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Thread: Al-Qaeda in Africa (merged thread)

  1. #21
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    KingJaja,

    I believe you have it wrong when you confuse poverty as the cause for terrorism, because if that was true, if we eradicated poverty there would be no terrorism. In Iraq and Afghanistan you are confusing insurgents with terrorists, but hey our forces do that all the time. You make a good point though about local terrorists compared to transnational terrorists, but I still doubt poverty is the cause.

    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/1...76100500351318

    This research note explores aspects of the demand for terrorism using data from the Pew Research Center. With these data from 7,849 adult respondents persons within 14 Muslim countries, this article explores who supports terrorism. It is shown that females, younger persons, and those who believe Islam is under threat are more likely to support terrorism. Very poor respondents and those who believe that religious leaders should play a larger role in politics are less likely to support terrorism than others. Because these affects vary throughout the countries studies, it is argued that interventions must be highly tailored, using detailed demographic and psychographic data.
    http://www.hoover.org/publications/p...w/article/7371

    The experts have maintained for a long time that poverty does not cause terrorism and prosperity does not cure it. In the world’s 50 poorest countries there is little or no terrorism. A study by scholars Alan Krueger and Jitka Maleckova reached the conclusion that the terrorists are not poor people and do not come from poor societies. A Harvard economist has shown that economic growth is closely related to a society’s ability to manage conflicts. More recently, a study of India has demonstrated that terrorism in the subcontinent has occurred in the most prosperous (Punjab) and most egalitarian (Kashmir, with a poverty ratio of 3.5 compared with the national average of 26 percent) regions and that, on the other hand, the poorest regions such as North Bihar have been free of terrorism. In the Arab countries (such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, but also in North Africa), the terrorists originated not in the poorest and most neglected districts but hailed from places with concentrations of radical preachers. The backwardness, if any, was intellectual and cultural — not economic and social.

    These findings, however, have had little impact on public opinion (or on many politicians), and it is not difficult to see why. There is the general feeling that poverty and backwardness with all their concomitants are bad
    http://www.hks.harvard.edu/fs/aabadie/povterr.pdf

    The Harvard study

    http://www.nber.org/digest/may05/w10859.html

    After controlling for the level of political rights, fractionalization, and geography, Abadie concludes that per capita national income is not significantly associated with terrorism. He finds, though, that lower levels of political rights are linked to higher levels of terrorism countries with the highest levels of political rights are also the countries that suffer the lowest levels of terrorism. However, the relationship between the level of political rights and terrorism is not a simple linear one. Countries in an intermediate range of political rights experience a greater risk of terrorism than countries either with a very high degree of political rights or than severely authoritarian countries with very low levels of political rights.
    What shocks me is that our COIN doctrine is focused on development instead of the actual factors that drive the conflict. As one academic terrorism expert stated, our development efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan resulted in providing more money for the terrorists and insurgents, but did little to alleviate the true causes of the conflict.

    Where you may be right, is the secondary effects of poverty, which could be political polarization and greater social tension if a particular group is poor due to discrimination.
    Last edited by Bill Moore; 12-06-2011 at 09:07 AM.

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    I believe you have it wrong when you confuse poverty as the cause for terrorism, because if that was true, if we eradicated poverty there would be no terrorism. In Iraq and Afghanistan you are confusing insurgents with terrorists, but hey our forces do that all the time. You make a good point though about local terrorists compared to transnational terrorists, but I still doubt poverty is the cause.
    I don't agree with any of these reports.

    I live in Nigeria with 75 million Muslims and I can tell you that the Muslim parts of Nigeria where poverty and illiteracy rates are the highest are the most prone to terrorism. That is a fact.

    Of course the most vocal exponents of terrorism tend to be from the middle class, because they tend to have the best communication skills. But the soil in which terrorism thrives is poverty and frustration.

    Poverty and frustration triggered both terrorism in the Niger Delta and in Nigeria's North East. The Odua People's Congress in the South West has carpenters and motor park touts as its rank and file, but its mouth piece is a medical doctor.

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    Eradicating poverty and emphasising education will not eliminate terrorism, but it will drastically reduce it. The Sahel Region (an area larger in size than the USA) is on track to be a major terrorist breeding ground, if poverty and education are not taken seriously.

