the Nigerian government in their attempts to #bringbackourgirls, he has left room to question if the U.S. will in fact negotiate with terrorists? A pressing issue for a lot of hard right-wing Americans. Plus I have learned that the Nigerian government has abused human rights laws in the past which goes against the Leahy Amendment–restricting the US to effectively aid Nigeria because they have abused such laws.

However, in the end, terrorists like Abubakar Shekau will soon feel the full weight of American justice and receive the same fate as Osama Bin Laden.

This report was contributed by various sources of press. To read in-depth, click one of the stories below.

The Boko Haram-Benghazi Link (Politico)

The U.S Justice Department urges terror label for Nigerian militants (Reuters)

Can a Handful of Troops #bringbackourgirls (Politico)

Nigeria ready for Boko Haram talks (The Daily Star)



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