Keep an eye on Africa and ISIS..aka Boko Haram.
The battle against jihadi terrorism in Africa takes one of its deadliest turns yet, with consequences far beyond the region.
This Easter, Remember in fervent prayer the Christians ALL OVER THE WORLD who are persecuted and murdered for their Faith in Jesus Christ by muslim barbarians. -SF
Muslims Slaughter Over 10,000 Christians and Destroy 13,000 Churches in Nigeria
- Over 500 Christian villagers were slain in one night.” — Emmanuel Ogebe, Nigerian human rights lawyer, March 2, 2016.
- What Christians in Nigeria are experiencing is a live snapshot of what millions of Christians and other non-Muslims have experienced since the seventh century, when Islam “migrated” to their borders: violence, persecution, enslavement, and the destruction of churches.
- The Obama Administration refuses to associate Boko Haram — an organization that defines itself in purely Islamic terms — with Islam, just as it refuses to associate the ISIS with Islam.
- In all cases, the Obama Administration looks the other way, while insisting that the jihad is a product of “inequality,” “poverty” and “a lack of opportunity for jobs” — never of Islamic teaching.
Boko Haram, the Nigerian Islamic extremist group, has killed more people in the name of jihad than the Islamic State (ISIS), according to the findings of a new report. Since 2000, when twelve Northern Nigerian states began implementing or more fully enforcing Islamic sharia law, “between 9,000 to 11,500 Christians” have been killed. This is “a conservative estimate.”
In addition, “1.3 million Christians have become internally displaced or forced to relocate elsewhere,” and “13,000 churches have been closed or destroyed altogether.” Countless “thousands of Christian businesses, houses and other property have been destroyed.”
The report alludes to a number of other factors that connect the growth of the Nigerian jihad to the growth of the global jihad. The rise of anti-Christian, Islamic supremacism
“did not emerge in Northern Nigeria until the 1980s, when Nigerian scholars and students returned from Arabic countries influenced by Wahhabi and Salafist teaching. Each year, thousands of West African Muslims get free scholarships to pursue their studies in the Sunni Arab countries; this has had a major impact on Nigerian culture.”
This “major impact” is not limited to Nigeria. Saudi Arabia annually spends over $100 billion disseminating “Wahhabi and Salafist teaching” — or what growing numbers of Muslims refer to as “true Islam”. They also do so through European mosques and those in the United States. Behind the radicalization of ISIS, Boko Haram, and Lone Wolf Muslims, stand America’s best Muslim friends and allies.
Another important finding from the report is that,
“Not just radical Islam, Boko Haram being the most notable example, but also Muslim Hausa-Fulani herdsmen and the Northern Muslim political and religious elite are also major actors of targeted violence towards the Christian minority.”
Most recently, on March 2, Nigerian human rights lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe sent an email saying: “I arrived Nigeria a few days ago to investigate what appears to be the worst massacre by Muslim [Hausa-Fulani] herdsmen… Over 500 Christian villagers were slain in one night.”
Similarly, according to a West African source, “Once Boko Haram is defeated, the problem will not be solved. Christians living under Sharia law are facing discrimination and marginalization and have limited to no access to federal rights.”
The report finally finds that much of the anti-Christian violence derives from the historical “migration of Muslims into non-Muslim territories in northern Nigeria to promote the Islamic religious and missionary agenda in all parts of northern Nigeria.” In other words, what Christians in Nigeria are experiencing is a live snapshot of what millions of Christians and other non-Muslims have experienced since the seventh century, when Islam “migrated” to their borders: violence, persecution, enslavement, and the destruction of churches.
All of these findings contradict the Obama Administration’s official narrative concerning the unrest in Nigeria. For years, the administration refused to list Boko Haram — which has slaughtered more Christians and “apostates” than even ISIS — as a terrorist organization. It finally did so in November 2013, after several years of pressure from lawmakers, human rights activists, and lobbyists.
|For years, the Obama Administration refused to list Boko Haram — which has slaughtered more Christians and “apostates” than even ISIS — as a terrorist organization. It finally did so in November 2013, after several years of pressure. Pictured above: Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau (center).|
Even so, the Obama Administration refuses to associate Boko Haram — an organization that defines itself in purely Islamic terms — with Islam, just as it refuses to associate the ISIS with Islam. Although Boko Haram and its allies have yet to miss a year when they do not bomb or burn several churches during the Christmas or Easter celebrations, on Easter Day, 2012, after the organization had murdered 39 Christian worshippers, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson said: “I want to take this opportunity to stress one key point and that is that religion is not driving extremist violence” in the Muslim-majority north.
