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June 8, 2006

Terrorism and Counterterrorism
Profile: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

A profile of the terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the man responsible for coordinating suicide bombings in Amman and Madrid, multiple attacks on Iraqi Shiites and Shiite mosques, and the highly-public…

October 28, 2019

Islamic State
Islamic State Leader’s Death Does Little to Ease Syria Concerns

A U.S. military operation that eliminated Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is welcome but fails to allay worries about the security vacuum caused by the removal of U.S. troops from northern …

June 13, 2019

Boko Haram
New Audio Offers Potential Window Into ISWA Decision-Making

Abdulbasit Kassim, leading Boko Haram scholar, recently discovered a thirty-eight-minute recording of a purported Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) communique. I translated it from the original Kanuri. It provides a particular version and explanation of ISWA's immediate history, and sheds light on why the group executed Mamman Nur, one of the Boko Haram’s founding fathers and an influential ideologue, its internal decision-making, and ISWA’s relationship with the Islamic State (IS). It is not clear, however, the extent to which what is described in the audio is true to what actually happened. 

Islamic-State-Al-Baghdadi-West-Africa-ISWA

May 24, 2019

Islamic State
Where Exactly is the Islamic State in West Africa?

The Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) claimed a May 16 attack near Tongo Tongo, Niger, killing more than 20 soldiers not far from the Malian border. In March it issued a photo of its members in Burkina Faso and in April it claimed an attack on a militia in Mali. But, it is not clear that the ISWA group based primarily in Nigeria is behind those attacks. 

Cameroon-Boko-Haram-Islamic-State-Terrorism-West-Africa

April 17, 2019

Nigeria
Boko Haram Evolves and Persists in Northeast Nigeria

The Shekau and al-Barnawi factions of Boko Haram continue to evolve and even grow. Changes in leadership and tactics raise questions about the extent of their affiliation with IS and overall stability, but they also indicate that the movement is far from defeated.

Niger-Diffa-Boko-Haram

March 12, 2019

Nigeria
Suspected Leadership Changes to IS-Backed Boko Haram Faction Continue

In September 2018, there were reports that Nur was murdered by his own faction because he was too “soft”, that he misappropriated ransom money, and even that he might have been open to a dialogue with the Nigerian government. In late February 2018, ISWA reportedly replaced al-Barnawi with Abu Abdullah Ibn Umar al-Barnawi.

Nigeria-Boko-Haram-Attack-Funeral

November 30, 2018

Niger
Recent Boko Haram Attacks Along Nigeria-Niger Border

Niger officials have announced that Boko Haram kidnapped eighteen girls from two villages, Blaharde and Bague, on November 24. The Blaharde and Bague kidnapping followed the November 22 killing of seven employees of the French drilling company Foraco at the village of Toumour, Niger.

Niger-Nigeria-Boko-Haram-Diffa-Border

August 9, 2018

Nigeria
Boko Haram Faction Releases Book on History and Ideology

The book likely represents the public views of one of Yusuf’s sons and the current ISWAP leader, Abu Musab al-Barnawi, who became very close to Abubakar Shekau after the former’s father was killed in 2009.

Nigeria-Boko-Haram-Damasak-Mosque

August 8, 2018

Nigeria
Nigeria’s Battle With Boko Haram

Boko Haram, known for mass kidnappings, bombings, and other acts of terrorism, remains an enduring threat to northern Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin.

A girl watches other children on a merry-go-round in an abandoned amusement park in Maiduguri, Nigeria.

July 26, 2018

Nigeria
Up-Armored SVBIEDs Make Their Way to Nigeria

They are used to carry out suicide attacks on Nigerian troops in the bush during battles. Up-armored SVBIEDs are not like car bombs, which are designed to avoid detection in urban environments. Rather, up-armored SVBIEDs appear obviously to be weaponized, but in the bush they still have some camouflage.

Up-Armored-SVBIEDs-ISIS-Iraq