Nigerian Army Tries to Tie Boko Haram to al-Qaeda

Experts See Little Evidence to Support Accusation

While Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan attempted to downplay the seriousness of the recent attacks by Boko Haram, terming the group’s recent attacks a “temporary setback,” the Nigerian military appears keen to make them as big an international threat as possible, perhaps with an eye toward courting more international aid.

Boko Haram is al-Qaeda,” insisted top JTF official Lieutenant Colonel Hassan Mohammed, “I see perfect links. It cuts across boundaries. Al-Qaeda has no boundary, Boko Haram has no boundary. All terrorists.”

Putting aside the obvious logical fallacy, experts strongly disagree with the sentiment, saying there is no evidence Boko Haram has any designs on operations beyond Nigeria’s borders. A better analogy then might be the Libyan Islamist factions which, are suddenly being backed by NATO.

Boko Haram got its start as an anti-technology faction, armed with bows and arrows, which angrily rejected western education and mocked the notion that the world is round. The faction’s leadership and a number of members were massacred by the Nigerian military, and since then the group has become more aggressive, and adopted modern insurgent tactics like bombs and machine guns as an alternative to pointy sticks and arrows. The US has vowed to support Nigeria in fighting the faction, terming them “unreconcilable.”

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.