So what is? The administration attributes to Boko Haram the same motivation it attributes to the Islamic State — or as President Bill Clinton once memorably put it in a reference to Boko Haram’s murder campaign: “inequality” and “poverty” are “what’s fueling all this stuff.”
That assessment is similar to the Obama Administration’s claim that “a lack of opportunity for jobs” is what created ISIS; or CIA John Brennan’s claim that the jihadi ideology the world over is “fed a lot of times by, you know, political repression, by economic, you know, disenfranchisement, by, you know, lack of education and ignorance, so there — there are a number of phenomena right now that I think are fueling the fires of, you know, this ideology.”
Appeasing the jihadis has been the administration’s policy, or in the words of Clinton’s advice to the Nigerian government: “[I]t is almost impossible to cure a problem based on violence with violence.” Countless decapitated Christian heads later, when Nigerian forces killed 30 Boko Haram members in a particularly powerful offensive carried out in May 2013, Reuters reportedthat U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry “issued a strongly worded statement” to the Nigerian president: “We are … deeply concerned,” he said, “by credible allegations that Nigerian security forces are committing gross human rights violations, which, in turn, only escalate the violence and fuel extremism” from Boko Haram.
Christian life in Muslim-majority areas of Nigeria is merely a microcosm of Christian life in Muslim-majority nations around the world. Christians are being persecuted and killed, their churches banned, burned or bombed. Thanks to Saudi petrodollars, the men behind the persecution are almost always “influenced by Wahhabi and Salafist teaching,” and include not just “extremists,” but also the “political and religious elite.” In all cases, the Obama Administration looks the other way, while insisting that the jihad is a product of “inequality,” “poverty” and “a lack of opportunity for jobs” — never of Islamic teaching.
Read the Original Article at Gatestone Institute
Côte d’Ivoire has become the latest country in West Africa to suffer a major terror attack. No fewer than 15 civilians and three special forces troops died when six attackers opened fire on the beaches in Grand-Bassam, a seaside town that’s popular with expats.
Thirty-three people were wounded.
On Jan. 15, gunmen opened fire in central Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. And on Nov. 20 last year, a similar attack took place at the Radisson Blue Hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako. AQIM and various linked groups have also claimed many smaller attacks, mostly in Mali.
Jihadi groups have operated in Mali and neighboring countries for decades. AQIM, West Africa’s local Al Qaeda branch, actually evolved from an Algerian terror group. In 2012, AQIM and associated groups were instrumental in the Islamist takeover of northern Mali, which prompted a French military intervention in 2013.
In contrast to Islamic State, Al Qaeda has always been a decentralized organization. AQIM and its affiliates are a perfect example of this.
AQIM is the “official” Al Qaeda franchise in the region, but it tolerates the existence of several other semi-autonomous terror groups within its sphere of influence — and in some cases AQIM purportedly facilitated their creation.
Case in point — the Macina Liberation Front, which took responsibility for the Radisson Blue attack. Officially dedicated to recreating the Macina Empire, the group is widely believed to be a local front for AQIM. Its leader Hamadou Kouffa has reportedly had great success in mobilizing members of his Pheul/Fulani community.
Another associated group, Ansar Dine is led by Ihad ag Ghali, a Tuareg with a long history of resistance against the Malian state. AQIM has also managed to survive several defections and splinter movements, the most prominent being that of Mokthar Belmokthar. Wrongly proclaimed dead on several occasions, Belmokthar is widely considered to be one of the region’s top terrorist masterminds, with an astonishing number of complex attacks to his credit.
That AQIM and its affiliates have now conducted two high-profile attacks outside Mali within a short period of time is interesting and worrying at the same time — and flies in the face of French efforts to deny terrorist groups the freedom to operate in the region. It almost certainly means that the group’s leadership judges itself to be strong and unified enough to handle the risks and demands associated with striking beyond its traditional area of operations.
Neither Burkina Faso nor Côte d’Ivoire has a significant local jihadi scene nor even great sympathy for AQIM’s cause among the population.
