Sunday, March 08, 2015

They independently came up with the same craziness

New York Times on the Boko Haram pledge of allegiance to ISIS --

With thousands of fighters and some parts of northeastern Nigeria under its control, Boko Haram is believed to be the largest jihadi group to pledge fidelity to the Islamic State. But terrorism experts say that the practical significance of the move announced Saturday is as yet unclear ... An American intelligence official also reacted cautiously, saying that while Boko Haram would not turn down money or material support from the Islamic State, it was unlikely that it would take orders from it. “It’s probably more for propaganda purposes than anything else,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.

The problem is that for the unnamed American intelligence official and the apparatus which he represents, events are already moving  -- via the explicit pledge -- in a different direction than they confidently were recently explaining to the New York Times, just three weeks ago! --

“Despite recent Boko Haram media releases that suggest support for ISIL and the claim in Dabiq magazine, Boko Haram has not pledged allegiance to ISIL,” said James M. Kudla, a spokesman for the Defense Intelligence Agency. “Regarding video production values, although Boko Haram media production progressed during the past year, it is unclear how the new capabilities were developed.” Another American official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential information, said, “The pledges and even the Twitter accounts probably do not signify a deeper connection.” He likened the actions to someone “liking” an individual or group on Facebook.  

Given the length of time it takes to work out these pledges, not to mention release the videos, it's unlikely that anything on the ground has changed in the last three weeks; the earlier assessment by non-US government analysts that ISIS and BH had aligned looks correct. So relative to the claim that the earlier indications were just a Like, is the on-screen pledge a selfie or a retweet?

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