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Israel’s cybersecurity: Principles and techniques

Giancarlo Elia Valori

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In 2018, the sums allocated for funding the whole cybersecurity industry in Israel amounted to 1.03 billion US dollars, with a 22% increase compared to the previous public-private funds budgeted.

 Again in 2018, 66 new companies in the cybersecurity sector were set up, with a 10% increase as against to 2017. In 2016, however, they were 88.

 The higher the rate of technological innovation, the greater the mortality rate of companies.

 A fast and significant increase in turnover and investment in the Israeli cybersecurity, which, however, has been going on for five years.

 Currently the area in which the Israeli start-ups specialized in cybersecurity is particularly focused is the IoT security, i.e. the security concerning the Internet of Things, which is basically a web system in which the real or even symbolic “objects” communicate one another data about themselves and can also have access to information about other objects, autonomously and independently.

 The “things” we are talking about can be equipment, plants, systems, devices, material objects, goods and machines.

 The IoT stems from the idea that the Web can and sometimes must leave a recognizable trace in the real world. This means that the web technology can and often must indicate the end of the separation between the material “thing” and the formal symbol, in the Web as in calculations.

 Just think for a moment about what this will mean for the future production and distribution technologies.

 But also for the design of the “objects”, with “things” that will change autonomously, in their various phases, between automated production, exchange and consumption.

 The technologies that allow the creation of this new form of Spinozan coincidentia rei et intellectus are, in particular, radio-frequency identification (RFDI), with the recent addition of the new protocols by the IEEE.802.15.4 standard, a model using short-range wireless networks integrated between them, precisely according to the technical standards provided by IEEE.802.15.4.

 Low-frequency radio networks and short-range wireless networks, all integrated into a new technology that allows “things” to communicate one another.

 According to many estimates made by market analysts for the sector, in 2020 there will already be 29 billion objects connected at global level.

 Control tools, real objects, materials for medical, statistical and intelligence analyses, as well as technologies for the just-in-time adaptation of companies’ products, not to mention obviously the defence sector.

 For us laymen it is hard even to imagine the ​​application areas of these new web technologies.

 Another primary application of the new cybersecurity of Israeli start-ups in 2018 was that of security for blockchains.

 This means taking care of the security of a network, namely the blockchain, which is a predetermined and closed set of computers, which always talk to one another, but do not know one another and, however, use all the data at their disposal, even vis-à-vis the other elements of the “chain”.

 A game in which all the players know the cards of the others, but do not know the players and, above all, they are always steadily controlled by a constant exchange of information between them.

 Just think, here, of the malware-probably of Chinese origin- which, over two years, has infected the production of virtual coins to the tune of over 2 million US dollars.

 The virtual currency is always and in any case produced in blockchains and succeeding in entering a malware into a complex block network is certainly not a very easy operation.

  As can be easily imagined, the malware we are talking about was the result of a blockchain hacking.

  Every decentralized system, such as blockchains, is always structurally weak.

 Hence, we can infer that Israel wants to use the blockchain technology in many areas, certainly including defence, strategic intelligence and security.

 With specific reference to Security BC, an increasing number of attacks occurred on the boundary between the network and its market.

In fact, in December 2017, NiceHash- the largest virtual exchange market for virtual currency – was hacked, with a loss of 60 million US dollars.

 However, many other attacks could be mentioned.

 There is also the “51 attack”.

  This entails that once any blockchain transaction has been completed, there may be a subject on the Web who, at that moment, has a higher computing power (51%) than the other “blocks”.

  Hence, this enables the subject to change transactions and even multiply them, often excluding the other participants in the “blockchain” from communication.

 Again in this regard, in 2014 there was the case of Gash, which for a long time had 51% of mining power, which is information technology – or rather energy and calculation power – capable of knocking out the competitors of both the other blockchains and of those in which Gash participated directly.

 Recently the new start-ups of Israeli cybersecurity have recently much dealt with cloud-native security.

 In other words, cloud-native security are technologies that regard, for example, containers or networks without autonomous central control.

 This means the intelligence security of everything that currently – due to the size of the networks or of the market – already goes directly to cloud computing.

 Just think here about the large logistics networks, or also the networks of the new division of international labour, or tourist networks and oil, material and raw materials trade networks.

 Finally, for long time Israel’s new cybersecurity companies have much been operating in the Software Defined Perimeter (SDP).

