Gwynne Dyer: Libya and Nigeria see rise of two new “Islamic States”

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      A coalition of imams and organizations representing British Muslims has written Prime Minister David Cameron asking him to stop using the phrase “Islamic State” when talking about the new country carved out of Iraq and Syria by Islamist terrorists.

      That’s what Abu Baqr al Baghdadi, who has proclaimed himself “the caliph of all Muslims and the prince of the believers,” calls his newly conquered territory, but it’s giving ordinary Muslims a bad name.

      The British Muslim leaders declared that “the media, civic society and governments should refuse to legitimize these ludicrous caliphate fantasies by accepting or propagating this name. We propose that “UnIslamic State” (UIS) could be an accurate and fair alternate name to describe this group and its agenda—and we will begin to call it that.”

      Good luck with that.

      But meanwhile two more “UnIslamic States” are being created right now, on Libyan and Nigerian territory: same black flags, same fanaticism and cruelty, even the same ski masks. (It’s a fashion statement.)

      The city of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state in northeastern Nigeria, has more than two million people. It is surrounded by the forces of Boko Haram—the name roughly translates as “Western education is forbidden”—and most of the rest of Borno has already fallen under their rule.

      In fact, the whole north-eastern corner of Nigeria is passing out of the government’s control.

      “At this very moment,” Alhaji Baba Ahmad Jidda, the secretary to the Borno state government, told the Independent newspaper last week, “most parts of Borno state are being occupied by Boko Haram insurgents. Government presence and administration is minimal, with economic, commercial and social services totally subdued. Schools and clinics remain closed.”

      Boko Haram’s ultimate goal was the imposition of an Islamic state in Nigeria ever since it began active operations in 2009. It was in touch with al-Qaeda from the start, and later with the jihadi groups in Syria that subsequently turned into ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and finally into the “Islamic State” that now spans those two countries.

      Only the northern half of Nigeria’s population is Muslim, so that was where Boko Haram’s murders and abductions were concentrated, although it also carried out terrorist bombings in the Christian parts of the country. 3,600 people were killed in these attacks in the four years to 2013, but then there was a major acceleration: 2,000 more people have been killed in just the first half of this year.

      From about mid-July, Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau also changed tactics: instead of hit-and-run raids, he started to take and hold territory. In August, after his fighters captured the town of Gwoza in Borno, he released a video declaring that the area was “now part of the Islamic Caliphate.” He now rules over about three million people in northeastern Nigeria and neighbouring Cameroon.

      The Nigerian army rarely stands up to Boko Haram’s fighters. Like the Iraqi army, which ran from far smaller numbers of ISIS troops, it is corrupt and badly equipped, but it is also deeply penetrated by Boko Haram sympathizers: last June, 15 senior military officers were found guilty by court martial of passing arms and information to Boko Haram. So Abubakar Shekau may end up ruling much of northern Nigeria.

      Libya is considerably further down the same track. A civil war broke out between the various militias left over from the 2011 campaign to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi, the former dictator, shortly after the June election that might—just might—have produced a government that would try to disarm those militias.

      It has got so bad that almost a third of the Libya’s population, 1.8 million people, has fled the country, mostly seeking shelter in Tunisia.

      The real divisions between these warring militias are regional and tribal, but a number of them have adopted extreme Islamist ideologies, partly because it guarantees a flow of arms and money from certain governments in the Gulf. These Islamist militias have emerged as the winners both in the savage fighting in western Libya around the capital, Tripoli, and also in the other major city, Benghazi, in the east.

      In fact, Islamist militias with ISIS-style ideologies now control every city along the Libyan coast except Tobruk, a short distance from the Egyptian border. That is where the new parliament elected in June has taken refuge, and the parliament’s members are living on a hired Greek car ferry that is serving as a floating hotel. The front line starts just west of town—and the next town along the coast, Derna, has been declared an Islamic caliphate.

      A lot of this is just ideological fashion, of course. The various “caliphates” are in touch with one another, after a fashion, but there is no master plan.

      However, the results are truly nasty both in Nigeria and in Libya—and the risk of over-reaction by those who feel threatened by these developments, especially in the West, is quite large.

