Unfortunately, over the weekend, Abubakr Shekau announced Boko Haram’s allegiance to ISIS. It still remains to be seen if ISIS will accept. Either way, there is no good scenario to come out of this.
At a bare minimum, there is an emulation going on between the two groups. Boko Haram has taken its cue from ISIS. It has started using similar tactics, propaganda, etc. There was a distinct change in Boko Haram at the beginning of the year that suggested this emulation was happening.
However, analysts and governments were starting to mention that more than emulation was going on. I thought they were correct (hence I wrote an article about it for Jerusalem Post).
Now we see that the alliance is happening.
What if ISIS rejects the allegiance?
I doubt they will. Even if they don’t want the allegiance of Boko Haram, they will accept it. Why not? If the goal of ISIS is to spread across Africa, Boko Haram gives them an “in” to at least 4 countries that ISIS isn’t active in yet. In addition, an allegiance by Boko Haram gives ISIS the ability to allow Boko Haram to do its dirty work. After all, Boko Haram is already doing a pretty good job at wreaking havoc. If Boko Haram became very dominant, then all ISIS would need to do is get rid of (or absorb) Boko Haram in order to obtain rule over these areas. So, in essence, there is no real reason for ISIS to not accept the allegiance.
Should ISIS, for some unknown reason, not accept the allegiance, Boko Haram would have something to prove. Abubakr Shekau would have been publicly humiliated. In order to establish rule in his organization and to show the world how powerful he is, he would become even more brutal.
What if ISIS accepts the allegiance?
Well, as stated above, ISIS will absorb Boko Haram, eventually. For now, Boko Haram would be allowed to do its stated business: to eradicate Christianity from West Africa and to install a Sulafi-style caliphate. ISIS will likely even supply manpower and resources to Boko Haram to make this happen.
ISIS will likely also embed trusted members to stay with Boko Haram in order to have some control of what is happening. Should Boko Haram being uncooperative to the new leadership decisions, a coup will take place. Should Boko Haram be cooperative, the group will likely operate much like the groups in Iraq that have pledged allegiance. Boko Haram will be the West Africa wing of ISIS, in a sense.
If by some crazy chance, ISIS is offended or the two groups start a turf war, the ramifications would be extremely bloody. Two terrorist organizations fighting it out, while also eradicating those that would oppose them, is a scenario that will bring a lot of death. In addition to attacking civilians, the groups would be attacking each other. As each becomes more desperate, the attacks would become less and less coordinated. Meaning, more and more civilians would die. Either as victims of an attack, or collateral damage from an attack. The region could descend into utter chaos. Although I do not believe this situation is likely, it is possible.
So, as you can see, there is not really anything good to come out of this. This new turn of events is very bad. Christians need to be on their knees, praying for all areas under the threat of these two groups. Christians in Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon need prayers for safety, steadfastness, and comfort. And the terror groups need prayer too. That the Holy Spirit would convict them, they would surrender their lives to Jesus, and the groups would fall apart because of the change of heart its people had.
I know that sounds impossible. But nothing is impossible with God. This past month, an ISIS jihadi turned his life to Christ. Imagine what could happen if Christians around the world prayed for the hearts of these terrorists to change.FOLLOW ME