 SDP is also called “black cloud”, a cyber-system that evolved from the studies conducted at the Defense Information Systems Agency, namely the Defense Communication Agency, established in 1960 and producer of countless communication-command-control systems for the US Armed Forces.

 The black cloud – probably developed in 2007 – is, in principle, a criterion for monitoring network security.

 At the beginning of operations, there is an alphanumeric paradigm in which the position and identity of what enters the SDP is checked, but this network is “black” precisely because it can never be traced from outside, or by unauthorized web third parties. Everything happens without ever externalizing an Internet Protocol (IP) or other information.

 In Israel’s current cybersecurity market, recently the most important sector in terms of investment has been the Internet of Things (IoT), which  last year totalled as many as 229.5 million US dollars.

 The Israeli government and private investors are very interested in the IoT, because it is versatile, but above all because it allows many industrial applications, for example in the drone network, in scientific research, in remote control and in medical therapies.

 There will also be IoT technological and application innovations both for management and for storage and distribution networks, but also for the wireless networks of administrative offices and for small specialized production.

 In 2018 one third of total investment went precisely to this sector, to the companies that deal with new network security-enhancement technologies.

 Again in 2018, 60% of the new entrepreneurs or founders of Israeli cyber start-ups already had over ten years of experience in the sector, both as executives and as analysts.

 Obviously, much of what is done in Israel stems from the excellent training that these technicians receive within the Armed Forces, in particular.

 What is the secret of this highly successful formula? First and foremost, the full synergy between the Armed Forces and Universities.

 Also this alone currently seems to be unattainable for our country.

 All this happens, in Italy, both due to the lack of regulatory flexibility and also to the absolute scarcity of funds, as well as to some short-sightedness of investors, who aim at the “product” and not at the new “system”, not to mention some general cultural backwardness.

  Also university backwardness especially in relation to the issues that entail a direct commitment of scientific research in the company and, which is even more severe, in the defence sector.

There is now a “Fund for supporting venture capital” available, included in the Government’s financial and budget package for 2019 – which, however, is technically a “reserve” of the Ministry for Economic Development (MISE), with 90 million euros to be allocated between 2019 and 2021.

 The government is supposed to finance this Fund with a 15% share of the dividends made by State-owned subsidiaries.

 All this seems to work slowly and as late as possible.

 However, the traditional standard of investment in the innovative start-up sector – 100 million euros a year – has remained stable in Italy for several years.

 It must be made clear, however, that this applies to all types of market technological innovation, not just cybersecurity.

 This pales into insignificance compared to the sums invested in Israel, only in the essential field of cybersecurity.

 The bilateral cyber working group between the United States and Israel is already operational, but only for the two countries.

 It was established upon the proposal put forward by Thomas Bossert, former US Homeland Security Advisor, at the 2017 Cyber ​​Week in Tel Aviv. Hence the idea of a bi-national network between the two countries (easier said than done) to counter cyberattacks.

  In his Tel Aviv speech, Bossert mentioned the Iranian attacks on the Sands Casino and Saudi Aramco, as well as the operations of North Korea, which had already attacked Sony. As Bossert underlined, those countries had certainly not the technological and operational refinement of Russia and China.

 Hence, for President Trump’s former consultant, as well as for Israel, the core of everything lies in cyberdefence, which in both countries is the backbone of cybersecurity.

 Another factor to consider when analysing the network of cybersecurity companies in Israel is the very high quality provided by the universities that, in some cases, have specialized in this sector, but always with a close and updated relationship with the Israeli Armed Forces.

 The working cycle of a manager in an Israeli start-up is traditionally military training, then specialization at university level and later creation of the various start-ups, whose products largely returnto the defence sector.

 The new companies are also excellent for generating private profits, but are even more useful in stabilizing the ongoing innovation that characterizes the whole sector.

 Much of the research that private individuals conduct, however, is not subject to disclosure.

 Here much of what comes from Israel is web intelligence, which is the type of research using Artificial Intelligence and Information Technology to build products, systems and procedures that can be reused on the Web.

 Therefore, this sector deals with a sum of data mining (which is the use of technologies that can discover semantic models in vast data collections) and information retrieval, i.e. the technology that discovers information in documents to search for both data and metadata, namely data on data.

