from Africa in Transition

Boko Haram, International Terrorism, and the Obama Administration

September 12, 2011

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Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

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Terrorism and Counterterrorism

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People gather to pray near a coffin at the grave site of one the victims of last Friday's U.N headquaters bomb attack, in Gwanrinpa district in Nigeria's capital Abuja September 1, 2011. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

I have a piece today on ForeignAffairs.com where I discuss Boko Haram, that shadowy Islamic terrorist group based in northern Nigeria that has claimed responsibility for the UN headquarters bombing in Abuja two weeks ago. As I’ve argued in previous blog posts, a security centric solution, particularly when implemented by a poorly trained and trigger happy military and police insensitive to civilians, does not address the conditions that motivate Boko Haram. Instead, political solutions that reduce northern alienation are needed. The United States should encourage the Nigerian government to reach out to the North while deepening its own ties to the North by means such as opening a consulate in Kano.

Read the whole oped here.

In another recent oped, Nigeria expert Jean Herskovits raises questions about the credibility of Boko Haram’s claim of responsibility for the bombing and argues that close association with the Jonathan administration could actually lead to stronger ties between Boko Haram and international terrorist groups, which are currently weak at most. Read her oped here.

More indepth background on Boko Haram can be found via CFR  here and the International Crisis Group here.

H/T to Asch Harwood.

More on:

Nigeria

Terrorism and Counterterrorism

Wars and Conflict

International Organizations

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