An Assessment of Jamāʻat Ahl as-Sunnah lid-daʻwa wal-Jihād (Boko Haram): Strengths, Vulnerabilities and Policy Options

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The Islamist group Jama'atu Ahl as-Sunnah li-Da'awati wal-Jihad, commonly referred to as Boko Haram, has emerged as a violent challenger to the authority of the Nigerian state. Despite a significant influx of military personnel to the areas of its strongholds, Boko Haram remains capable of launching significant attacks. Therefore, START has proposed to examine the group in order to better understand engagement options that may counter it. In particular, START will focus on the following research questions:

  1. What are Boko Haram’s centers of gravity and potential vulnerabilities?
  2. What policies (across the DIMEFIL spectrum) can be employed to counter BH’s strengths and exploit its weaknesses?
  3. What are AFRICOM options for engaging USG and foreign partners to deploy policies to counter BH?

In order to address the above questions, START will complete a review of the academic literature as well as an in-depth case study of Boko Haram, incorporating a qualitative desk study, field work, and a quantitative analysis, drawing on the insights generated to evaluate options for engagement with the Nigerian government and other partners to counter the group.


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