Monday, 10 August 2015


An Analysis Of Implications Of Boko Haram's Pledge of Allegiance to ISIS:


The radical and violent Islamic group in Nigeria, Boko Haram, has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Boko Haram has been waging a violent and destructive war against the Nigerian state since the year 2009. Thousands of innocent Nigerians have lost their precious lives to the radical Islamic sect's campaign of mayhem, violence and destruction since 2009. In addiction, property worth billions of Naira have been destroyed by the sect.

Apart from the Nigerian Boko Haram, there are other radical terror groups in different parts of the world. They include Al-Quada, ISIS, Taliban, Al-Shabab and so on. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria appears to be the most radical and most violent among the various terror groups listed above. More so, ISIS controls a verse area of territories in Syria and Iraq which it refers to as its Caliphate and is estimated to have over 20, 000 strong fighters and continues to recruit new fighters with a view to boosting the size of its forces for further conquest and annexation of more territories for the purpose of expansion of its Caliphate. The ISIS Caliphate is headed by a Caliph by name Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He is the spiritual and political head of the ISIS Caliphate.

The Nigerian Boko Haram group pledged allegiance to ISIS on Saturday 7th March, 2015. In a video released by the Boko Haram, its leader, Abubakar Shekau, hailed ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as ''Caliph'' and declared: ''We announce our allegiance to the Caliph... and we hear and obey in times of difficulty and prosperity''.

Many local and international observers and analysts are examining the implications of Shakau's action. The remaining part of this article takes a look at the implications of Boko Haram's pledge of allegiance to ISIS.

It is trite to note that Boko Haram and other Islamic terror groups the world over are fighting for a similar cause. The major aim of these groups is to revive and re-establish the defunct and moribund Caliphate system of government. The Caliphate system of government existed from the later part of the 7th century AD to the second decade of the 20th century, ending with the fall of the Ottoman Empire, at the end of World War 1 in 1919. It is same time as the Islamic system of government; and the practice of Sharia is at the heart of this system of government.

The era of the Caliphate was considered the 'glorious' days of Islam. There existed various Caliphates in history. they include the Omayyad, the Ayyubid, the Ottoman and so on. The Ottoman was the last Islamic Caliphate or empire. A major characteristic of the caliphate system of government is that it is anchored on the values of Islam as a way of life.                                                                                  

The first major implication of Boko Haram's pledge of allegiance to ISIS is that it formally marks the former's identification with the latter as a group that is fighting for same cause and has same aims and objectives. The two groups are devoted to the revival and re-establishment of the defunct or moribund Islamic Theocracy or Caliphate system of government, in which the practice and application of Sharia law in the affairs of state vis-a-vis the citizens is the order of the day. It is obvious that these sects are not happy with the current structure and organization of the international political system, in view of the fact that is dominated and dictated by the West and their allies. Boko Haram, ISIS and similar groups have therefore taken to participating in the international political system as non-state actors, in practical terms at least, since the 911 attacks on the United States, by late Osama Bin Laden Al-Qaeda. They are not happy with democracy, globalization and the influences of the West on the Islamic world. They perceive the West as corrupting the Islamic world, and therefore, see themselves as radical jihadists or armies defending the Islamic world from the reach and influences of the liberal West. A very critical mind, would not doubt, agree that these terror groups have huge influence on the course and direction of 21st century global politics and diplomacy.

Furthermore, by pledging allegiance to ISIS, Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau sees ISIS leader as a role model in the global Jihad movement and struggle aimed at entrenching radical Islam in the world. In Shekau's words: ''We announce our allegiance to the Caliph... and will hear and obey in times of difficulty and prosperity''. Do take note of 'HEAR' and 'OBEY'. By these two words, Shekau meant that Boko Haram would take instructions from the ISIS leader as well as obey his instructions. This further implies that Boko Haram is now an appendage or offshoot of the ISIS Caliphate in West Africa, at least, in theory, if not in practical terms.

A very dangerous implication of Boko Haram's pledge of allegiance to ISIS is the possibility of attracting foreign fighters from the Islamic world into Nigeria to fight for the Nigerian terror group. By identifying with ISIS, Boko Haram may have succeeded in further internationalizing their struggle, thereby making it more appealing to persons in other countries who are interested in what they claim to be fighting for.

The recent pledge of allegiance by Boko Haram to ISIS may also be a sign of weakness on the part of the former. Before now, Boko Haram had carved out a large area of territories said to be over 20,000 square kilometers in size. They declared this area as Caliphate, with its capital at Gwoza, a town in Bornu State and Shekau as the Caliph or head of the Caliphate. However, recent military setbacks and losses suffered by Boko Haram in the hands of the coalition forces from Nigeria and her neighbors- Chad, Niger and Cameroon, may have inadvertently forced the Nigerian terror group to align with ISIS with a view to attracting human, material, moral and financial support from the latter. However, whether Boko Haram's pledge of allegiance to ISIS would succeed in bringing support from ISIS remains uncertain and debatable in view of the consideration that ISIS itself is facing serious bombardments from the US and her allies in the Middle East. More so, the US is raising ground forces from Iraq to face ISIS and defeat it once and for all. It is also good news that some countries are now beginning to nurse  the idea of putting together ground forces to defeat ISIS.

In conclusion, the pledge of allegiance by Boko Haram terrorist group to ISIS presents a golden opportunity to Nigeria and her neighbors facing the sect's  threat to increase the temple of war against the terror group. There is no doubt that the coming together of the militaries of Nigeria and her neighbors is degrading and destroying Boko Haram's military might. This explains why the terror group is aligning with ISIS. For me, it is a last minute desperate attempt to curry support from ISIS, considered by Boko Haram to be a very 'POWERFUL' and 'MIGHTY' 'FORCE' to run to in a time of an impending fall. Nigeria and her neighbors involved in the fight against the terror group MUST bring out all their arsenals to defeat Boko Haram now. The group should not be allowed to regroup or reinforce its depleting forces. There is also the need to increase intelligence gathering and maintain tighter control on the international borders of countries threatened by Boko Haram. Now is the best of times to defeat the radical terror group and restore lasting peace and order to the countries affected by the monster called 'Boko Haram'.

This article was written on March 21, 2015.

1 comment:

frank wash said...

I wrote this article on 21 March, and published it on my Facebook page. That was a few days after Boko Haram's declaration of allegiance to ISIS.