Boko Haram (Analysis by Randy Cotten)

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Group Name: Boko Haram

Principal ideology: Takfiri Salifi Jihadist

Area of Operation: Primarily Nigeria

Leadership: Abubakar Shekau

Affiliated groups: al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, al-Qaeda core, al-Shabab, and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Principal enemy: Nigerian government

Tactics: Insurgent but also using terror tactics in the area of operations

Boko Haram (roughly translated as, “Western education is forbidden”) is the colloquial name for Jama’at Ahl al-Sunna li al-Da’awat wa al-Jihad (translated as, “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”), an Islamist terrorist organization based out of northern Nigeria.[1] On November 13, 2013, Boko Haram was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. Department of State following “indiscriminate attacks in Benisheikh, Nigeria in September 2013 that killed more than 160 innocent civilians”.[2] While the organization was originally established as a small, local group with ostensibly peaceful motives, it has transformed into a major threat in Nigeria with ties to other terrorist organizations including al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al-Qaeda core, and al-Shabab.[3] In March 2015, a spokesman of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) formally accepted the bay`a, or pledge of loyalty, of Boko Haram’s current leader to ISIL’s Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.[4]



Lashkar-e-Taiba (Analysis by Michael Sedam)

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Group Name: Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT – the army of the pure)

Principal ideology: Ahl-e-Hadith (Closely related to Wahabbism)

Area of Operation: Kashmir Region between Pakistan and India

Leadership: Hafiz Muhammad Saeed (Notable is Saeed’s relationship with Abdullah Azzam, who was Osama Bin Laden’s mentor)

Affiliated groups: al-Qaeda Central and affiliates

Principal enemy: India

Tactics: Insurgent – Small teams of operatives

Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT – the army of the pure) may be best known for the coordinated attack on Mumbai, India on November 26, 2008.[1] Lashkar-e-Taiba is a collective group where members and supporters share a vision that allows LeT to further its goals. The purpose of this paper is to analyze LeT as a collective. The analysis will generalize the existence of LeT as a group focused on conflict with India over the geographic area of Kashmir. The group’s interest in Kashmir is shared with Pakistan, which results in a symbiotic relationship between LeT and Pakistan. In addition to the shared goal of removing India from Kashmir, services provided by the LeT gains additional support for the LeT including recruits, finances, and political support. Finally, the role of LeT in providing members with purpose and respect, and the importance of individuals gaining esteem from the group adds to the understanding of LeT. When interconnected, these markers help to decipher LeT as a group seeking geographic, financial, and social capital.



Lashkar-e-Taiba (Analysis by Eric Saylors)

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Group Name: Lashkar-e-Taiba

Principal Ideology: Muslim

Area of Operation: Pakistan, India, Afghanistan

Leadership: Pakistan’s intelligence (ISI)

Affiliated Groups: Al-Qaeda and ISI

Principal Enemy: India

Tactics: Asymmetric warfare

Lashkar-e-Taiba(LeT), or literarily “The army of God” is a sub-national politically violent (SPV) group motivated by the integration of Kashmir with Pakistan.[1] LeT is considered one of the most capable, experienced, funded and politically backed SPV groups in the world, receiving open support from the state of Pakistan.[2] The LeT is most commonly recognized for the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Following the Mumbai attacks, there was concern that the United States could be at risk for a similar attack, and although the LeT is entirely capable of deploying such an attack in the United States, it is unlikely.[3] Analysis of the LeT using Social Identity Theory (SIT)[4] can provide us with a framework to understand why they operate in a specific region, why they deploy distinctive tactics, why they are so resilient, the type of threat they pose to the US, and why the LeT should be monitored closely.



Boko Haram (Analysis by Randall DeGering)

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Principal Ideology: Wahhabi Sunni, later Salafist-jihadi

Area of Operation: Northeastern Nigeria

Leadership: Abubakar Shehau

Affiliated Groups: Pledged allegiance to ISIL, formerly al-Qaeda, and Taliban

Principal Enemy: Nigerian government

Tactics: Bombings, drive-by shootings, kidnappings against politicians, religious leaders, military forces, civilian targets

Boko Haram, roughly meaning “western education is forbidden[1]” in the Hausan language and is a militant Islamic sect based in northeastern sector of Nigeria. Founded in 2002, the group believes corrupt, false Muslims have seized politics in northern Nigeria, and vows to wage a war against them to create a “pure” Islamic state ruled by shari’a law.[2]

Conflicts in Nigeria often appear to be driven by religious tensions between the politically powerful and wealthy southern Christian population and the poor, isolated northern Muslims. Some have suggested the primary cause of conflict is politics—specifically, control of government patronage. When violence erupts, the cause is usually one political group attempting to assert control over other groups.[3] Hence, this struggle can be viewed as continuous challenge/response cycles in which Boko Haram challenges the legitimacy of President Goodluck Jonathan’s government, forcing it to either respond to the group’s armed attacks or lose credibility with its own constituency.[4]

The group’s original leader, the charismatic Mohammed Yusuf, successfully attracted followers from unemployed youth by speaking out against police and political corruption. Some have suggested group membership was driven by the frustration with state corruption and the social malaise of poverty and unemployment. Boko Haram constructed a “state within a state,” offering welfare handouts, food, and shelter. Many followers were refugees from wars in nearby Chad, as well as jobless Nigerian youths.[5]