State Dept. Calls Group in Nigeria Terrorists – NYTimes.com

What can a label do?  In the case of an African group the answer is, “a lot.”  The back and forth internal government discussions result in Boko Haram being labeled a “terrorist group” with numerous implications.  From the dissenting view:

But other officials cautioned that Boko Haram did not pose an immediate threat to the United States, and that Americans and American interests could be targeted by the group as a result of the designation.The designation “would internationalize Boko Haram, legitimize abuses by Nigeria’s security services, limit the State Department’s latitude in shaping a long-term strategy and undermine the U.S. government’s ability to receive effective independent analysis from the region,” a group of 25 scholars wrote in a letter sent last year to Hillary Rodham Clinton, then secretary of state.

via State Dept. Calls Group in Nigeria Terrorists – NYTimes.com.

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4 thoughts on “State Dept. Calls Group in Nigeria Terrorists – NYTimes.com

  1. trawson7 says:

    I agree that the designation of Boko Harem as a terrorist group has a lot of ramifications- both positive and negative. It is true that the label allows the United States to treat the group differently, and perhaps that is a good thing; however, we do not even really know if Boko Harem would have posed a threat to the United States. By labeling them a terrorist organization, we definitely just made the conflict international and polarized it some. However, we are engaged in a “war on terror,” not a “war on terrorist groups that only affect the U.S..” I therefore think I agree with the label; Boko Harem definitely is a terrorist group, so why not call it like it is?

  2. simonliuu says:

    I definitely agree with Taylor’s comment. Boko Harem is a terrorist organization and should be labelled as such. If this helps their recruitment efforts then the same people who hadn’t heard of Boko Harem would have likely joined a different terrorist group instead. Obviously, we don’t know any of the specifics behind the group or how they might be affected by the US freezing its assets/movement, but apparently the government believes that its actions will affect the group enough negatively that it will counteract any benefits the group might receive.

    If the group is already conducting attacks and killing enough civilians to be noticed by the US government, then their actions are severe enough to warrant international recognition, and not calling them what they are is turning a blind eye.

  3. kttoolson says:

    It makes sense that the United Sates would label Boko Haram a terrorist organization. It benefits them in that they may place bans and sanctions upon them, and legitimately keep tabs on them. However, I found it very concerning that the Boko Haram was gaining more power by that label because other’s wanted to join the terrorist organization. It would be interesting to see if there was another way through law that the United States could still be involved in counterterrorism in Nigeria without necessarily giving the group legitimacy. With all of the experience the United States has with terrorism, I feel like they could have foreseen these consequences.

  4. jackdavis says:

    I am a strong advocate for calling something what it is, which is why I am glad to see the State Department finally recognizing Boko Haram as a terrorist group. This organization has carried out countless attacks in Nigeria, all of which have resulted in the loss of innocent life, and if attacking civilians does not make a Boko Haram a terrorist group, then I’m not sure what does. I’m glad to see the US government finally recognize this and make it official. By applying this official designation, it will give us – as well as the Nigerians – more power to fight Boko Haram, and prevent further attacks.

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