Monday, March 9, 2015

Terrorism’s New Tactic – The Press Release



Militants are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their use of disinformation, misinformation and propaganda as another tool of war in their attempt to intimate the global community and goad the democratic nations into reacting in non-democratic ways to ‘protect’ their citizenry. Just recently news reports indicated that Boko Haram, the militant group in Nigeria, has sworn an alliance with ISIS. No additional specifics were provided however just the mere mention of an alliance, if there is indeed one, stirs the worst nightmare scenario that ISIS’ capabilities are almost omnipotent. Already the Middle East and African continent have turned into a maelstrom in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Nigeria with many warring factions battling for control.

Nonetheless, even if s confirmed that there is an official alliance between ISIS and Boko Haram, it would be more of a paper tiger. As mentioned, albeit rather deeply, by several international experts in those news reports, Boko Haram is a Nigeria-specific militant group seeking to carve a caliphate in the northeastern region. The objective of ISIS is expansionist and seeks to conquer more territory in the Middle East across sovereign borders. However ISIS’ operational capability to continue this expansion has reached its zenith because of current limited resources.

Psychologically this press release gives the impression that ISIS is everywhere and that Boko Haram is far more dangerous that its actual capabilities.

Critical information that wasn’t mentioned in those articles was as follows:

ISIS


  1. ISIS is continues to be exceptionally well-funded despite some recent financial degradation by anti-ISIS forces and the west. The plunging oil prices and destruction or capture of several oilfields has reduced ISIS oil revenue from $1-$2 million daily to $300,000, still an impressive income.
  2. Funds from extortion and kidnappings have been reduced.
  3. According to the US State Department and other highly respected non-governmental sources indicate that ISIS has a financial ‘war chest’ of between $400 million and $500 million enough to continue recruiting and paying new fighters and purchasing arms and supplies.
  4. ISIS’ enemies are technologically formidable: the American-backed Iraqi army, Iranian-backed Shiite militias, and Kurdish forces the former receiving intense air support and satellite intel.


Boko Haram


  1. Boko Haram is operating on a shoestring budget using captured Nigerian army weapons and equipment to continue their fight. Unless they capture the oilfields in the south or ISIS provides them with generous funding and materiel, Boko Haram will remain merely a regional threat.
  2. There are few, if any, foreign fighters in their ranks, thus all the militants are regional.  Nonetheless their military force is not as homogeneous as it may appear.
  3. Boko Haram’s only enemy within Nigeria’s borders is the large yet feeble and vulnerable Nigerian army that is riddled with informants. The African coalition to combat Boko Haram has severe political fissures thus its effectiveness is only battle-specific.
  4. Essentially, with respect as a threatening terrorist group, Boko Haram, is nothing more than some run-of-the-mill watch company that wins a contract to have a well-known designer company stamp their logo on their watches. The performance of the watch remains the same yet its prestige is enhanced dramatically.


The more insidious component of this de facto militant press release in that western governments may use this as ‘proof’ that the terrorism threat has been elevated and that more draconian legal and law enforcement measures are required to protect its citizenry. In other words civil rights may be compromised even further even if there’s an attack by a lone wolf who claims allegiance to any of those groups and who is later to be found that he has no connection whatsoever.

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