Saturday, 17 May 2014

Western intervention in Nigeria too?

A two weeks long vigil by mothers and sisters isn't calling for intervention but Western leaders are

Foreign intervention in another African country? Even when the people didn't say yes to it?

The kidnapped Nigerian school girls have become the cause celebre of mainstream media, pundits, politicians, the thousands of women rights and feminista organizations and NGOs not to mention celebrities. Now that their interest in the school girls' dangerous hostage crisis has waned a little, French President Hollande along with the UK and US and a few other African leaders have vowed to crack down on Boko Haram. France who has already intervened and has its troops fighting in Mali, Cote d' Ivoire and Central African Republic all former colonies and still French speaking are taking the lead in calling for action against Boko Haram. The Paris conference on cooperation between France and Western African countries is mostly aimed at getting most if not all of the ECOWAS countries and other non ECOWAS countries to cooperate on a broad strategy for confronting Boko Haram. Ecomog is not included in the so called strategic plan and neither the plan created by Pan African consensus or ECOWAS. When the Liberian Civil War used terrorism ranging from kidnappings, bombings and rapes and forcing refugees to flee, cries for foreign intervention to halt the conflict never came from the West. Liberian and Sierra Leonan peoples' pleas for military intervention even if it meant sending in Western troops fell on deaf ears. Until Ecomog later Ecomil (incidentally made up of Nigerian troops) intervened in Liberian civil war from 1996-2003 to halt the rebel forces' terrorist campaigns against civilians and violent conflict from harming neighboring countries. Ecomog intervened in Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone in 1997 and 1999. The UN Mission to Liberia or UNMIL later replaced Ecomil/Ecomog forces from its seven year duties. The Liberian war ended in 2003 but not without destabilizing and destroying Sierra Leone and to a lesser extant Cote'd Ivoire. After eleven years, the UN is still providing assistance and aiding the government in development and transformative projects across the country. UN Peacekeepers also arrived in Sierra Leone in 2000. British troops followed after the UN Mission alongside the under Operation Palliser to halt RUF advancement and fighting and help trapped peacekeepers. Ecomog today is known as ECOWAS military. Malians originally opposed Ecowas' military intervention during the Taureg Azwad uprising that has since died down. However the Malian government welcomed the regional bloc's military help. As for intervening against Boko Haram, Ecowas is still in the process of hammering out a plan and getting Nigerian officials to agree on a possible intervention whether it be military or diplomatic. Ecomog's previous actions and questionable conduct during the 1990s conflicts and back and forth with Malian officials during talks on regional intervention, has even ECOWAS intelligence chief pondering if the bloc's military will be prepared to manage Boko Haram's surprisingly well trained and equipped army.

The War on Terrorism has long given the U.S. military its raison d' entre for military interventions in African countries it has long had friction and diplomatic clashes with Libya, Sudan and now South Sudan, Eritrea and Egypt with its military, the Muslim brotherhood and once Nasser and anti colonialism. With the exception of South Sudan, the shunned "rogue states" and outcast nations in American Foreign Policy playbook, have sought to maintain their revolutionary minded governments, socialist (which is different from communism) system as part of the non alignment movement that first emerged during the early days of the Cold War. France and UK are calling to deal with Boko Haram ie crush the terrorist group in the same manner as Al Qaeda who has since made a comeback in Syria and Iraq and is attempting to cause more havoc in Libya's huge security vacuum after Gaddhafi's fall three years ago. The U.S. wants to see Boko Haram smashed but is also hesitant. For every possible military intervention in an African country, U.S. is reminded of its unsuccessful military intervention in Somalia to deliver humanitarian aid to Somali civilians. It does make one question as to why a military force was necessary just to deliver aid to refugees and displaced people when in Libya, Syria and Central African Republic aid agencies and workers can deliver supplies without the same amount of protection as soldiers. As a matter of fact, the U.S. constantly used its failure in Somalia as a justification of why American troops would never be sent to intervening directly in any African country even if it had resources petroleum ie Libya or Sudan not to mention diamonds, uranium, strategic waterways, bases, etc. The only American official who is loudly calling for direct military intervention is Senator John McCain. McCain has become notorious for jumping up for US intervention nearly anywhere on the planet. Especially if resources or strategic geographies and complicated histories are involved.  

Indirectly, American intelligence has been eyeballing the social, economic and political environment in most if not all African countries for decades. The eyeballs of human assets from CIA and foreign affairs think tanks have also been aided by on the ground NGOs working on the Democratization and democratic reforms in the respective countries. Even if peoples in the said countries do not find American or Western style Democracy applicable to their society or culture. Its not to say Democracy is not popular. Military advisers have been monitoring the security situation and training local police and military. Remember the US advisers sent to Vietnam prior to heavy US involvement in the country beginning in 1964 after the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Now drones fly over Somalia and Yemen. The drones are aiding the war against the terrorists as military intelligence and defense pundits insist. In trying to locate the terrorists, hundreds of civilians majority of men, women and children have been killed. Thousands have been injured and disabled by the silent killers. 


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