Mideast Expert: 'It's Already Too Late' to Fight Boko Haram

Thursday, 22 May 2014 05:13 PM

By Courtney Coren

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The terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria was allowed to grow and become "a nationally organized group" making it "already too late" for Nigeria to get a handle on the terrorist group, says Middle east expert Walid Phares.

"Boko Haram has, like many other jihadist groups, different stages in their life," Phares told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV.

In "the beginning, you have always the radicalization," Phares said. "Then they become some sort of dispersed cell with isolated actions, and we skipped that. The moment they become a nationally organized group that can, despite the strikes by the local army, continue to work, it's already too late. It's like a cancer."

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He said the problem is that terrorist groups must be fought "in the beginning, not when it becomes very big, where the price will become much bigger."

At this point, for Nigeria to be successful against Boko Haram, "they will need to have the international community with them."

On its own, Nigeria risks "entering a civil war, entering a masive war."

Phares said that it doesn't help that the United States "did not even identify them as terrorists until it became very late in the process."

The State Department did not recognize Boko Haram as a terrorist group until November 2013.

Boko Haram is behind the kidnapping of over 200 teenage girls in April, and on Tuesday they were responsible for two bombings in Nigeria that killed at least 118 people.

The United States has sent about 80 military personnel to Chad to help the Nigerians find the kidnapped girls.

"It's basically to help the Nigerians advise them on this specific operation," Phares explained, adding that it will be a difficult operation "because Boko Haram has a long distance ahead of us."


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