NATO’s campaign to overthrow Libya’s strongman Gadhafi had 2 terrorist groups rejoicing. A recent UN’s report confirmed what many suspected – NATO’s operation unintentionally provided stocks of heavy weapons to terrorist groups in Northern Africa. Among the groups benefiting from the arms are al-Qaeda and the deadly Islamic terror organization Boko Haram, which is currently on a killing spree in Nigeria.
Arab Spring revolutions created chaos which allowed terrorists organizations to act and obtain heavy weapons. Ironically the UN and NATO’s mission in Libya increased this chaos tremendously and unintentionally strengthened Al Qaeda groups in Africa.
The UN Report explained that “The governments of the countries visited indicated that, in spite of efforts to control their borders, large quantities of weapons and ammunition from Libyan stockpiles were smuggled into the Sahel region.”
We see the results all over Africa where violence has grown dramatically in the past six months. Various terrorists groups are causing havoc across Africa. While the groups are not directly connected, they all have validated links to Al Qaeda in Yemen.
al-Shabab has been operating in Somalia and crossing over to Kenya and Ethiopia. Forces from the neighboring countries of Kenya and Ethiopia are battling Al Shabab along with Ugandan forces and western help.
The map of Somalia tells the story. The country has been without a functioning government for decades, and the southern and central regions are in the hands of al-Shabab.
Nigeria is caught in a series of terrorists’ bombings which target the Christian community of the country. Boko Haram, another Al Qaeda connected terrorist group, is trying to make its point that it cannot live side by side with people from other religions. In their view, Nigeria must become an Islamic state or else suffer endless terror attacks. Boko Haram killed more than 500 people last year and more than 250 this year in Nigeria.
The U.N. report said Nigeria was not the only country worried about the activities of Boko Haram. It said the group also was in Niger, adding that some governments believed Boko Haram members from Nigeria and Chad had received training at al Qaeda training camps in Mali in 2011.
While Boko Haram is currently focusing on Nigeria, it has documented ties to Al Qaeda according to the report – “Although Boko Haram has concentrated its terrorist acts inside Nigeria, seven of its members were arrested while transiting through the Niger to Mali,” it said, adding that they possessed documents about explosives manufacturing, propaganda leaflets and contact details for known al Qaeda members.
These terror activities are of increasing concern to the Western world. The vast deserts and loose governmental control in Africa makes it a perfect base for Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and Al Shabab. A recent attempt to attack US and European ships on the Mediterranean, foiled by Algeria, demonstrates once again that the goal is global Islamic domination and Africa is just a convenient base.
Western leaders and the UN back Nigeria in its war against Boko Haram. Through the U.S. military’s Africa Command, established in 2007, the Americans are already training and equipping armies in Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Senegal and Tunisia. On Oct. 14, U.S. President Obama sent another 100 U.S. troops to Uganda in East Africa. Africa has become the front line of the war against terror. Let’s hope 2012 will be calmer than 2011 as stability is crucial in the war against terror.