Côte d’Ivoire, a former French colony and home to one of the major deepwater ports in francophone West Africa, is a major logistical hub for France’s military. The rapid intervention in Mali in 2013 was possible only because French forces were already prepositioned in neighboring Côte d’Ivoire.
One attack won’t deny France this advantage, of course. But again in contrast to Islamic State, Al Qaeda’s ideology isn’t primarily geared towards holding territory. While both groups want to reestablish the Caliphate — and Islamic State has claimed to have done so — Al Qaeda sees this as a long-term goal, attainable only after a struggle of a century or more.
In that sense, the recent spate of attacks in West Africa is aimed at exhausting France, the main Western enemy of the Islamists in this particular theater. Without a doubt, AQIM’s leadership is banking on Paris doubling down on its military and diplomatic commitment to the region, thereby opening its military and citizens to even more attacks.
France won’t take this lying down, of course, and its special forces have been quite successful in eliminating Islamist fighters and leaders throughout the Sahel. But the military approach to combating terrorism has limits, as the United States has discovered in Iraq and Afghanistan. Still, so far France has refused to reconsider its approach to its former colonies.
After Ougadougou and Grand-Bassam, one doesn’t have to be a fortune-teller to predict more attacks against French interests in the region. The most likely targets are Niamey, France’s main military hub in Mali’s neighbor Niger — and Dakar, the capital of Senegal and a major economic and political hotspot in the region which is also home to many French nationals. Other high-profile targets could include Chad’s capital N’Djamena and the government of Mauritania.
While France lost four citizens in Grand-Bassam, the majority of the victims were, of course, Ivoirian. Destabilizing the politics and economiesof West Africa is beneficial to AQIM, as it relies on weak governments and badly-governed spaces to operate. But France’s intervention in Mali shows that to achieve the complete collapse of order in one of these states, AQIM first needs to eliminate the presence of France and other major powers.
“Ivory Coast shooting: ’12 dead including four Europeans’ in gun attack on Grand-Bassam beach resort popular with Western tourists,” by Samuel Osborne, Independent, March 13, 2016 (thanks to Steve):
Several people are feared dead after at least four heavily armed gunmen attacked a beach resort in the Ivory Coast.
At least 12 people are reported dead including four Europeans near the Hotel Etoile du Sud, in the coastal city of Grand-Bassam, which is popular with Western tourists.
In a now-deleted post on social media, the Ivory Coast government confirmed there were at least 11 casualties, including a five-year-old child.
Witnesses reported hearing the gunmen shout “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) as they opened fire.
There are varying reports of both the number feared dead and the number of attackers.
A government spokesperson told Bloomberg at least five attackers had been killed and another five were on the run.
Local media reports the gunmen had entered the Hotel Etoile Du Sud, taking guests and staff hostage.
The shooting started at the hotel Koral Beach and continued in nearby establishments, according to the website Ivorian Connection.
Images of the attack on social media show dead bodies on the beach, which has now been evacuated by the army….
Read the Original at Jihad Watch
Update: Death Toll Now at 16 Dead
The Iraqi Army defenders of Ramadi had held their dusty, stony ground for over a year and become familiar with the increasing adeptness of their opponents waving black flags. At first, these Iraqi Army units simply faced sprayed rifle fire, but then it was well-placed sniper rounds that forced these weary units to keep under cover whenever possible or risk a death that only their comrades — but never the victim — would hear. Tired, beleaguered, and cut off from reinforcements from Baghdad, they nonetheless continued to repulse attack after attack.
The last months witnessed a new weapon — car bombs. The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and its predecessor, al-Qaeda in Iraq, had long been the masters of using car bombs, but almost always against isolated checkpoints or undefended civilians. But an old tactic found a new situation. Car bombs, now parked against outer walls and driven by suicide bombers, were thrown against the Iraqi Army’s defenses in Ramadi.
The defenders were professional soldiers, and the last decade of war had taught them a great deal about the use of concrete barriers to defend against explosives of all kinds. So while the car bombs created a great deal of sound and fury, they availed little.
Then one bright day in May 2015, the defenders awoke to a new sound. Crawling forward slowly toward the heavily barricaded road was a bulldozer followed by several large cargo and dump trucks. The soldiers began to fire as the bulldozer entered the range of their machine guns and rifles, but it was armored by overlapping welded steel plates. The bullets bounced off the advancing earthmover. The defenders lacked one key weapon system — an anti-tank missile that could penetrate the armor of the tracked vehicle.
