DEFEAT: HARD TIMES FOR BOKO HARAM
By Celestin Ngoa Balla, US Africa News. Updated 2015-03-11
Boko Haram is short of cash. This is at least what some US experts who have analyzed the group’s latest recording are saying about the head of the Islamic sect that has waged a deadly campaign in Nigeria for six years. "We proclaim our allegiance to the Caliph ... we will hear and obey him in times of trouble and joy," said Abubakar Shekau in a message that was still being authenticated as this article was going to press. The Caliph in question here, according to the US sources, is none other than Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State organization and self-proclaimed Caliph of the Muslim World; a warlord whose influence spans the Middle East and North Africa. Does he now have, with the assistance of Boko Haram, his first sub-Saharan territory under his belt?
The Islamic State in Iraq was born when Al-Qaeda, joined by five other Jihadist groups, was renamed, on October 13, 2006, the Mujahideen Advisory Council. From the outset, the Islamic State has considered itself a true state in Iraq, and then Syria, since 2013, when the Islamic State separated from Al-Qaeda. On June 29 of last year, this armed, Salafist jihadist organization proclaimed the Caliphate on the land they control in Iraq and Syria. The self-proclaimed Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi introduced himself, under the name Ibrahim, as Muhammad's successor. Today, the serious charges of war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity have earned the Islamic State a military challenge from an international coalition of 22 countries. Initially, the idea of the Caliphate was rejected by jihadist groups of notoriety, such as the Islamic Front rebels, the jihadists of al-Nostra Front, and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). But Baghdadi’s gang has allegiances here and there in the Islamic world, starting with Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, to the Philippines, Indonesia, Yemen and Pakistan. Since March 7, Nigerian-based Boko Haram has been encroaching into Cameroon and Chad, with Niger just added to the list.
According to the American sources, the declaration of Boko Haram’s allegiance to the Islamic State is pure propaganda. The first step of this propaganda campaign was seen already in a video, some weeks ago, when Boko Haram followers executed two people suspected of espionage in the style of Islamic State beheadings. In fact propaganda of this kind are the modus operandi of Boko Haram’s leader, keeping in mind that a few months ago, he was making allegiance at the same time to both Al-Qaeda and AQIM. Nevertheless, US experts give him no chance of success. The Americans believe that the Islamists of the Islamic State harbor a pronounced racism against blacks in Africa, who make up about six thousand Boko Haram troops. "The Arab world is fundamentally racist and does not consider blacks as equals," an anonymous US intelligence official stated. Boko Haram has raised the flag of the Islamic State and taken other steps to attract the sympathy of Baghdadi innumerable times, but in vain. Recently, in a statement he posted on November 13, 2014, Baghdadi recognized allegiances with groups in Libya, Algeria, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia only.
Suffering under heavy fire from forces from Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, the Islamist combatant no longer knows where to turn. Chadian President Idriss Deby, following his Nigerian counterpart, Goodluck Jonathan, has called for Shekau to surrender alive before it's too late. Idriss Deby has also announced that he knows exactly where the head of Boko Haram is currently hiding. This allegiance to the Islamist State thus appears to US observers as a way out for Shekau, who wants to save his own hide. According to the US sources, financial difficulties may also push the head of Boko Haram toward this allegiance to the more affluent Islamist state. “Boko would not turn down any funding or material support; they are takers who give little in return,” the anonymous official added.