      Gwynne Dyer is an independent journalist whose articles are published in 45 countries.

      Comments

      13 Comments

      RUK

      Sep 15, 2014 at 3:24pm

      What would be the right reaction? How about agreeing that religious dogmatism creates fanatics and that, to save lives, the schools preaching separation, purity, and isolation will spontaneously and voluntarily disband so that their children and the children's children can enjoy full integration with the mainstream secular culture so that we can become the neighbours in spirit that we already are in practice?

      Not a chance, right, even suggesting that would be, well, insensitive!

      MD

      Sep 15, 2014 at 3:47pm

      If oil companies stopped greasing the palms of Nigeria's so called government, and told them to clean house of Boko Haram before the bribes began to flow again, it would likely happen in a week

      President Johnathan must be super pleased that ISIS came along; no one is pestering him anymore about a couple hundred poor Muslim girls that he never cared about in the first place

      I Chandler

      Sep 15, 2014 at 10:10pm

      "a number of them have adopted extreme Islamist ideologies, partly because it guarantees a flow of arms and money from certain governments in the Gulf."

      Certain gulf governments or monarchies? Which ones? Why the mystery? Eric Morgolis writes that they were trained and armed in Jordan by the CIA, supported by the western powers and Turkey, and then turned lose on Syria: http://ericmargolis.com/2014/08/the-mother-of-all-blowback/

      Dyer: "A civil war broke out between the various militias left over from the 2011 campaign to overthrow Gadhafi, the former dictator"

      Campaign? The NATO campaign? Dyer called it a revolution in 2011...
      Former dictator ? Oh yeah - this was a pro-democracy operation:
      http://consortiumnews.com/2014/09/12/perfecting-regime-change-in-ukraine/

      "It's so bad that almost a third of the Libya’s population, 1.8 million people, has fled the country"

      It's so bad that Putin has said that everything US touches turns to Libya.

      Dyer: "risk of over-reaction by those who feel threatened"

      Why the over-reaction? Eric Margolis says Just Say No: "We’ve got to stop ISIS…al-Qaida…Syria’s Assad…Hamas…Hezbollah…Taliban …Shebab…the wicked Ruskis in Ukraine..those Yemeni Houthis…Iran… Sudan…Islamists in Libya and Mali… Boko Haram in Nigeria…the Red Chinese in Asia. Oh yes, and defend Latvia and fight the Lord’s Army in Uganda."

      http://ericmargolis.com/2014/09/just-say-no/

      Intel/Co-Intelpro/ Spook Community

      Sep 15, 2014 at 11:30pm

      All this religious unrest and killing in Africa is just created because someone or something is using people to topple governments, so target countries can be looted.

      Libya's Gaddafi was assassinated due to trying to take Libya away from the US dollar on oil transactions- he almost made it. The four horsemen (big oil) couldn't have that now can they?

      As regards Africa's Muslim insurgencies; just like ISIS/ISIL/ISLAMIC STATE is run by a Mossad Agent(Eliot Shimon- ID'ed by French Intelligence) for the purpose of looting cheap oil and dividing the arabs by employing fifth column advisors to engage proxies (an intel term for using chumps as cannon fodder to bleed for you) so you can than step over the mess and take what you have schemed to get to overthrow a government that won't "cooperate"

      It works like this; "There's something in your country I want, (natural resources, usually) your Government either won't let me come in and get it at all, or wants more in royalties than I want to pay (usually hundreds of millions of $$$) so, I'll just "stir up" trouble so the government will collapse and I can then install leaders (bought -off puppets or just financial whores who don't mind selling out their country for money- these are called traitors)who will give me (my corporation) a sweetheart deal. That's it- in a nutshell.

      Proof? Past history; here: Libya was trying to create a gold backed currency; it was also building an Aquifer- Libya has HUGE underground water resources. Gaddaffy looked after his people first- and wouldn't be bought off- and was killed for it.

      More? In the early 1990's retired British SAS Captain Simon Mann started a for hire corporate mercenary band called "Executive Outcomes" who looted diamond mines in South Africa and tried to overthrow the government in Guinea, Africa; why Guinea? There is OIL in the area and someone wants it- and they want it for free- so they sent in agent provocateurs- stir up unrest- let it "cook"...than hey presto- revolution and I get my financial whore/ puppet/ traitor...of course I don't call him that; I call him Mr. Prime Minister, or Mr. President.

