The Islamic State's West Africa Province

By Raymond Gilpin

Dr. Raymond Gilpin is the Dean of Academic Affairs for the Africa Center for Strategic Studies at National Defense University. He was formerly the director of the Center for Sustainable Economies at the United States Institute of Peace.  Gilpin has also served as academic chair for defense economics at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, director for international programs at Intellibridge Corporation (now part of Eurasia Group), senior economist at the African Development Bank Group, research director at the Central Bank of Sierra Leone, and economist at the World Bank.

A key moment on the Boko Haram timeline occurred in March 2015, when the group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS). According to Dr. Raymond Gilpin, Dean of Academic Affairs for the Africa Center for Strategic Studies at National Defense University, both groups felt that they “could gain from the publicity” of the announcement. Since then, Boko Haram seems to have strengthened its ties to ISIS, as the group’s “sub-regional ambitions intensified after the pledge,” explains Gilpin. Further, ISIS’ appointment of a new Boko Haram leader “suggests that they might have plans to consolidate their outreach in this part of the world,” Gilpin said in an interview with The Cipher Brief.

The Cipher Brief: How has Boko Haram evolved since it pledged allegiance to ISIS in March 2015? Has it changed how the U.S. and Nigeria address the threat?

“The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

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