The international Shiite community is awash with sorrow after the Nigerian military slaughtered over 40 of their protesting co-confessionals over the weekend, but while some might think that the reason for the government’s militant sectarianism is because of Saudi Arabia, the real answer might lay with “Israel” blackmailing the country to aggressively “contain” what some regard as an Iranian “proxy organization” under pane of an exacerbated separatist crisis in “Biafra” if it refused.
The Nigerian military slaughtered at least 42 members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) last weekend who gathered in the capital of Abuja to protest the December 2015 arrest of their leader Ibrahim Zakzaky, who was jailed on suspicions of organizing an assassination plot against the country’s Chief of Army Staff. This isn’t the first time that the state carried out the large-scale killing of Shiites since at least 300 of them were murdered during the mission that led to Zakzaky’s arrest almost three years ago. Some observers regard the IMN as an Iranian proxy because of Zakzaky’s Shiite faith and the influence that his earlier time in Iran after the 1979 Revolution is said to have had on the group’s formation, while its supporters claim that it’s a peaceful grassroots organization that acts independently of any foreign power. It should be mentioned that the IMN isn’t an exclusively Shiite organization and welcomes Muslims of all sects, but its opponents nevertheless still suspect of it secretly conspiring to carry out a Shiite-led Islamic Revolution in the country.
Saudi Arabia’s sectarian influence is generally considered to be the reason for the Nigerian state’s hostility towards Shiites, which at least on the surface makes sense when remembering Riyadh’s militant proselytism of the Wahhabi ideology and its Ummah-wide competition with Iran. Nigeria is also a member of OPEC and the Saudi-led Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC), which further reinforces the notion that the Kingdom is capable of exercising inordinate sway over one of the world’s most populous Muslim countries to the point of encouraging it to wantonly kill protesting Shiites with impunity. That could very well be the case but it might not explain the totality of what else could be going on because such a theory overlooks the recent influence that “Israel” has proven itself capable of wielding over the rising African Great Power through its hosting of a separatist leader from “Biafra”.
To briefly explain, Nigeria is regularly on the brink of a Hobbesian conflict given its intrinsic Hybrid War vulnerabilities, and it previously fought a very bloody civil war from 1967-1970 over the separatist aspirations of its southeastern oil-rich region of “Biafra” that claimed over one million lives. Sporadic violence still breaks out from time to time in that part of the country because the root causes of the conflict were never resolved, which is why it was so troubling to see that separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu resurfaced a few weeks ago in “Israel” where he ominously warned that his group “will liberate Biafra and we will not take part in any elections until we get a referendum, it is not negotiable, we will do it by any means.” The BBC also quotes him as saying that “I will be back soon in the land of Biafra and I will bring hell with me”, that he “owes [his] survival to the state of Israel”, and hinting that he has connections with Mossad.
The IMN is vehemently pro-Palestinian whereas Kanu’s “Indigenous People Of Biafra” (Ipob) is evidently pro-Zionist, therefore making them mortal enemies and suggesting that “Israel” might have threatened to unleash Ipob on Nigeria if the government didn’t make an example out of the protesting Shiites. The West African country is simply too embroiled in its own domestic conflicts, corruption, and underdevelopment to deal with yet another Hybrid War crisis at this moment on top of the one that it’s already struggling to respond to with Boko Haram, which might explain why Abuja could easily be blackmailed by “Israel” into repeating the slaughter of Shiites that it first carried out almost three years ago. It would have probably resorted to heavy-handed tactics against the protesters anyhow even without “Israel” potentially weaponizing Ipob against it, but Tel Aviv could have given it yet another reason to do so.