Wheels within Wheels: The Shifting Security Landscape of Nigeria

December, 2013
IDA document: D-5083
FFRDC: Systems and Analyses Center
Type: Africa , Documents
Division: Intelligence Analyses Division , Global Dynamics and Intelligence Division
Caroline F. Ziemke-Dickens, Mary E. Boswell See more authors
The United States Africa Command is poised to expand its partnerships with states in West Africa in an effort to build regional counterterrorism and counterinsurgency capacity. Resolving or containing the ongoing security crisis in Nigeria, triggered by the emergence of the violent extremist group Boko Haram, will be key to safeguarding regional stability in West Africa and the Sahel. While the crisis in Nigeria’s north has the potential to destabilize the region, resolving the crisis will require strategies that address the complex set of factors that have given rise to the violence and limit the ability of the Nigerian government to respond effectively. This paper addresses five of the most important of these factors: the nature of the Nigerian political system, the severe and ongoing governance deficit, the ethnic and sectarian tensions created by Nigeria’s system of internal citizenship, the securitization of identity in Nigeria’s numerous ethnic and religious communities, and deep divisions within the Nigerian Muslim communities.