Nigeria’s Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau speaking to the camera. Shekau has allegedly made a formal allegiance to the Islamic State on Saturday, March 7, 2015, in an Arabic audio message with English subtitles and was posted on Twitter, according to the SITE Intelligence monitoring service. Photo: AP
(TFC) – Via a message released on Twitter, the Boko Haram have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and called on other extremists to do the same. Western media is carrying the story as if it were a major development in the war against Islamic extremism and cause for great alarm.
The Boko Haram is the militant group in Nigeria that made headlines after abducting scores of schoolgirls last year. Prior to that, outside of Nigeria, the group was relatively unheard of. Even though it’s been waging an insurgency in Nigeria for five years, the group has been unable to make any substantial gains. The Boko Haram tried to ally itself with Al-Qaeda, but was never truly an affiliated group even though the Boko Haram had its soldiers fight alongside the Al-Qaeda linked troops in Mali a couple of years ago.
Al-Qaeda never formally linked with the Boko Haram because the Boko Haram is a relatively amateurish group with little experience and little knowledge of Islamic dogma. The fact is that the Boko Haram isn’t a true Islamist organization. The organization’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, is just another petty African warlord looking to carve out a kingdom for himself and using Islam as a method of recruitment.
The timing of the pledge is noteworthy. Chad, Nigeria, Niger, Benin, and Cameroon have put together a special multinational force numbering around 10,000 to assault the Boko Haram. The Boko Haram’s response was to fall back to the city of Gwoza in northeast Nigeria and to fortify the routes leading into the city with landmines. This wasn’t a pledge of allegiance. This was a call for help. The Boko Haram have, in essence, fallen back to the Alamo and are waiting for reinforcements.
Just like the Alamo, those reinforcements won’t be coming. To put it bluntly, the Kurds have been stomping Islamic State forces into the ground on the northern front, even managing to sever the routes from Syria into Iraq, effectively dividing the self-proclaimed Caliphate. The Shia fighters under Iranian leadership are trouncing IS forces in small scale engagements in the east.
Hezbollah has been conducting small harassment operations in the southwestern portion of the Caliphate, while keeping one of the largest non-national militaries on Earth poised to strike. The war isn’t over, but the Islamic State is in no position to aid the Boko Haram. This is yet another example of the media repeating government talking points without any independent verification of facts.