Al Qaeda-affiliated Boko Haram is poised to overwhelm Borno state, the home in northeastern Nigeria to five million Kanuri and many other peoples, nearly all Muslims. Boko Haram threatens to establish an Islamic caliphate on the ferocious model of the Islamic State (IS)extremists active in Iraq and Syria -- and about which President Barack Obama gave an address to the US nation last week.

Two weeks ago, Boko Haram militants, possibly emboldened by the rapid transformation this summer of the IS from a band of rebels into a conqueror of northern and western Iraq, captured Bama (pop. 270,000), the second largest city in Borno, and Buni Yadi. Earlier they gained control of the towns of Banki, Gwoza, Dikwa, Marte and Damboa. Now, in a highly symbolic moment, Maiduguri, the two million strong capital of Borno, is vulnerable -- just as Mosul in Iraq was, to a swift takeover.

To read the full version of the article from Wilson Center Fellow Robert Rotberg, please visit: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/Africa-Monitor/2014/0910/Boko-Hara...