      The religious unrest in Africa is just a ploy to enable a corporation (or several) to get what they want for free and my friends who make and sell weapons get rich too; all paid for because I floated a big loan from a Banker who "sees" the money to be made here.

      Ilan Hersht

      Sep 16, 2014 at 2:53am

      Risk of overreaction?

      I appreciate the deadpan tone, and the desire to stay calm and keep a dry pair of .. well

      The dark days of godly rule is returning to the world. It appears he may have awoken.

      Safe, soft point of view for weak people.

      Sep 16, 2014 at 9:09am

      Creating unrest to unseat a government and put in "better" people so the countries resources can be looted has been going on for a long time now.This time they are after the oil reserves in the area.

      It is usually the same people or corporations who are behind it. The human loss; always shown in dead maimed people, destroyed lives, life savings ruined/lost is the best that can be hoped for......all so some corporate can....make....more...money.

      Mosby

      Sep 16, 2014 at 9:33am

      "the risk of over-reaction by those who feel threatened by these developments, especially in the West, is quite large"

      Lots of ordinary folks in the West have terrified themselves into believing that Islamic militants are going to take over the world and kill us all.

      But their fear is unfounded because Capitalism will not allow it. The goose that lays golden eggs (we consumers) will be protected until the fracking bubble pops, peak oil kicks us in the teeth, and society collapses.

      And that's at least 3 months away, so Party On, Dude!

      I Chandler

      Sep 16, 2014 at 10:56am

      Dyer: "the risk of over-reaction by those who feel threatened "

      And Who's fault is that? Not Eric Margolis who just says no: "We’ve got to stop ISIS…al-Qaida…Syria’s Assad…Hamas…Hezbollah…Taliban …Shebab…the wicked Ruskis in Ukraine..those Yemeni Houthis…Iran… Sudan…Islamists in Libya and Mali… Boko Haram in Nigeria…the Red Chinese in Asia. Oh yes, and defend Latvia and fight the Lord’s Army in Uganda."

      Dyer: "It has got so bad that almost a third of the Libya’s population, 1.8 million people, has fled the country, mostly to Tunisia."

      And Who's fault is that? Maybe Assange/WikiLeaks it at fault. I read that a Libyan informer was threatened by WikiLeaks' revelations. The poor guy probably had to flee the country, to Tunisia. They even made a $60m movie about it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9YrH8FyWs0

      Maybe NATO and the CIA is at fault because they broke all the pottery in the barn:
      http://consortiumnews.com/2014/09/12/perfecting-regime-change-in-ukraine/

      ISIS are not the only scary ones:
      http://consortiumnews.com/2014/09/15/ukraines-romantic-nazi-storm-troopers/

      Dyer: "extreme Islamist ideologies, partly because it guarantees a flow of arms and money from certain governments in the Gulf."

      Why are we not targeting those "certain governments" in the Gulf ? Complicated?
      http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/2ghp54/i_am_julian_assange_a...

      RUK

      Sep 16, 2014 at 11:00am

      @Mosby

      I have no concern that Canada will be under Sharia law but I do know that some Canadian families, in Canada, do act as though it was in effect. It's not maybe something that you are or would be affected by, but these are our friends, neighbours, countrypersons, the people our kids will play sports with and debate club and marry, so, yeah, I say it is ok to discuss militancy and what it might mean even though the high body counts are way over there, somewhere.

      You write like you don't care that society collapses. Nihilism is so Grade Nine.

      doconnor

      Sep 16, 2014 at 11:27am

      Is it Western intervention that has caused it, or lack of US and USSR intervention who no longer support these strong man dictators allowing people to rise up and being the process of democratization?

      If you look at the history of Europe you often see extremists taking over during the transition to democracy. Britain's Oliver Cromwell, a puritan religious extremist who ruled for 10 years imposing his strict religious views and his "near-genocidal" attacks on Catholics.

      The French revolution had the Reign of Terror followed by Napoleon.

      9 16Rating: -7