Defeating Boko Haram

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On March 7, 2015, Boko Haram pledged allegiance to ISIS.  Nearly a year later, has either of these terrorist groups gained from this partnership?

For ISIS, the answer is undoubtedly yes.  Expanding its reach helps ISIS demonstrate in real terms that it is achieving its goal of creating a caliphate under Sharia law through its more than 40 affiliates. ISIS can claim responsibility for Boko Haram’s attacks, thereby bolstering its image as a growing, ruthless global threat.  Similarly, Islamists do not need to travel to the Middle East to engage in jihad, but rather can stay in Western Africa to be part of the movement. It does not hurt that Boko Haram, which has renamed itself “the Islamic State’s West Africa Province,” was the world’s deadliest terrorist organization in 2014, killing 6,644 individuals, compared with ISIS’ 6,073.  Together, the two groups were responsible for 51 percent of deaths from claimed terrorist attacks. 

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