Diminished at Home, Durable Boko Haram May Go Global

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Bottom Line: Terrorist group Boko Haram has lost most of the territory it claimed as a “caliphate” within Nigeria back in 2015. But the group still strikes government officials, troops and civilians from its few remaining safe havens in the northeast of the country, and could be positioning itself to take its terrorism global. The group’s closer alignment with international terrorist organizations, such as ISIS in Iraq and Syria and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) to the north, suggest that Boko Haram is looking to internationalize its attacks by targeting Western interests in the region. While the Nigerian military may still be able to make headway in ejecting Boko Haram from the last of its strongholds, the state will continue to struggle to control the country’s vast northeast territory.

Background: Boko Haram, which roughly translates to “Western education is a sin,” rallies against what it considers the source of Nigeria’s endemic corruption—Western influence and the tools of its proliferation, particularly education. Boko Haram argues the only way to remedy the situation is through the establishment of Islamic governance with strict adherence to sharia law in northern Nigeria, home to the majority of the country’s Muslim population.

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