 In this sector, however, a relevant role is played by predictive analysis, which uses many of the already mentioned techniques, albeit in a different way, to predict facts or behaviours, as can be easily imagined.

 Web intelligence and web monitoring, however, are used by the Israeli public or private analysts, with a view to checking on the Internet what each intelligence service does – perhaps using less refined methods: the probability of illegal leakage of sensitive data; the emergence of subjective and structural risks; the analysis on the Web of subjects of greater  positive or negative interest for the intelligence services; the possible unlawful disclosure of data by intelligence agents and operators or by people of interest; as well as what we currently tend to call Adversary Simulation.

  It is a technology based, first and foremost, on the actual exfiltration of the enemy’s data.

 Furthermore, adversary simulation operates through a “compromise clause” based on the fact that the enemy is skilful, capable and, in any case, already part of the Web.

 The technology we are talking about creates real-world indicators within one’s own and the attacker’s network. At this juncture, however, for many public and private users who buy it, this technology becomes the highest level for threat assessment and structured response to any threat.

An enhanced and innovative technique of strategic games, which obviously apply both to business and to defence.

 What currently changes in the Israeli cybersecurity technology is the possibility of adapting – for various levels of customers (and security) – the functions of the system and hence the potentials used by the Web.

 Therefore the solutions are always distributed, above all, in Software as a Service mode (SaaS).

 In the social media sector, which is extraordinarily important for its intelligence relevance and the possibility of data mining, the Israeli cybersecurity is willing to produce many avatars and online profiles to be later launched in the virtual world.

 On these structures, it is usually preferred to apply technical solutions that affect both the ordinary and the dark web.

 It should be recalled that the latter is the network composed of websites that do not appear in search engines.

 A network for security, certainly, but above all a Web aimed at the exploration of information, with a constant focus on dual-use technology and an evident primacy of the military sector over the civilian one, for obvious reasons.

Advisory Board Co-chair Honoris Causa Professor Giancarlo Elia Valori is an eminent Italian economist and businessman. He holds prestigious academic distinctions and national orders. Mr. Valori has lectured on international affairs and economics at the world’s leading universities such as Peking University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Yeshiva University in New York. He currently chairs “International World Group”, he is also the honorary president of Huawei Italy, economic adviser to the Chinese giant HNA Group. In 1992 he was appointed Officier de la Légion d’Honneur de la République Francaise, with this motivation: “A man who can see across borders to understand the world” and in 2002 he received the title “Honorable” of the Académie des Sciences de l’Institut de France. “

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Omani national security and the kind of political and military cooperation with the United States

Sajad Abedi

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Historical documentary evidence suggests that the United States has always had a strategic partner in the region. Oman is undoubtedly the closest Iranian southern neighbor to the Persian Gulf, with its common cultural and religious roots with the land of Iran. But it should be noted that the effects of convergence between the United States and Oman have an impact on Iran’s national security. Also, after the US Secretary of State Visits Oman and his visit to Sultan Qaboos and the Pompeo positions in Amman, the question is: How much is Oman to do with US sanctions against Iran?

Oman has a geographical isolation in the Arabian Peninsula. The country has only a frontier from its western region, and the three UAE, Saudi Arabia and Yemen are neighbors. On the other hand, the majority of the Abbasid religion of this country has led to its religious isolation in the Islamic world, and Wahhabism has entered into conflict with the followers of this religion several times since its inception, and still considers the abbots from the divergent difference of the Islamic world, And excuses.

Oman is relatively weak in the economic field, dependent on oil and the outside world. However, the Omani dealings with the United States are not high, and most of it is in the military arms sector. The demographic structure of this country, in particular the population of about 5% Shiite, who has a lot of strength and wealth, with the Baluchis, who have traveled to Oman many years before Iran, actually created a situation and the Omani government will not be in a relationship with Iran. If this issue is analyzed along with the influence of Wahhabism on the Omani population, it will be more important if it is to be analyzed.

