Boko Haram, once merely a local terror concern, appears to be on the cusp of becoming yet another international jihadist cause celebre, drawing foreign fighters in its quest to convert Nigeria into an Islamist state. The Washington Post:
Extremists from three neighboring countries are fighting in Nigeria’s northeastern Islamic uprising, according to an alleged captured extremist whose account reinforces fears that one of Africa’s most powerful Islamic militant groups is growing closer to al-Qaeda affiliates and that radical movements are spilling across national boundaries.“We do have members from Chad, Niger and Cameroon who actively participate in most of our attacks,” said a young man presented to journalists Friday night by Nigeria’s military as a captured fighter of the Boko Haram terrorist network.
Boko Haram’s goals are still regional in scope, but as was the case with the Taliban in Afghanistan harboring al-Qaeda before 9/11, nasty regional struggles can serve as incubators for much bigger and more dangerous things. This is why what’s going on in Nigeria matters, and why smart watchers of international affairs have had their eye on this fight for a long time.