Orders From Above: Why Did ISIS Tell Boko Haram’s Shekau To Quit?

Shekau and ISIS' Abu Baghdadi - extremist Sunni Takfiri


A video of retirement by Daesh Nigeria affiliate, Boko Haram’s notorious leader has raised many questions.

In March of 2015 Boko Haram leader, its Shekau swore the Bay’ah oath of allegiance to the ISIS or better put, Daesh, the Iraq-centered global terror network.

Swearing a Bay’ah-oath in Islam is hefty, it’s not a joke. The word comes from “sell” or “transaction.” By pledging you have sold yourself to that Imam, guide or spiritual leader.

LiveLeak Video Shows Youth Pledge Allegiance To Boko Haram

The swearing of allegiance to Daesh by Boko Haram’s Shekau split ranks in the terror organisation with a new faction leader, Muhammad Daud veering off in open rejection.

The implication of the oath was simple: from then on, Shekau acted on orders from above and was no longer in command of his network. He was now a worker for Iraq’s Abu Baghdadi.

While the losses Boko Haram has faced in recent months are important, the Thursday video of Shekau’s retirement with an ISIS flag prominently behind him, spread shocks through the world.

Shekau retirement video with ISIS flag behind him
Shekau retirement video with ISIS flag behind him

It will be the first time in history, perhaps, that a group leader will retire openly and in public announcement while not under duress (with no gun to his head). David Otto, CEO of UK-based global security provider TGS Intelligence Consultants, told IBTimes UK, “The goal and ideology of groups like Iswap or Isil [the Islamic State] is beyond one man and definitely beyond Shakau.”

Most terror or other rebellion leaders hide for as long as they can and never surrender. The United States took over Afghanistan and Osama Bin Laden never surrendered or quit his mission. In Nigeria and larger West and Central Africa, and then most juicy north Africa with Daesh’s luxury second command capital based comfortably in Libya, there are simply too many places to hide and live large without a need to retire.

Terror is not a particular mission that requires its leaders quitting until or unless their mission is accomplished.

Unhappy Shekau And A Mission Accomplished/Being Accomplished?

While inexperienced analysts interpreted Shekau’s depressed body language and tone in the video as his being sick, our analysts saw something totally different.

Boko Haram’s Shekau was sad and not sick. He, known for his maniacal narcism was depressed and frustrated beyond his limits that he was forced to make such a pathetic recorded retirement speech. Aminu Abubakar writing for AFP used the words, “dejected.”

There were certain words of note: “I got your message and so I am making this public statement,” Shekau said, “I am telling the world my/the end has come.”

It was clear: Shekau had been ordered to retire and he did so.

Again, the peculiarity of such order is hard to reconcile. It is more suspicious that the commander of Daesh’s wing in Nigeria would be instructed by a far off command center to retire. If at all Shekau was facing pressures, what pressure was Abu Baghdadi facing to not sacrifice his last men in Nigeria or tell them to quietly hide, but rather he tells his able captain in West Africa to shamefully make a public surrender which would de-motivate and retire all other men under him?

A Dream Come True

There are two possible reasons why Shekau was ordered by Daesh in Iraq to retire:

1. The first possibility is that Muhammad Daud, Barnawi or some other faction head had taken over. But this reason still does not satisfy the conditions and implications of a public Shekau retirement speech. A retirement speech is not personal but organizational. It affects the entire group. By retiring publicly, Shekau was destroying the fabric of whatever was left of the terror network that whoever was to take over was going to inherit. Power exchanges are private affairs and not done by retiring the whole group.

Muhammad Daud
Muhammad Daud

2. The second and more plausible explanation of Abubakar, Boko Haram’s Shekau’s public retirement is that the mission was accomplished in Nigeria. This is the more favored explanation according to most of our analysts and security experts consulted.

The question was: why would Abu Bakr Baghdadi decide the need to cancel his mission in Nigeria? This would mean Nigeria no longer needed a mission. The follow-up question is: to whose benefit is such a public retirement speech? The only answer to that is the current Nigerian leadership. It seemed to positively advertise and speak tremendously well of the success of Nigeria’s campaign against the terrorists and not surprisingly, Nigeria quickly discredited the statements.