It should be borne in mind that the Sunnis in Amman claim that they are the majority of the citizens of this country. Oman considers the Gulf Cooperation Council to be important in the framework of this cooperation, in addition to external problems, to prevent Arab aggression, the Omani are well aware of the history of Saudi Arabia’s deployment to its neighboring countries, and therefore the balance Power will not be pleasing to Saudi Arabia. Oman, which seeks to reduce dependence on oil and economic diversification in its 2020 and 2040 prospects, avoids any kind of conflict and conflict in the region, because the arrival of capital, tourists and goods, and services and manpower require security in this country. And stability in the region. They are working to strengthen Qatar in the Gulf Cooperation Council and are working with the United States to provide their own resources in the region, and because strengthening Qatar and removing Saudi and Qatari hostilities are in the interest of the country and necessary to curb Saudi Arabia. Greetings from the United States.

But the question is whether Oman can adopt an independent policy at the level of engagement with global powers such as the United States?

In August 2010, Oman and Iran signed a security agreement; of course, it cannot be said that the relations between Tehran and Muscat are generally without problems and is a full-fledged relationship; for example, the Oman navy does not participate in Iranian military maneuvers while Which is in the military maneuvers of the Gulf states, the United States, India and Pakistan. Oman has given America’s military partner its ports and bases. It has shown its willingness to participate in the US missile defense shield, which is aimed at creating security against Iran’s threat to the countries of the region.

From the point of view of Oman, the military conflict between the United States and Iran has a huge geopolitical and economic risk. To reduce this danger, the Omani government has acted as a bridge between Tehran and the West; that is why the Oman kingdom, unlike Saudi Arabia and some countries of the Cooperation Council, Which wants Iran to lose its position in the region, does not want Iran to be attacked by the military and tries to increase the capacity of Iran in the region by means of a synergy.

The geographic proximity of Iran and Oman in the Strait of Hormuz, Oman’s geographical remoteness from the Arab world, and the geopolitical and geopolitical importance of the Strait of Hormuz, Iran and Oman, have required good relations. Accordingly, and despite the fact that Oman has always had close ties with the United States, this has not had any effect on Iran’s friendly relations with the country. In fact, the different Muscat approach to the Tehran Cooperation Council has had a dramatic impact and has effectively reduced the influence of Riyadh on the smaller member states of the Council for the purpose of convergence, and undermined West’s efforts to isolate Tehran.

It should now be seen that in spite of important approaching variables such as geographic continuity, geopolitical situation in the region, oil, the need for stability in the region, and … the main causes of the security scene in the region.

In the past, in the context of security-related security with national power, there was a belief that with increasing military power security would increase, and with the number of military forces and equipment representing the power and security of each country, but now beliefs have changed and should be noted. National security is not a unilateral process that can only be increased by increasing its military power, but has a broad and comprehensive concept.

It is possible to maintain the national security of each political unit by increasing national power and balancing its constituent elements, and increasing one of these factors, if not accompanied by an increase in other factors, could threaten national security. In this regard, today, national security has taken a cross-border dimension; in other words, it is not just inside the border. Of course, security is not military power, so sometimes increased military strength reduces security and insecurity.

The Omanian kingdom has a different look at the position of the Gulf Cooperation Council on the issue of convergence; on the one hand, it contributes to economic issues within the framework of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council, but on the other hand, in foreign policy and disputes between the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council Persian countries has not entered and has been trying to play a role in the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council by assuming the role of the Hammer of Equilibrium. However, now it seems that, despite the differences between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, it is not very willing to remain in the Gulf Cooperation Council. This approach may lead to a gap in the Gulf Cooperation Council, and will split countries into two different blocks. In this regard, Muscat tries to maintain its impartiality in the internal conflicts of this council as well as the differences between Iran and Arab countries, while playing a positive role.

Now the kingdom of Oman is not willing to pay for the rest of the world; therefore, in view of Muscat, Egypt’s entry into the Gulf Cooperation Union is very dangerous. On the other hand, the Omani kingdom does not differ much with other countries, but it is not pleasing to Saudi policies (which are trying to dictate their policies to other Gulf States). The country has repeatedly objected to Saudi apparent interference in foreign policy of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and if the situation continues, it is foreseeable that the Gulf Cooperation Council will collapse in the future, and even Qatar, along with the Oman kingdom, will cooperate with the Co-operation Council Gulf exits and form an alliance with Lebanon, Iraq and Syria. In contrast, Bahrain, UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are on the other.

In the future, Muscat tries to maintain its impartiality and, in its relations with the United States, the European Union, Saudi Arabia, and …, continues its policies and tries to play a positive role in resolving regional crises, as The meetings of Iran and the Western countries over the past years with Oman’s administration show that the king wants to mediate Iran’s relations with the West.

