Designation of Foreign Terrorist Organizations: An Effective National Security Tool, or Symbolic Action?

The United States formally designated the Nigerian militant groups¬†Boko Haram¬†and Ansaru as Foreign Terrorist Organizations as of this past Wednesday, November 13th, bringing the total number of Foreign Terrorist Organizations officially recognized by the State Department to 53. While it is undisputed that Boko Haram and Ansaru both have lengthy records of engaging in terrorist activities, making the designation an appropriate classification of their activities, this designation is largely symbolic and will have little effect on the group’s activities and power. Continue reading