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In the Midst of the Boko Haram Crisis, Where are Nigeria’s Neighbors?

Politics and regional resentments prevail, even as the militant group becomes everbody’s problem.

Cameroonian Navy Sailors in 2006. Photo by USAF Staff Sgt. Jason T. Bailey

Almost three weeks after Boko Haram’s (belatedly) notorious massacre at Baga, Nigeria, which escalated their five-year insurgency to new levels of boldness and brutality, the Nigerian military has finally announced a massive counter-offensive against the militants’ northern strongholds. This new push by the nation’s beleaguered military will involve support and coordination with forces from neighboring Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. This cooperation is a welcome development, given widespread acknowledgement that the Nigerian military lacks the skills and resources to address Boko Haram on their own. Yet it raises serious questions as to why, despite all the global platitudes about the transnational threat of Nigeria’s foes and recognition of the state’s troubles confronting them, we’re only seeing regional support materialize now.

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