NATO Weapons Helped Make Boko Haram World’s Deadliest Terror Group
The Nigerian Boko Haram terrorist group was responsible for 6,644 deaths in 2014, compared to 6,073 attributed to ISIS, making it the deadliest terrorist group in the world last year. And, in what has become a disturbingly familiar pattern in the rise of terrorist organizations, Boko Haram’s growing strength is a direct consequence of NATO’s war on Libya.
This information about the relative deadliness of Boko Haram and ISIS was part of a report recently released by Global Terrorism Index, a project of the Sydney, Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). The results were cited in an article by freelance writer Dan Glazebrook originally published by RT on November 27 and reprinted with permission the next day by the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.
In his article, Glazebrook observed that when Boko Haram began its terrorist operations in 2009 (the group was founded in 2002) it had very little in the way of sophisticated arms. Glazebrook quoted from a 2014 article by Peter Weber in The Week that traced the improvement in Boko Haram’s weaponry, which had “shifted from relatively cheap AK-47s in the early days of its post-2009 embrace of violence to desert-ready combat vehicles and anti-aircraft/ anti-tank guns.”
As for how Boko Haram’s weapons cache had increased so dramatically, Glazebrook wrote:
This dramatic turnaround in the group’s access to materiel was the direct result of NATO’s war on Libya. A UN report published in early 2012 warned that “large quantities of weapons and ammunition from Libyan stockpiles were smuggled into the Sahel region,” including “rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns with anti-aircraft visors, automatic rifles, ammunition, grenades, explosives (Semtex), and light anti-aircraft artillery (light caliber bi-tubes) mounted on vehicles,” and probably also more advanced weapons such as surface-to-air missiles and MANPADS (man-portable air-defense systems).
NATO had effectively turned over the entire armory of an advanced industrial state to the region’s most sectarian militias: groups such as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and Boko Haram.
In a May 2014 article cited by Glazebrook, Brendan O’Neil, the editor of British Internet magazine Spiked, documented how the West’s war on Libya aided the Boko Haram terrorists. Just the previous month, Boko Haram terrorists had kidnapped 329 schoolgirls in Borno State, in far northeastern Nigeria, which is a stronghold of Boko Haram. Noting that both President Obama and British Prime Minster David Cameron had been photographed holding up placards replicating the tweeted message “#Bring Back Our Girls,” O’Neil employed a bit of sarcasm to expose the hypocrisy of such misplaced sentiments:
Now all we need is for [former French President] Nicolas Sarkozy to come out of retirement and do likewise and then all of the key invaders of Libya in 2011 will have registered their watery-eyed angst with Boko Haram, the Nigeria-based Islamist group that kidnapped 276 girls [53 had escaped] from a school in Chibok in north-east Nigeria, the “our girls” referred to in that ubiquitous hashtag. Which would be profoundly ironic given that nothing boosted Boko Haram’s fortunes so much as the West’s assault on Libya in 2011….
Boko Haram has found itself a beneficiary of the terrible fallout from the West’s attack on Libya in 2011. That fallout both created a new war zone, in Mali, in which Nigerian Islamists trained and fought, and it also leaked weapons across the increasingly failed-state territories of West Africa, some of which have ended up in the hands of Boko Haram.
If one were to substitute “ISIS” for “Boko Haram,” “Iraq” for “Libya,” and “2003” for “2011” in the above quote, it would spotlight the frighteningly similar scenario that has repeated itself as the United States and its NATO allies have conducted multiple encores of their interventionist road show. Observe: “ISIS has found itself a beneficiary of the terrible fallout from the West’s attack on Iraq in 2003.”
Just as the NATO invasion of Libya has helped arm Boko Haram in
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