Does the United States truly understand the Motive?
The situation in West Africa has been in flux since the forced removal of Qadaffi by Western Interests last year. There have been serious concerns raised regarding the influx of weapons into the region from the “liberated” Libyan Armories. But have these fears been realized?
There have only two instances of Islamist inspired violence in the region. They are the resurgent Boko Haram movement in Northern Nigeria and the recent tactical victory by the Taureg against the Military Junta that replaced an outgoing President before an election. The Tauregs were supported by at least 100 Boko Haram fighters in occupying the Northern Malian town of Gao.
Recently President Obama described the Nigerian Militants as a Frustrated Group capitalizing on frustration with the current leadership in Nigeria and poor governance. That sounds just like MEND (Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta) in the South as it conducts their own insurgency. However there are two distinct differentials between MEND and Boko Haram.
First of all are the targets. MEND has been targeting the Petroleum Industry for the most part in an effort to achieve what they feel is Economic Justice. In contrast Boko Haram has taken a different course of action. The group has targeted both Christians in the North and the Nigerian Security Services as part of their tactics. On the surface it appears that they seek to create an Islamist enclave. So their Area of Operations in States that already are using Sharia Law can be seen as having some tacit approval of State Governors as a hedge against Abuja.
The attacks against the Security Services and Infiltration of them by Boko Haram raise serious questions. Besides supporters within Nigeria is this insurgent group have outside support? We know that there is a link with AQIM after the recent victory in Northern Mali. Also last year two dozen militants went to Somalia to learn bomb-making. They have yet to utilize this as successfully as Al-Shaabab. But the Group is at a tactical Crossroads.
The group is at a position where it has to determine to continue the attacks against the Security Forces and Christians or Preaching to the Citizens. They are losing some of their mystique as the average citizens increase their cooperation with the Security Forces in revealing both members and safe houses. Being at this location might not be a sign of frustration. It may be a growing pain in fact. The success in Northern Mali for now may produce new tactics for Boko Haram to use in Northern Nigeria. One thing is for certain. By not having any ears or eyes in Northern Nigeria the United States is hindered in Observation and in Gathering Intelligence. This will lead to poor decision making by the United States and others.
The Author Publishes Confused Eagle on the Internet. It can be found at confusedeagle.livejournal.com