So while the soldiers kept up a steady volume of fire, they were helpless as the dozer began to remove the concrete barriers that blocked the road between their positions and the row of large armored trucks. One layer of concrete was removed after another until the road was clear.
And so the trucks begin to pour through. While creating vehicle-borne bombs is an ISIL specialty, the technology is actually remarkably simple, as each truck carried in its five-ton bed the same basic formula used two decades ago by Timothy McVeigh at Oklahoma City — ammonium nitrate fertilizer soaked in gasoline. As each truck closed on the defenses, its suicide bomber detonated the payload, shocking beyond reason those who were not killed outright. As truck after truck delivered its lethal payload, black-clad fighters poured from behind the trucks to exploit the newly created hole in the defenses. The survivors fell back and tried to maintain some semblance of order, but it was far too late to have any hope of saving this day. Ramadi had fallen.
The explosion of ISIL onto the international scene in June 2014 informed the world that a new type of force had arrived. In some ways, this should have been less of a surprise. ISIL had seized Fallujah the previous January, and there were also several clear precursors of this type of force. The Israelis had experienced a near-defeat in their fightagainst the non-state actor Hezbollah years earlier. And only a month after the fall of Mosul, Russian-backed separatist forces in Ukraine would shoot down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.
None of these actors — ISIL, Hezbollah, or the Ukrainian separatists — can be classified as traditional insurgent groups, guerrillas, or terrorists. All three groups possess capabilities that take them beyond more familiar non-state actors without qualifying them as full-fledged armies. Whether the bulldozers and social media savvy of ISIL, the missiles and electronic warfare of Hezbollah, or the high-altitude air defense of the Ukrainian rebels, all these forces have deployed capabilities traditionally associated with nation-states. The hybrid warriors have merged these capabilities with traditional insurgent tactics in their fight against nation-state forces.
While the debate rages on about the utility of the concepts of “hybrid warfare” and “gray zone conflict,” this article is not about these debates. This article is agnostic as to whether these types of warfare are best called “hybrid wars” or “political warfare.” It is similarly agnostic as to whether the “gray zone” concept is “hopelessly muddled “or “real and identifiable.” These debates, while important, are not what this piece attempts to settle. Rather than discuss the strategies and operations conducted in these ambiguous physical and legal spaces, this paper is concerned with the new actors emerging in said spaces. This essay maintains that there is something interesting and new occurring, as it relates to the actors operating in this space. While calling them “hybrid warriors” when the larger concept of “hybrid warfare” is still deeply contested may be linguistically problematic, there is no necessary linkage between the terms. That these fighters are a “hybrid” of insurgent and state-sponsored strains seems very clear, and therefore appropriate, regardless of distinct and separate debates over the characteristics of the environment.
Hybrid warriors are new (or at least new to us). These non-state hybrid warriors have adopted significant capabilities of an industrial or post-industrial nation-state army that allow them to contest the security forces of nation-states with varying degrees of success. Retaining ties to the population and a devotion to the “propaganda of the deed” that characterizes their insurgent and terrorist cousins, these non-state hybrid warriors present a challenge unfamiliar to most modern security analysts (though those who fought against either America’s 19th-century native tribes or the medieval Knights Templar, might see similarities).
Hybrid warriors specialize in the ambiguity of the “gray zone,” a term this essay will continue to use despite its definitional issues. While they can both administer territory (at the low end of the spectrum) and fight conventional war (at the high end), it is in the spaces in between that they truly excel. Girded by their relative safety from police forces, immunity from international norms (characteristic of all places where the state and rule of law are weak), and the active or passive support of the population, these hybrid warriors enjoy a low degree of risk, at least when compared to open warfare against Western interests. Within their sanctuaries — so long as they survive the occasional airstrike or commando raid — hybrid warriors face few security concerns, save when local armies probe the boundaries of their loosely controlled terrain. And yet — as the United States clearly learned on 9/11 — non-state groups possess a new ability to launch attacks against the integrated state system. These hybrid warriors live among the insurgents and counter-insurgents, terrorists and counter-terrorists, spies, saboteurs, propagandists, organized criminals, and money launderers — but while they may participate in any number of these activities, they are not limited by them.
Read the Remainder at War on the Rocks