    The transition from madrassa student / almajiri (student of an itinerant religious scholar) to hired political thug (for less than $10 a day) to suicide bomber can occur (and is occurring) extremely rapidly in Northern Nigeria. On the other hand, the transition from engineering student to suicide bomber takes much longer and is much rarer.

    Secondly, there is no clear division between terrorism and insurgencies. It is generally accepted that poverty and frustration drives insurgencies and insurgents use terrorism as a tactic.

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    Poverty may well be associated with insurgency and the domestic use of terror tactics by insurgents... but that's hardly something that the US or the West need to be concerned with. At the end of the day the solution to insurgency - and thus domestic terrorism - in Nigeria is drastic reforms in the Nigerian government. In the absence of such reform, western attempts to alleviate poverty will only worsen the problem by allowing the government to avoid confronting the need for change.

    The US and the west need to worry about terrorism directed at the US and the west, and that doesn't seem reliably connected to poverty. Moot point in any event, as the US and the West can't really do much about poverty in Africa. That's a function of African governance and it needs to be addressed by Africans.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    The US and the west need to worry about terrorism directed at the US and the west, and that doesn't seem reliably connected to poverty. Moot point in any event, as the US and the West can't really do much about poverty in Africa. That's a function of African governance and it needs to be addressed by Africans.
    Exactly. My fears about terrorism are not your fears about terrorism. So when we talk about terrorism, we are talking about two different things.

    I really don't fear that some engineering student from Bradford will blow me or my children up, but I fear that some poor, uneducated, suicidal bigot will.

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    Posted by KingJaja,

    Exactly. My fears about terrorism are not your fears about terrorism. So when we talk about terrorism, we are talking about two different things.

    I really don't fear that some engineering student from Bradford will blow me or my children up, but I fear that some poor, uneducated, suicidal bigot will
    .

    Point taken.

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    I have wrestled with where to jump back into this discussion. This whole discussion around "cause" is complex, regional, and, so far, without a solution, yet it remains one of the current, major issues to be solved on the planet. Kaplan's chaos and anarchy either reign or are on the horizon in many parts of the world. Terrorists are right in the middle of it.

    I do know from experience here in the states, that many of our home grown terrorists came from families with money and they were highly educated, from the Weather Underground, SLA, and others. There is always the "redneck" factor that is more based on racial hatred then against the seats of power. However, none of these home grown terrorist gained much, if any, popular support.

    Terrorists gain popular support where poverty exists. They promise aid or a better way of life to the poor and blame the mess on the seats of power. The poor are looking for hope and grab onto it. These terrorists are very persuasive. There arguments make more sense in the face of poverty. When the terrorists have popular or regional support they can stay hidden longer, get the supplies they need and recruit many many more people into their ranks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Poverty may well be associated with insurgency and the domestic use of terror tactics by insurgents... but that's hardly something that the US or the West need to be concerned with.
    I guess this is where my global citizenship comes in. Where people suffer, I should be concerned and do what I can to be part of the solution. The other side of the story, a reality, is that the US will be impacted soon or later by the unrest that terrorists are a part of.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    At the end of the day the solution to insurgency - and thus domestic terrorism - in Nigeria is drastic reforms in the Nigerian government. In the absence of such reform, western attempts to alleviate poverty will only worsen the problem by allowing the government to avoid confronting the need for change.
    We can help alleviate poverty by not being concerned only about our interests. That view of the world has only heightened and in some cases caused the poverty in some regions of the world. Africa has some of the largest deposits of natural resources, we in the West gobble them up and pay scant attention to the poor in the very regions that give us the natural resources. That all sound harsh, but it is part of the reality. Right now, there are westerners and Chinese as well buying up large tracts of land and water to aid the West and China, not those who have the land and are in poverty.