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Tension in the Gulf: Not just maritime powder kegs

Dr. James M. Dorsey

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A recent interview in which Baloch National Movement chairman Khalil Baloch legitimized recent militant attacks on Iranian, Chinese and Pakistani targets is remarkable less for what he said and more for the fact that his remarks were published by a Saudi newspaper.

Speaking to Riyadh Daily, the English language sister of one of Saudi Arabia’s foremost newspapers, Al Riyadh, Mr. Baloch’s legitimization in the kingdom’s tightly controlled media constituted one more suggestion that Saudi Arabia may be tacitly supporting militants in Balochistan, a troubled Pakistani province that borders on Iran and is a crown jewel of China’s infrastructure and energy-driven Belt and Road initiative.

Riyadh Daily interviewed Mr. Baloch against the backdrop of heightened tensions between the United States and Iran that many fear could escalate into military conflict, past indications of Saudi support for religious militants in Balochistan, and suggestions that countries like the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are united in their opposition to Iran but differ on what outcome they want maximum pressure on the Islamic republic to produce.

The interview followed publication in 2017 by a Riyadh-based think tank with ties to Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman of a call by a Baloch nationalist for support for an insurgency in the Baloch-populated Iranian province that borders Pakistan and is home to the crucial Indian-backed port of Chabahar on the Arabian Sea.

It also juxtaposes with Pakistani anti-Shiite, anti-Iranian militants who operate madrassahs along the Iranian-Pakistani border reporting stepped up Saudi funding. The monies are believed to come in part from Saudi nationals of Baloch descent, but the militants suggest the funding has at least tacit government approval.

Balochistan has witnessed multiple attacks on its Hazara Shiite minority as well as in May on a highly secured luxury hotel frequented by Chinese nationals in the Chinese-backed Baloch port city of Gwadar and a convoy of Chinese engineers as well as the Chinese consulate in Karachi. Militants killed 14 people in April in an  assault on an Iranian revolutionary guards convoy and exploded in December a car bomb in Chabahar.

Saudi Arabia is also suspected of supporting the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, a controversial Iranian exile group that seeks the fall of the Iranian regime and enjoys support of senior Western politicians and former officials as well as US national security advisor John Bolton prior to his appointment and ex-Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal.

For now, tacit Saudi support for Baloch militants is likely to be more about putting potential building blocks in place rather than the result of a firm decision to wage a low-intensity proxy war.

“The recent escalation in militant attacks is a direct reaction to Pakistan army’s growing atrocities in Balochistan and China’s relentless plunder of Baloch resources,” Mr. Baloch said.

Asserting that the Pakistani part of Balochistan has been occupied by Pakistan since 1948, Mr. Baloch insisted that the “Baloch nation is resisting against this forced accession. This insurgency is the continuation of that.”

The alleged Saudi support coupled with plans for a US$10 billion Saudi investment in a refinery in Gwadar and a Baloch mine has sparked discussion in Beijing about the viability of China’s US$45 billion plus stake in the region’s security and stability.

Iranian officials see a pattern of foreign support for insurgents not only in Balochistan but also among Iran’s Kurdish, Arab and Azeri minorities. Their suspicions are fuelled by statements by Mr. Bolton prior to his appointment calling for support of insurgencies and Prince Mohammed’s vow that any battle between the Middle East’s two major rivals would be fought in Iran rather than Saudi Arabia.

Complicating the situation along Iran’s borders is the fact that like in the waters of the Gulf where naval assets are eyeing one another, it doesn’t take much for the situation to escalate out of control. That is particularly the case with Iran having shifted tactics from strategic patience to responding to perceived escalation with an escalation of its own.

Iran moreover has been preparing for a potential covert war waged by Saudi Arabia and possibly US-backed ethnic insurgent groups as well as the possibility of a direct military confrontation with the United States by building a network of underground military facilities along its borders with Pakistan and Iraq, according to Seyed Mohammad Marandi, an Iranian academic who frequently argues the Tehran government’s position in international media.

Iran recently released a video showcasing an underground bunker that houses its missile arsenal.

In a further heightening of tension, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards attacked on Friday Iranian armed opposition groups in the Kurdistan region of Iraq with drones and missiles. Iranian artillery separately shelled villages in a region populated not only by armed anti-Iranian and anti-Turkish Kurdish groups but also smugglers.

