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New project on remote warfare against Boko Haram

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Media attention remain focused on the Middle East and North Africa, including the operations against Islamic State in Iraq, Syria and Libya as well as the conflict in Yemen. Meanwhile, the United States and France (together with other powers, including Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia and China) are quietly carrying out remote warfare in the form of drone operations and special forces deployments in support of Nigerian and regional coalition efforts against Boko Haram, including the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) comprising Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria. There is a lack of public information on the details of these operations and the evolving nature and effectiveness of the complex coalitions against Boko Haram.

To address this, Open Briefing will be monitoring the conflict and communicating our assessment of key developments in a series of short monthly intelligence notes funded by the Remote Control project. After a five-month period, we will produce a briefing paper providing detailed, granular analysis of what is happening on the ground in West Africa, including an analytical breakdown of the actors and who has been doing what, plus analysis of key issues and developments, particularly in relation to the coalitions against Boko Haram.

Our work on remote warfare has thus far been predominantly issue-based, that is assessing the constituent parts of remote warfare (special forces, mercenaries, armed drones and killer robots, cyber warfare, and mass surveillance), in order to build up a thorough and nuanced understanding of both the strategy and tactics of remote warfare. Beginning with our briefings last year on Britain’s remote warfare against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, we are now shifting to focus on remote warfare as applied in specific current conflicts and counter-terrorism operations.

The first intelligence note in this new series will be published towards the end of April.