Monday, October 23, 2017
3:30 P.M.–5:00 P.M.
The Jamestown Foundation
1310 L Street, NW
First Floor Conference Room
Washington, DC 20005
About the Event:
What is the current state of the Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Nigeria and the Lake Chad region? This is the most frequently asked question by policymakers, scholars and the general public interested in understanding the trajectory of the decade-old insurgency. The answers to this question have often focused on the success of the Nigerian Army’s recovery of some territories previously under Boko Haram control and a peripheral analysis of the internal schisms within the group. Nonetheless, many events are taking place behind-the-scenes that can only be uncovered through a close monitoring of “Boko Haram’s Electronic Jihad.”
This discussion will feature analysis of the virtual terrain of Boko Haram’s social media operation, including the group’s use of the internet for debates between different factions and Islamic opponents, for posting online audio lectures, books and news from the leadership and, most importantly, for publishing the Hausa version of Islamic State’s Amaq News Bulletin as well as select Hausa translations of Islamic State’s al-Naba Newsletter. These mediums on Telegram, Facebook and Twitter—which have rarely been discussed—provide detailed knowledge of the inner workings and current state of Boko Haram and its relationships with and perspectives on al-Qaeda and Islamic State.
Abdulbasit Kassim is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Religion at Rice University. His research focuses on the Intellectual History of Islam in Africa, Ideology of Contemporary Islamic Movements in Africa, Postcolonial African States, African Religions, and the International Relations of Sub-Saharan Africa. His new edited book, “The Boko Haram Reader: From Nigerian Preachers to the Islamic State,” (co-edited with Michael Nwankpa) is published by Hurst Publishers and will be available from January 4, 2018.
Guido W. Steinberg is one of Germany’s leading terrorism experts and works for the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP) in Berlin. An Islamicist by training, he has previously worked for the German Federal Chancellery as an advisor on international terrorism.
Jacob Zenn is a Fellow on African and Eurasian Affairs at The Jamestown Foundation and an adjunct assistant professor on violent non-state actors at Georgetown University. He was a component leader for European Union Technical Assistance to Nigeria’s Evolving Security Challenges (EUTANS) from 2014 to May 2016, and in 2015-2016 led a mapping project on Boko Haram’s organizational structure for the Swiss Embassy in Nigeria, which was validated by Nigerian leaders, CT personnel and former Boko Haram members and supported negotiations in October 2016 and May 2017 that saw the release of 23 and 82 of the Chibok schoolgirls. Zenn also consulted for the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP) in drafting a Nigeria Policy Framework and National Action Plan on countering violent extremism (CVE) and the forthcoming VOA documentary “Boko Haram: Journey from Evil”, which is based on 18 hours of internal Boko Haram video footage.