The strikes followed the killing of three Iranian revolutionary guards. A spokesman for the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) denied responsibility for their deaths.

The risk of escalation is enhanced by the fact that while the United States, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel agree on the principle of maximum pressure, they do not necessarily see eye to eye on what the end goal is.

While US President Donald J. Trump appears to want to force Iran back to the negotiating table, Israel and Mr. Bolton are believed to advocate gunning for regime change ignoring the risk that the effort could produce a government that is even less palatable to them.

That outcome would suit Saudi Arabia that does not want to see a regime emerge that would be embraced by Western nations and allowed to return to the international fold unfettered by sanctions.

A palatable government would turn Iran into a Middle Eastern powerhouse with a competitive edge vis a vis Saudi Arabia and complicate the kingdom’s ambition to become a major natural gas player and sustain its regional leadership role.

Writing in the Pakistan Security Report 2018, journalist Muhammad Akbar Notezai warned: “The more Pakistan slips into the Saudi orbit, the more its relations with Iran will worsen… If their borders remain troubled, anyone can fish in the troubled water.”

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Boko Haram and Frustration- Aggression Theory: A Potential Explanation

Larissa Beavers

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In the context of Boko Haram, it is vital to identify how Boko Haram resorted to extreme violent behavior. One theory that provides an understanding of such violent behavior is Frustration-Aggression Theory. This “holds that a group’s relative disadvantage in relation to others, which may be manifested in income inequality or hierarchical class, results in frustration which breeds grievance and aggression” (Iyekepolo, 2213). In the case of Boko Haram, this theory can arguably describe how frustration over Western education led to an increase in its aggressive behavior.

To understand Frustration-Aggression Theory further there must be comprehension on the term “frustration.” Frustration, as described by Berkowitz, is “an unpleasant, aversive stimulus which evokes negative affect by automatically eliciting cognitions that are associated with aggressive tendencies.” This view of frustration can provide insight into group motivations to justify acts of aggression. Recognizing these two important aspects of Frustration-Aggression Theory provides not only a background into Boko Haram,but a broad look into future potential attacks.

Application of Frustration-Aggression Theory

This research applies key aspects of frustration and aggression. First, the act of frustration defined as “blocking someone from gaining an expected gratification” (Dill and Anderson, 360). Second, aggression which is defined as “any behavior which is intended to injure the individual to whom it is directed” (Dill and Anderson, 360). These key aspects of Frustration-Aggression Theory provide in-depth knowledge into the decision-making process utilized by Boko Haram.

Boko Haram continues to feed off the economic conditions and frustrations of the Nigerian people. “The situation of poverty in Nigeria and Somalia, where Boko Haram [and Al Shabab] started, is worsened by the day-to-day paradox of mass poverty in the face of rich human and mineral resources.” (Ani and Ojakorotu, 12) This economic decline only fuels Boko Haram’s legitimacy and power. Not only does this fuel its status among African nations, it also increases the frustration of the Nigerian people against not only Boko Haram but the Nigerian government overall.

The level of poverty pervading the region also proved to be a factor in mobilizing the Boko Haram insurgency, as Mohammed Yusuf, the sect’s leader spoke regularly about it; arguing for devout Muslims to ‘migrate from the morally bankrupt society to a secluded place and establish an ideal Islamic society devoid of political corruption and moral deprivation (Iyekekepolo, 2215).

The economic conditions in which the many of the Nigerian people are still living became the foundational grounds for Boko Haram’s rise. The hardship the Nigerian government and its people have faced bred political corruption and moral deprivation. (Iyekekpolo, 2215)This continuous frustration from current economic conditions has also created more insight into Boko Haram’s increased aggression. Solomon Ayegba states this corruption is at the expense of the Nigerian people, which has resulted in the Boko Haram insurgency. (2015)

Boko Haram continued to gain legitimacy throughout Nigeria and neighboring states, which only increased the frustrations of citizens across West Africa. “The poor development status of Nigeria no doubt breeds an atmosphere of frustrated expectations and foster widespread indignation on the part of those that are trapped in the vortex circle of abject poverty.” (Mbasua, Musa and Fada, 96) Those imprisoned by Boko Haram’s terror are left more vulnerable to continued social and economic chaos. As the chaos continues to manifest, it leaves Nigeria not only socially and economically vulnerable but opens the gateway for political vulnerability.