Analysts suggest that it is possible that when Abu Bakr Baghdadi saw the way the Nigerian government smashed Shia Muslims in Nigeria he was so impressed that he decided a terror mission will only disturb a government working in tandem with it (ISIS).

Zakzaky loaded in wheel barrow
Zakzaky loaded in wheel barrow

As many as 1000 Shia Muslims were massacred or otherwise rendered missing in a robust, described as extra-judicious “honour killing” military action against them in Nigeria’s northern city of Zaria last December.

The world renowned leader of Shia millions in West Africa (at least 10 million in Nigeria alone) and the Islamic movement in Nigeria was shot six times, his wife was also shot severally, three of his sons were killed in front of his eyes; his home was demolished and burned to the ground with everyone in it as well as all other of the movement buildings. Shia graves were even exhumed. He and his wife were beaten severely before being incarcerated and have both since been detained incommunicado by the Nigerian government. This would be a dream come true for ISIS; known to be an operation against Shia Muslims more than anything else.

Why would Daesh want to continue financing Boko Haram to pester a Nigerian administration that achieves the same objectives but ever so much better than Daesh, Boko Haram and other anti-Shia terror organisations have ever been able to? It would be counter-intuitive.

buratai shia

Nigeria’s alliance with the so-called Saudi-led anti terror coalition further impressed ISIS. It is recalled that Saudi Arabia’s former ambassador to Washington and a very prominent Prince and the Kingdom’s Intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, aka Bandar Bush confided with the MI6 head with the following remarks of note as presented by the Independent:

Bandar Bush
Bandar Bush

Prince Bandar Bin Sultan had a revealing and ominous conversation with the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove. Prince Bandar told him: “The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally ‘God help the Shia’. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.”

The fatal moment predicted by Prince Bandar may now have come for many Shia, with Saudi Arabia playing an important role in bringing it about by supporting the anti-Shia jihad in Iraq and Syria. Since the capture of Mosul by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) on 10 June, Shia women and children have been killed in villages south of Kirkuk, and Shia air force cadets machine-gunned and buried in mass graves near Tikrit.

In Mosul, Shia shrines and mosques have been blown up, and in the nearby Shia Turkoman city of Tal Afar 4,000 houses have been taken over by Isis fighters as “spoils of war”. Simply to be identified as Shia or a related sect, such as the Alawites, in Sunni rebel-held parts of Iraq and Syria today, has become as dangerous as being a Jew was in Nazi-controlled parts of Europe in 1940.

There is no doubt about the accuracy of the quote by Prince Bandar, secretary-general of the Saudi National Security Council from 2005 and head of General Intelligence between 2012 and 2014, the crucial two years when al-Qa’ida-type jihadis took over the Sunni-armed opposition in Iraq and Syria. Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute last week, Dearlove, who headed MI6 from 1999 to 2004, emphasised the significance of Prince Bandar’s words, saying that they constituted “a chilling comment that I remember very well indeed”. Read full in Independent

Video: December 17th 2015: Saudi Wesal Station Incites Hate For Nigeria’s Shia Muslims

See: Buhari: Should Tell Saudi Arabia To Produce Boko Haram Sec. Gen. Danladi Ahmadu

buh saud4

The Boko Haram Bomb Attack Of A Shia Procession Two-Weeks Before The Military Massacre

Two weeks before the Nigerian military cracked down on the Nigerian Islamic Shia-predominant movement in the December massacre, Boko Haram had just bombed a procession of the same movement, killing 26 of its members in the very same Kaduna.

Boko Haram killed 26 in a bombing of a Shia procession in kaduna on Novermber 26th 2015
Boko Haram killed 26 in a bombing of a Shia procession in kaduna on November 26th 2015

The movement leader, now in detention or perhaps killed, had to his peril perhaps, exonerated Boko Haram, accusing members of Nigeria’s security offices and foreign agents as being behind the bomb attacks on the minority Muslims (12% of Nigeria’s Muslim population). It would be his last public statement.

Abubakar Shekau has been told to retire. That’s the good news.