Did U.S. War in Libya Boost Boko Haram in Nigeria?

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Did U.S. War in Libya Boost Boko Haram in Nigeria?

WASHINGTON - AJAMU BARAKA, ajamubaraka2 at gmail.com
Baraka is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies who is based in Colombia. He has written extensively on Africa and just wrote the piece “From Benghazi to Boko Haram: Why I support the Benghazi Inquiry,” which states: “Seemingly out of nowhere, Boko Haram burst into the awareness of people around the world as a shadowy group of Islamists with the ability to carry out audacious attacks that paralyzed the army of the most populous country in Africa. People now want to know the group’s origins, where they came from, why they are kidnapping girls and how they became such a powerful threat. All important questions — but questions that cannot be answered by just looking at the internal politics of Nigeria, as important as those are, because Boko Haram is incomprehensible when decontextualized from the destabilization, death and destruction unleashed across Africa from the Sahel into West Africa as a result of one historic event — the vicious NATO obliteration of the state of Libya.

“African Union Commission chief Jean Ping warned NATO, during its bombing campaign and arming of so-called rebel forces in Libya, that the weapons they provided the ‘rebels’ would end up in the hands of al Qaeda throughout Africa. He said, ‘Africa’s concern is that weapons that are delivered to one side or another … are already in the desert and will arm terrorists and fuel trafficking.’

“Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo expressed what many in Africa feared from the NATO attack on Libya: ‘We knew that at the end of the Libya operations, there would be fallouts. And the fallout would be where would all the weapons go? Where would be some of those who have been trained how to use weapons [and] how would they be accounted for? … Part of what is happening in Mali is part of the fallout from Libya, and we should not expect that Mali will be the last.’

“Reports from the United Nations [Reuters headline in 2012: "Arms from Libya Could Reach Boko Haram, al Qaeda: UN"], the Guardian newspaper and many other sources reveal how Boko Haram benefited from the destabilization of various countries across the Sahel following the Libya conflict, receiving arms and training from an emboldened al Qaeda and its Saudi backers. …

“We understand that there will be an attempt to keep the focus narrow. Members of both parties and everyone in the higher echelons of the military/intelligence community knew that the U.S. had aligned with groups in Eastern Libya that were known to be jihadists. The fact that both parties supported the NATO intervention knowing that jihadists affiliated with al Qaeda played a major part in the overthrow of Gaddafi and that the largest CIA station in North Africa was established in Benghazi where it provided arms and was used as staging ground for inserting jihadist’s forces into Syria, means that both parties share an interests in avoiding the serious legal and moral implications of U.S. actions in Libya. …

“And I am outraged knowing that U.S. policy-makers don’t give a damn about the school girls in Nigeria because their real objective is to use the threat of Boko Haram in the Northern part of the country to justify the real goal of occupying the oil fields in the South and to block the Chinese in Nigeria.”

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