    Granted, the traditional and most often used standard practices for alleviating poverty have not worked. Most of it has gone on with little or no dialog with local people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    The US and the west need to worry about terrorism directed at the US and the west, and that doesn't seem reliably connected to poverty. Moot point in any event, as the US and the West can't really do much about poverty in Africa. That's a function of African governance and it needs to be addressed by Africans.
    Agreed. That does not mean that outside help is useless. There are ways of empowering people, without leading the movement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chowing View Post
    This whole discussion around "cause" is complex, regional, and, so far, without a solution, yet it remains one of the current, major issues to be solved on the planet. Kaplan's chaos and anarchy either reign or are on the horizon in many parts of the world. Terrorists are right in the middle of it.
    It seems to me that chaos and anarchy have receded substantially in much of the world, and that many parts of the world that were once widely threatened by them - notably east Asia and Latin America are now relatively stable, after decades of chaos during the Cold War.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chowing View Post
    Terrorists gain popular support where poverty exists. They promise aid or a better way of life to the poor and blame the mess on the seats of power. The poor are looking for hope and grab onto it. These terrorists are very persuasive. There arguments make more sense in the face of poverty. When the terrorists have popular or regional support they can stay hidden longer, get the supplies they need and recruit many many more people into their ranks.
    I think it's unproductive and possibly dangerous to lump "terrorists" into a single category. In many places "terrorists" are insurgents adopting terror as a tactic to drive their struggle against governments that have often earned the opposition. It's very difficult for an outside power to address this without taking sides in a domestic quarrel, and I think in virtually all such cases the US and allies should minimize involvement.

    Then you have what might be called "pure terrorists", where terrorism is not adopted as a reaction to oppressive government, but is adopted in a proactive effort to impose an internationalist agenda. That's the terrorism the US and other outside parties need to worry about, and the link between that type of terrorism and poverty remains very tenuous.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chowing View Post
    I guess this is where my global citizenship comes in. Where people suffer, I should be concerned and do what I can to be part of the solution. The other side of the story, a reality, is that the US will be impacted soon or later by the unrest that terrorists are a part of.
    Individual commitment may be admirable, but I think an official US policy of pushing in and trying to "fix" these environments would do more harm than good.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chowing View Post
    We can help alleviate poverty by not being concerned only about our interests. That view of the world has only heightened and in some cases caused the poverty in some regions of the world. Africa has some of the largest deposits of natural resources, we in the West gobble them up and pay scant attention to the poor in the very regions that give us the natural resources. That all sound harsh, but it is part of the reality. Right now, there are westerners and Chinese as well buying up large tracts of land and water to aid the West and China, not those who have the land and are in poverty.
    I have doubts about this. Certainly there are things the West can do. If the US and Europe would abandon agricultural subsidies and trade obstructions designed to promote their own exports and obstruct imports from the developing world, for example, that would certainly help.

    Ultimately, though, the problem is not that the West is concerned only with their interests, the problem is that the elites who govern Africa are concerned only with their interests. Paying attention to the poor is not reasonably the responsibility of an outside investor: they're supposed to negotiate a deal with the government that gives the government a reasonable share of the profits that will let the government do its job. Foreign parties, official or private, cannot be expected to take on governance responsibilities.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chowing View Post
    Granted, the traditional and most often used standard practices for alleviating poverty have not worked. Most of it has gone on with little or no dialog with local people.
    I think they fail because they are not considered consistent with the interest of local governing elites, who do everything in power to preserve their own control.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chowing View Post
    Agreed. That does not mean that outside help is useless. There are ways of empowering people, without leading the movement.
    Maybe not useless, but not a game-changer either. Possibly 30+ years around the aid industry have left me excessively cynical.

    I live in an indigenous community in a developing country. We've a constant stream of well-meaning pinks coming through with various plans to empower us. Most leave with no visible impact, though they always seem to leave feeling very good about themselves. Ultimately you can't empower people, they have to empower themselves. Unfor
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

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    Default Terrorism in Africa - 2012 Predictions

    Here are my predictions for terrorism in Africa in 2012 from my blog www.terrorisminafrica.com

    The next twelve months will most likely see the LRA being snuffed out or reduced into a very small, yet no less violent, local threat in the CAR, but far off its course of destabilizing or overthrowing the Ugandan government.

    The AQIM will not go much beyond their occasional abduction of foreigners, yet the MOJWA splitter group has threatened to step up jihadist operations in West Africa. They could well keep their word and become Africa’s newest terrorist threat. The deadly wild card here is the large number of Libyan weapons that have found their way into north Africa and the Sahel.

    Al-Shabaab will continue to be kept somewhat in check in Somalia, but they could reach deep into Kenya or Uganda in an attempt to intimidate those countries’ or cause over reactions by them or the United States resulting on easier recruitment of Muslims within East Africa. As long as Somalia remains void of an effective central government, the more chance that al-Qaeda will use it for training and hiding out. If the 2012 election in Kenya turns violent as it did last time, it could be a distraction to role in Somalia.

