The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Boko Haram Leader Urges Global Jihad

The purported leader of Boko Haram, Abubakr Shekau, appeared in a video released recently urging his followers to wage a global jihad against the US, the UK, Israel, and others, and identifying the Nigerian movement with its “mujahideen brothers.”

According to SITE Intelligence Group, a US-based organisation, Abubakar Shekau gave the speech in Arabic in a 39-minute video posted to jihadist forums. It was not clear when it was recorded.

“The world should witness, and America, Britain, Nigeria and other crusaders, meaning America and Britain, should witness, and the Jews of Israel who are killing the Muslims in Palestine should witness… that we are with our mujahideen brothers in the cause of Allah everywhere,” a translation by SITE said. [...]

The video posted Thursday … makes particular reference to global events, according to SITE.

Shekau salutes fighters in the Maghreb region of northern Africa, “the Islamic state in Mali,” Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and “our brothers and sheikhs in usurped Palestine.”

“O Britain, America, Israel and Nigeria: Don’t think that jihad stops with the death of imams,” Shekau says, according to SITE. “Because imams are individuals. Jihad started now, jihad started now, O enemies of Allah.”

He adds “don’t you see and think how many sheikhs and men were martyred, like Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, Usama bin Laden, Abu Yahya al-Libi, Abu Yusuf Muhammad bin Yusuf al-Nigiri, and others …

“Did jihad stop?! Did jihad stop?! No….”

It’s almost as if there¬†were some kind of global war on terror or something of the kind. No matter what Washington policy types declare in public, the fight against terrorism is taking place in many places across the world, and it is transnational if it is not global, and its various fronts are connected. While the various jihadi groups and cells are not coordinated from a single center, they are bound together by ideological and financial connections. They help one another and terrorist individuals float from one front to another. The success of one redounds to the benefit of all; maintaining a high morale is key to recruiting, retaining and motivating personnel.

Our enemies think we have a global war on our hands; it is a low intensity form of combat now, but they very much want to raise the stakes. While we need effective police and counterterrorism operations at the local level, we need to think globally as well. This is going to be with us for a long time to come.

Published on December 1, 2012 10:25 am