“The Real Boko Haram”
December 16, 2015—Hammad Ibrahim, a soft-spoken, intelligent young man, accompanied his father, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, the leader of Nigeria’s Shia Muslims, to a conference on Solidarity with Palestine, in Beirut, last week. I was there, along with other reporters and activists. Young Hammad told our group that Boko Haram, the Nigerian jihadists, are terrorist thugs who get their weapons and money from both Nigerian and foreign donors, just like the Islamic State, with which Boko Haram is aligned. Hammad’s father, Sheikh Zakzaky, is recognized as a force for reconciliation among the various religious and ethnic groups in Nigeria. But Zakzaky’s Shia followers have been targeted by both Boko Haram and the Nigerian military, which has long been suspected of manipulating Boko Haram to its own ends. The Nigerian army killed three of the Sheikh’s sons in 2009 during a march against the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem.
By this weekend, Hammad was also dead, killed by the Nigerian military shortly after he arrived back in the country, in a massacre of unarmed Shia Muslims that left his father with bullet wounds in both hands. The military claims the Sheikh’s followers were plotting to kill the army chief of staff when his motorcade was blocked by demonstrators. But, it was pure murder on a massive scale, with as many as 1,000 dead and two hundred bodies piled up at a morgue on the outskirts of town. The military then bulldozed a Shia shrine and Sheikh Zakzaky’s home. One of the Sheikh’s followers, Bukhari Muhammed Bello Jega, wrote on his Facebook page that “the REAL BOKO HARAM is now on the loose” in form of the Nigerian army, “bombing buildings and killing innocent civilians.” Soon after posting that message, Mr. Bello Jega was also killed by soldiers, along with his wife and infant child.
It is not strange at all that the Nigerian military, which for years did little to halt the rise of Boko Haram terror, has unleashed a hell on earth for peaceful Shia Muslims. Saudi Arabia, the fountainhead of funding for jihadists all over the world, has just formed its own bizarre coalition against terror, made up of 34 nations from Pakistan to sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria and its West African neighbors Chad, Togo, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Gabon, Guinea, and the Ivory Coast. For the Saudis to be leading a war against terror is like the Pope leading a war against Catholicism. Everything the Saudis touch turns into terror and chaos. The Saudi brand of Wahhabist Islam calls for the eradication of Shia Muslims and secular governments, worldwide—a crusade that the United States finds convenient to its own imperial purposes. When both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton say that Arabs and Muslims must fight their own war against terror, they are actually endorsing Saudi Arabia’s leadership of the Muslim world and the spread of proxy jihadist armies throughout Africa and Asia.
West Africa is the next front in these jihadist wars, which have already claimed so many of Sheikh Zakzaky’s sons. The resulting chaos will be used to justify further U.S. military penetration of the African continent, under the pretext of putting out the fires that they themselves have set.
—Black Agenda Report, December 16, 2015