    Boko Haram will remain the most active terrorist group in Africa with its operations confined to Nigeria. Its operations may well ignite a widespread civil battle between Nigeria’s Christians and Muslims. The rumored involvement by the United States could become a reality if the oil rich Delta region falls into turmoil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chowing View Post
    Boko Haram will remain the most active terrorist group in Africa with its operations confined to Nigeria. Its operations may well ignite a widespread civil battle between Nigeria’s Christians and Muslims. The rumored involvement by the United States could become a reality if the oil rich Delta region falls into turmoil.
    I don't wish to quibble with your predictions, but, Boko Haram isn't even in the top 50 list. In fact, I can't find a single secure source that even lists them as anything ? Who established them as terrorists ?

    You are also well aware of the fact that the Christians and Muslims have been doing church bombings well before (2 or even 3 decades) Boko Haram came to be. Right ?

    What rumored USA assistance are you referring to? USG links please.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    What rumored USA assistance are you referring to? USG links please.
    There is a rumor of imminent US involvement in every corner of the planet. I understand that in the deepest south the Penguins are expecting ANTARCTICOM aggression any day now.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    There is a rumor of imminent US involvement in every corner of the planet. I understand that in the deepest south the Penguins are expecting ANTARCTICOM aggression any day now.
    Nah, no drone support so they won't make a move. Not enough Predators to go around.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Nah, no drone support so they won't make a move. Not enough Predators to go around.
    Yes, but you'll never convince the Penguins of that. They know otherwise. Something about multinational corporations wanting their ice...
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    I was unable to find the new COCOM, so this will have to do

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    There is a rumor of imminent US involvement in every corner of the planet. I understand that in the deepest south the Penguins are expecting ANTARCTICOM aggression any day now.
    Attached Images Attached Images
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    Default "That Penquin ...

    is a Spy !" - "Doth sayeth you all, members of the Penquin Jury ?"

    Indeed, they did so sayeth - shortly before they were all eaten.

    Occasionally, even paranoiacs have real enemies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    I don't wish to quibble with your predictions, but, Boko Haram isn't even in the top 50 list. In fact, I can't find a single secure source that even lists them as anything ? Who established them as terrorists ?
    Top 50 list of what? The are local terrorists. There very operations make them such. What I say is, "Boko Haram is the most ACTIVE terrorist group on the planet." Ok, that may be a bit of stretch, I am not as aware of the world as I am Africa. Yet, one would be hard pressed to find as many operations carried out by any group over the past 6 months.

    It is no surprise that, to me, that Boko Haram does not appear on any "top 50 list", if such exists. Americans and westerners are mostly unaware of or discount much of what goes on in Africa.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    You are also well aware of the fact that the Christians and Muslims have been doing church bombings well before (2 or even 3 decades) Boko Haram came to be. Right ?
    Exactly, I am not ignorant or unaware of that fact. What Nigeria is on the verge of right now is a much wider spread battle between Christians and Muslims than has been seen there in recent history. Many who live there see this coming, in fact it may well already be spreading.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    What rumored USA assistance are you referring to? USG links please.
    If there were a USG link for it, it wouldn't be a rumor would it? The rumors about US involvement have been discussed right here on this forum in the Nigeria area. It is a rumor, sure not much different than rumors of involvement elsewhere. The only difference is Nigeria is Africa's most populous country, there is substantial oil heading for the USA everyday from Nigeria's Delta region. Are our memories too short to remember what oil has to do with US military involvement? But still it is only a rumor, don't get so upset, YET.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chowing View Post
    Top 50 list of what? The are local terrorists. There very operations make them such. What I say is, "Boko Haram is the most ACTIVE terrorist group on the planet." Ok, that may be a bit of stretch, I am not as aware of the world as I am Africa. Yet, one would be hard pressed to find as many operations carried out by any group over the past 6 months.

    It is no surprise that, to me, that Boko Haram does not appear on any "top 50 list", if such exists. Americans and westerners are mostly unaware of or discount much of what goes on in Africa.
    Just a few of the watch lists that you can freely access, which include Africa, are as follows:

    CDI Terrorism Project


    U.S.-Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations

    Not sure what you conclude is a "local terrorist" and why their operations are so unique (communal tension, radical and anti-West, robbing banks, blowing up churches and shooting government employees as if these are something new to the region). If Boko Haram was in fact the most active terrorist group on the planet, they would certainly have made one of the lists. I beg to differ on who has carried out the greatest number of operations over a 6-month period (assuming this is part of the criteria).

