‘War in West Africa? Nigeria Ahead of the Elections’



Christian Whiton

Former Senior Advisor at the U.S. State Department

Sohrab Ahmari

Editorial Page Writer at The Wall Street Journal

Robin Simcox

Research Fellow at The Henry Jackson Society

TIME: 6 – 7pm, Tuesday 24 March 2015

VENUE: The Henry Jackson Society, 26th Floor, Millbank Tower, 21-24 Millbank, London, SW1P 4QP

For a summary of this event, click here

For a transcript of this event, click here

For a podcast of this event, click here

West Africa is in crisis. This applies particularly to Nigeria, where Boko Haram continues its terrorist rampage and swore allegiance to ISIS this month. On Saturday 28 March, Nigerians will vote in a delayed election and will choose between incumbent Goodluck Jonathan and challenger Muhammadu Buhari, who vows a crackdown on terrorists but has also supported Sharia.

British and U.S. military training forces were sent to the region after Boko Haram kidnapped 200 schoolgirls in May 2014.  This month, the new U.S. defence secretary suggested that allied combat efforts against ISIS could expand to Nigeria.  Will the military operation escalate and what kind of partner will the West find in Abuja after the election?

The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to invite you to a panel discussion with Christian Whiton, former U.S. State Department senior advisor and presidential campaign advisor; Sohrab Ahmari, Editorial Page Writer at The Wall Street Journal; and Robin Simcox, research fellow at The Henry Jackson Society. The speakers will outline the security challenges facing Nigeria, how the Boko Haram threat plays into domestic electoral dynamics and the significance of Boko Haram’s recent pledge of loyalty to ISIS within the wider jihadist movement.



Christian Whiton is the president of the Hamilton Foundation and is the author of Smart Power: Between Diplomacy and War. He was a State Department senior advisor during the George W. Bush administration and senior campaign advisor on the Newt Gingrich 2012 campaign. He writes and speaks frequently about confronting Islamism.

Sohrab Ahmari is an editorial-page writer for The Wall Street Journal, based in London. He joined the Journal in New York as an assistant books editor in 2012. Prior to that, he earned a law degree from Northeastern University in Boston and was a nonresident fellow at the Henry Jackson Society. Mr. Ahmari is co-editor of “Arab Spring Dreams,” an anthology of essays by young dissidents in the Middle East (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). In addition to the Journal, his writing has appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Weekly Standard and Commentary, among many other publications.

Robin Simcox is a research fellow at The Henry Jackson Society. He has spoken on a variety of platforms, including testifying to the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, and at the White House, National Counterterrorism Center, British Parliament, US Special Operations Command and the European Parliament. Simcox was previously a Research Fellow at the Centre for Social Cohesion, a think tank studying extremism and terrorism in the UK.


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