Thursday 5 February 2015

Boko Haram: A darker shade of evil

Seems like a nice fella to abduct your daughter

Let me introduce ISIS's African cousins, Boko Haram. The name roughly translates as: 'Western education is sin' and they are true jihadists, in the traditional and primitive sense (is there any other?). They despise the West and all its values. They particularly oppose Western education and have attacked schools, shot school children and abducted schoolgirls who are then considered 'war booty' to be sold on as sex slaves. The asking price for the average sex slave in Nigeria is $12, apparently.    

The radical Islamic group was founded in 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf. Yusuf proved a charismatic leader, who unsurprisingly, died in government custody in 2009. Not only does Boko Haram oppose the 'decadent' West, it also detests what it sees as apostate Muslims, which roughly equates to any Muslim who does not embrace its own barbaric principles. Their goal is to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria subject to strict sharia law. Since 2009 they have undertaken an aggressive campaign attacking police stations and government buildings. Their current leader, Abubakar Shekau, is reputed to have said: "I enjoy killing anyone that God commands me to kill- the way I like killing chickens and rams." Best not to put him in charge of the local petting zoo, then. They have implemented numerous terror attacks against Christians in the north of the country and threatened to kill any Christians they find there- this is no idle threat. They have even extended operations into neighbouring countries. Recently they raided into the adjacent countries of Cameroon and Chad indiscriminately killing over a 100 people. The Chadian army has countered by attacking terrorist outposts in the border region killing large numbers of insurgents.

Boko Haram's tactics of terror and intimidation have resulted in the organisation gaining control of much of north-eastern Nigeria. They control an area equivalent in size to Iraq and Syria combined. Their success has been due, in part, to the divisions in wealth between the north and the south of the country encouraging dispossessed young men to flock to Boko Haram's banner in their thousands. The north of the country is also predominantly Muslim in contrast to the 'rich' Christian south.

The corrupt rulers in Abuja have been unable to conduct a coherent or effective counter offensive. The corruption and incompetency of Goodluck Jonathon's regime is legendary. At one stage the government thought they had negotiated a cease fire with the insurgent group only to find that they had conducted negotiations with the wrong terror organisation. In addition, the Nigerian armed forces are woefully inefficient and brutal. In terms of savagery there is little to distinguish between the terrorists and regular Nigerian armed forces.    

'Badluck Mugumbo' contemplating his numerous assets

Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer. Although oil generates vast revenues the majority of the Nigerian population subsists on less than two dollars a day. As in all African countries, corruption is rampant and the ruling elite are concerned only to accrue personal wealth to the economic detriment of the general population. The question is this: Will Boko Haram extend its influence into the south of the country? It is unlikely that the citizens of the Christian south would be willing to side with the brutal Muslim group especially judging on past record. Their only chance of success would lie with a military takeover, which currently seems unlikely. However, political instability in the region is possibly the organisation's greatest ally. The ramshackle, blatantly corrupt, and inept Nigerian regime could collapse into economic ruin. In such an eventuality, Boko Haram would be ready to move south, although geography, lack of infrastructure and the disease infested jungle would ruin their chance of a rapid advance.

America's military gaze is currently and firmly fixed on the Middle East, and for good reason, - here lies the major oil fields. I'm a cynical old scrote and do not believe that the US military intervention in the Middle East is primarily humanitarian in nature. However, the extension of Boko Haram's power into the oil fields of south Nigeria would almost certainly lead the West into another costly, vicious, and drawn out war. This is the ultimate price we pay for expensive oil.  

                                 Predictable, I know. But I couldn't help myself. Arse. 


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