Boko Haram was able to politically corrupt the Nigerian government by gaining a position of power. “A known senior member of Boko Haram, Late BojuFoi, was actually appointed a commissioner by former Governor Ali Modu Sheriff.” (Vaaseh, 407) The people of Nigeria now had more to fear than the current economic and social conditions. Political figures were now making promises to Boko Haram to provide support to “facilitate the actualization of their ideology.” (Vaaseh, 409)

The increased frustration of Boko Haram only led to more acts of violence. However, the target of Boko Haram’s aggression now turned more toward Nigerian security forces. Vaaseh explains “the inability of the politicians to keep to their promise of monthly salaries to the members angered them and the insurgents reacted severely by attacking security agents.” Boko Haram has used these political conditions to spread its ideology but has also capitalized off the lack of education throughout Nigeria proper. “In contemporary Nigeria, most, if not all, of the existing militant organizations are made up of a large percentage of uneducated and unemployed people who express frustration by the existing unbalanced structure of governance in the Nigerian federation.” (Vaaseh, 406)In an attempt to deal with these frustrations, Nigeria decided to form an organization called the Odua People’s Congress (OPC). However, the efforts to mitigate these frustrations ended in violent actions to pursue the organization’s objectives. Perhaps this is mere coincidence, but it more likely provides insight into the validity of Frustration-Aggression Theory and political/social violence within Nigeria.

There are many different manifestations of terrorism that emerge due to religious and ideological beliefs. In this form of extreme behavior, Boko Haram has been able to convince some of Nigerian society that the government is to blame for the overall social instability. “A number of them also blame the Nigerian Federal Government for poverty in the Northeast, thereby popularizing the idea that Boko Haram represents a symbol of the North’s struggle against political and economic marginalization.” (Ani and Ojakorotu, 20) This frustration has not only bred inequality amongst regional Nigerians but also deep psychological frustrations.

As the people continue to experience the economic and political frustrations of Boko Haram, they also experience their own psychological frustrations. Boko Haram has created a society in which people live in fear. “The populace had been deprived of their means of livelihood and this has become frustrating, resulting in aggression.” (Iyekekpolo, 2215) The people do not have the political and economic stability to combat Boko Haram. A vicious spiraling down cycle continues.

Boko Haram continues to launch attacks to intimidate the government and its citizens. The people of Nigeria attempt to live a normal life. However, the second and third order effects of Boko Haram’s terror impact daily living. “On 16 June 2011, the police headquarters in the capital Abuja was bombed, leading to a city-wide curfew.” (Elden, 416) This curfew was established to protect the Nigerian people and allow Nigerian forces to combat Boko Haram’s attacks. So, while Nigeria continues to strive for peace, education, and hope, the methods used can sometimes also become social chains that bind and constrain them.

Evaluation of Frustration-Aggression Theory

Frustration-Aggression Theory has been applied to explain the behaviors of foreign policymakers and those experiencing the violent attacks of Boko Haram. First, applying the Frustration-Aggression Theory framework, it can be hypothesized that foreign policymakers will be less likely to resort to violence towards Boko Haram. Therefore, not able to rely on external positive interference, Nigerians may also resort to alternative means to stop the spread of Islamic extremism due to their justified frustration with Boko Haram’s behavior and no formal governmental success in hindering it.

There are limitations to Frustration-Aggression Theory to consider, such as not all frustration breeds aggression. This study is also limited to evaluating extreme cases of frustration (i.e. corruption, terrorism). This theory is only used to evaluate Boko Haram and those influenced by the insurgency. Further application of this theory would research how Boko Haram perceives Western education as a threat to religious beliefs. Examination would include how Boko Haram exploits religious beliefs to gain sympathy to recruit members. Frustration-Aggression Theory could utilize the underlying frustration of religious intolerance and perceived colonization by the West to breed aggression.

Frustration-Aggression Theory provides knowledge and insight into the decision-making process of Boko Haram but also political members and citizens of Nigeria. Furthermore, it is imperative to recognize how Boko Haram knew such violent tactics would work. Understanding the efficacy of terrorism tactics can arguably shed light on producing new insights and new counter-measures that might lessen extremism on the ground and provide everyday Nigerians more of a fighting chance to create a stable and secure life amidst the chaos.

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