22-Jan-12 World View: Terrorist Boko Haram Bloodbath in Northern Nigeria

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

  • Investor representative walks out of Greece default talks
  • Mauldin on Greece and Europe: Staring into the Abyss
  • Hundreds of people killed by Boka Haram attack in northern Nigeria
  • Escape of Boko Haram leader suggests police complicity with terror group
  • Relationship of Boko Haram to other al-Qaeda linked groups

Investor representative walks out of Greece default talks

Charles Dallara on Friday (France24)
Charles Dallara on Friday (France24)

Monday is supposed to be the latest deadline for an agreement on the Private Sector Involvement plan (PSI+), which will determine how much money private investors will get when Greece goes into default on March 20. However, Charles Dallara, the representative of the private investors, walked out on the negotiations on Saturday, saying that he would be available by telephone. The private investors are trying to get as much money as possible, and reports indicate that the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank aren’t happy about discussions that would pay the private investors too much. According to an unnamed source, “Discussions will continue over the phone this weekend but an agreement is unlikely before next week, if there is an agreement at all. Things are complicated, we are getting closer on the numbers but there is still quite some work ahead.” Kathimerini and Reuters

Mauldin on Greece and Europe: Staring into the Abyss

I used to make fun of John Mauldin for his ridiculously Pollyanna-ish newsletters, written to avoid turning off his investor clients who pay him fees. But Mauldin has really come around. His latest newsletter is the best summary of the situation in Greece and Europe that I’ve seen. He discusses all the options very clearly and in detail shows why each one leads to disaster. If you have a half hour available, it’s well worth the time reading it.

The fact that Mauldin is writing about these things shows how much the common outlook has changed. There was a time not long ago when it violated CNBC’s ridiculous policy to not allow anyone to utter the word “Depression” on the air, since that would piss off financial institution advertisers. Those times are gone.

The only thing wrong with the newsletter is that he ends with a list of “solutions” to the problem which are fatuous and ridiculous. After his lengthy description of the problems, he can’t possibly believe that this new set of Pollyanna-ish ideas are relevant. As I’ve said many, many times, there is no solution. No solution exists. All they can do is postpone the disaster a little longer, but things seem to be quickening now, and it’s going to be very hard to kick the can down the road past March 20th. John Mauldin

Hundreds of people killed by Boka Haram attack in northern Nigeria

Terrorist bloodbath in Kano, Nigeria
Terrorist bloodbath in Kano, Nigeria

In the worst bloodbath in some time, about 150 people were killed and hundred injured in a series of coordinated bombing attacks across the city of Kano in northern Nigeria, flooding and overwhelming hospitals, and sending the region into chaos. The al-Qaeda linked terrorist group Boko Haram took responsibility for the series of explosions that ripped apart police buildings, passport offices and immigration centers around the city. The group claims to want to turn Nigeria into a harshly Islamic state, in a country which is mostly Muslim in the north and mostly Christian in the south. BBC

Escape of Boko Haram leader suggests police complicity with terror group

Kabiru Sokoto
Kabiru Sokoto

Kabiru Sokoto, the number two man in the Boko Haram hierarchy, was arrested two weeks ago and put into prison. Within 48 hours, he “miraculously” escaped, when a five-man police team took him out of prison and traveled to his home to search it. There, the police team was overpowered by Boko Haram militants, and Sokoto escaped. No credible explanation has been provided for why Sokoto was required to accompany the police search team, and no credible explanation has been provided for why the the police team was overpowered apparently without a fight. It’s widely believed that the police are infiltrated by Boko Haram, and that the home visit was a pre-planned charade to free Sokoto. The Nation (Nigeria)

Relationship of Boko Haram to other al-Qaeda linked groups

Boko Haram is perhaps the newest of the al-Qaeda linked groups to gain international attention. The major ones are:

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), headquartered in Yemen. This is the one that has repeatedly posed a direct threat to American homeland security, even more so now than the al-Qaeda core group in Pakistan. The group has inherited al Qaeda core’s obsession with the United States, and this obsession has been given operational support by a steady flow of young Western recruits, drawn in part by the groups English-language media campaign.
  • Al-Shabaab in Somalia has strong links with the al-Qaeda core and with AQAP, but so far not demonstrated the same eagerness to launch attacks directly against the American homeland or in Europe. Similar to AQAP, al Shabaab has some leaders who have been quite close to al Qaeda core. The majority of its leadership has emerged from the long-standing inter-tribal conflicts that have dominated Somalia’s recent history. It has also been something of a draw for young Westerners seeking the thrill of fighting on a jihadist battlefield, and some of these young people have tried to launch attacks back home – though not at the direction of Shabaab.
  • Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is a north African terrorist group, also with direct historical ties to the al-Qaeda core, as an evolution of a group that was born from the community of Algerians who had served in Afghanistan against the Soviets. Individuals linked to previous iterations of the group have been involved in attacks in France and individuals linked to the group continue to be found in Europe. But it has been a long time since it launched an attack, or was linked to an attack, in Europe. Instead, there has been a steady patter of attacks against north African security forces and repeated kidnappings for ransom of Westerners traveling around the region – making the group seem more of a regional criminal-terrorist network that international terrorist organization.

Boko Haram has evolved differently. There’s no evidence of direct contacts with al-Qaeda core, meaning that it is unlikely to have directly inherited al-Qaeda’s obsession with attacking America. Instead, it seems to have developed out of the long-standing tribal and north-south tensions in Nigeria. It has been cloaking itself in an anti-western rhetoric – its name translates as “western education is forbidden” – and made contact with other regional Islamist groups that shout loudly about global jihad, but its focus remains the sharia-ization of Nigeria. CNN