    One of the reasons I am concerned about said predictions and false perceptions is, if they have yet to act like terrorists or even be slightly classified as such, they are not even on the radar screen and all this hyperbole about perceived US intervention is Bravo Sierra. Yes, this may change and when that day comes, let the presumptions fly !

    Quote Originally Posted by Chowing View Post
    Exactly, I am not ignorant or unaware of that fact. What Nigeria is on the verge of right now is a much wider spread battle between Christians and Muslims than has been seen there in recent history. Many who live there see this coming, in fact it may well already be spreading.
    And you contribute that to exactly what ? I see it as nothing more than the "political powers to be" playing on the same fears and ignorance as they have done for four decades following independence. It is more about the dictatorship than it is about the impoverished.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chowing View Post
    If there were a USG link for it, it wouldn't be a rumor would it? The rumors about US involvement have been discussed right here on this forum in the Nigeria area. It is a rumor, sure not much different than rumors of involvement elsewhere. The only difference is Nigeria is Africa's most populous country, there is substantial oil heading for the USA everyday from Nigeria's Delta region. Are our memories too short to remember what oil has to do with US military involvement? But still it is only a rumor, don't get so upset, YET.
    I don’t believe we discussed rumors of US intervention as much as we have discussed the need for the West to stay out of Nigeria’s mess. Going over State and other USG sources does not reveal even the slightest hint of assistance. Stirring the pot is not helping.

    How much oil do you conclude is substantial ?

    Nigeria is dead last on the list of major oil exporters to the USA and even that list only accounts for 69% of total imports. (BTW, Canada is still the number one exporter to the USA.)

    I’d love to have something solid to chomp on regarding oil and US Military involvement. You must have meant to say USG involvement because you certainly know that the US Military does not dictate her destinations and fights. Don’t you ?
    Last edited by Stan; 01-03-2012 at 03:38 PM.
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    I don't think anyone in the US government or military is seriously contemplating involvement in Nigeria. Last thing most of them would want, really. That of course will not stop rumors and speculation.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post

    Not sure what you conclude is a "local terrorist" and why their operations are so unique (communal tension, radical and anti-West, robbing banks, blowing up churches and shooting government employees as if these are something new to the region).
    Boko Haram is considered a terrorist group by many. Here is a recent source
    For those reading the news about Africa, both of you, Nigeria is under terrorist attack and preparing military operations against a group called Boko Haram, an Islamic group from the North, more accurately centered in Niger, a nation to the north, a cesspool of international intrigue.
    This comes from Gordon Duff, Senior Editor of Veteran's Day Journal http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/11...r-destruction/

    and all this hyperbole about perceived US intervention is Bravo Sierra. Yes, this may change and when that day comes, let the presumptions fly !
    I merely said it was a rumor, a rumor. There have been enough places, including here, that such has been talked about. I never called it a fact or anything close to it.

    And you contribute that to exactly what ? I see it as nothing more than the "political powers to be" playing on the same fears and ignorance as they have done for four decades following independence. It is more about the dictatorship than it is about the impoverished.
    Bombs going off and killing people and Boko Haram claiming that they were responsible, that is a WHOLE LOT MORE than political powers playing of fears.

    How much oil do you conclude is substantial? Nigeria is dead last on the list of major oil exporters to the USA and even that list only accounts for 69% of total imports. (BTW, Canada is still the number one exporter to the USA.)
    To make the list at all, means 'substantial.'

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    Chowing,
    I know you and I don't always see eye-to-eye herein, but you do tend to make your point.

    Gordon Duff is a source ? Have you read his other stuff ?

    I prefer factual evidence and I'm anal about that as is happens to be my job.
    So when one says "bombs" and "rumor" to me that's just vague. The forensic evidence clearly indicates the use of military ordnance and rumor is just that.

    Of course the Christians are in the process of fighting back as they have for years. I would expect nothing less. But, that doesn't immediately translate into terrorism IMO.

    Some of us clearly disagree on whether or not the events are norm, or, on the road to escalation. The Nigeria thread is booming and your participation there would be most welcome - your call.

    EDIT: I'm done posting here
    Last edited by Stan; 01-09-2012 at 08:53 PM.
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