Friday, 27 February 2015

Cameroon and Chad pummeling Boko Haram

While the Nigerian Army regroups and reassess its challenging terrain in Maiduguru and surrounding provinces, Cameroonian and Chadian troops have stepped up full force fighting against Boko Haram. The insurgent turned terrorist organizations is taking every opportunity and advantage to create hell on earth for Nigeria. Cameroon and Chad are feeling the heavy ripple effects of Boko's deadly terror attacks on ordinary women and children from Maiduguru, Chibok, Kano and Yobe. Ordinary Nigerians have fled their homes and schools to border towns and refugee camps in Chad and Cameroon. Cameroonian troops are battling Boko Haram insurgents on the border including rescuing foreign nationals and the Cameroonian VP's wife. Cameroonians will not allow Boko Haram to destroy the country. Chad is also weary of Boko Haram pulling the country into another neighboring conflict. Chadian troops are currently serving on African Union peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic or Centrafrique. The AU mission is joined by an official yet self proclaim military mission by a 2,000+ French soldiers under Operation Sangris. France has been eyeballing and making certain that CAR's natural resources stays in its reach as France relies on uranium, diamonds and oil for its electricity and reserves. Back to Chad. Chadian troops are cooperating with Cameroon and Nigeria to pummel Boko Haram from forces at all three borders. Chad has also experience the tumult dog insurgency. The first insurgency occurred in the mid 1960s when rebel forces in Northern Chad complained of marginalization and neglect by the government in the capital in Ndjemena. France intervened then and again during the Toyota Wars between Chad and Libya over territorial claims to the Azouzou Strip. In recent times, Sudan has accused Chad of supporting rebels groups across Sudan. Chad has also called out Sudan for supporting long standing Chadian rebels and creating refugee crisis.

The African Union has formed  7,000 strong man mission to battle Boko Haram. The countries on call for the deployment are Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, Chad and Benin representing a mini ECOWAS intervention group. 

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Roosting chickens in Middle East and Africa

Fifty years ago, Malcolm X correctly spoke of the signifcance Foreign Policy had on the lives of ordinary Americans. In his "chickens come home to roost" answer to a question on race in America, Malcolm saw the consequences of ignoring violence and deaths on people of color in the U.S. and across the world. He understood that grievances no matter how small could not be overlooked or forgotten let alone forgiven. Soon or later, harming others would come back to strike you in a physical sense. Fifty years ago, the Untied States was safe from the boomerang effects of  wars and supporting proxy rebels in Asia, Middle East, Africa and Latin Americas. Pearl Harbor was the only time prior to 1993, that the U.S. had been attacked by a foreign power or group.

From the CIA Archives: Algeria and France the war for independence

Americans were taught that the oceans protected the country from foreign threats and retaliation for American military/intelligence interference in local conflicts across the world. Western European countries including France couldn't turn a blind eye so easily to the consequences. For fifty years, terror attacks from both right and left wing groups pompelled Paris and other European capitals. Algeria's independence in 1962 from France's long 130 year colonial rule nearly caused a coup in Paris against Charles De Gualle. Pied noir secret terrorist organization OAS bombed theaters and other public places in Algiers and Paris to protest France's withdrawal from occupying Algeria which was seen as part of France (it was referred to officially as a department) and not an independent African country. The OAS felt the French government had given in too easily (in light of one of the bloodiest and violent colonization and rule in African history) to Algerian freedom fighters and FLN militants fighting for independence. Even after 1962, France continued to support the use of military force to halt independence and freedom for other countries ie Vietnam, D.R. Congo, providing support for brutal paramilitary groups in Rwanda. backing Israel during the Suez Canal Crisis, at times siding with Israel on Palestine. Often following the United States on aggressive foreign police ventures in many African countries or Asia. Both countries supplying advanced military weapons and tactics to corrupt and authoritarian governments in Middle East and Arabian Peninsula who abused and murdered their own citizens. Than turning around to condemn popular groups who unlike ISIS are genuinely fighting for marginalized and abused people for fighting against Western allies no matter how oppressive. In more recent times French academic BHL, Sarkozy and half French literati supporting NATO bombings that have destroyed Libya and applauding Libyan rebel groups and revolutionaries who use excessive force on non political fellow Libyans and ethnic cleansing against dark skinned Libyans and African migrants to avenge their fallen comrades or purge the Libyan government of even slightly pro Gaddhafi supporters. Former president Jacque Chirac opposed the Anglo American invasion of Iraq that has turned the once stable Iraqi society into a fragmented and weak nation that acts as though superficial divisions along ethnicity and religious sects have always been part of Iraqi national identity.

Le contreterrorisme en Algerie: The death of French Algeria 

Now the same sectarian jack in the box has been unleashed in Syria one of the most diverse countries in the Middle East. Syrian's diverse identity from cultural to ethnic and historic heritage came as a surprise to policy makers, mainstream media pundits and journalists who discovered they couldn't easily frame Syria's war between rebels, civilians and Syrian national army into cliches of Sunni vs Shia or Christian vs Muslim. So ISIS has become the official existential terrorist threat to Syria and the wider world. ISIS is rightfully regarded as a threat to all governments. France's long history of intervening in the Middle East and than claiming political amnesia has made it a huge target second  only to the United States. ISIS has taken full advantage of the multiple injustices to receive supporters from near and far who have lived the experiences and been traumatized by NATO and Western interventions in both Middle East and Africa. Boko Haram too has build it's small supporter base around western military complex vices and caricaturing as the Nigerian government as puppets of the West. This is how Algeria's local terrorist groups FIS and Armed Islamic Group or GIA and now Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb have vowed to avenge the previous and current roosting chickens. GIA was one of the first terror groups who attempted to fly a passenger plane full of innocent civilians into a major national symbol the Eiffel Tower. French intelligence and government were able to halt the hijacking of Air France flight 8969 in what would've been the first 9/11 style terror attacks in a major Western capital. Terror attacks of epic proportion always brings media attention to groups who carryout the attacks. As history has shown, terrorism towards western targets brings to surface mantra of us vs them the worthy victims and collateral damages. Downplaying the successive French governments and media pundits have preached equality, democracy and peace not recognizing the double standards in mourning and praising victims of terror attacks by ISIS and Al Qaeda but footnoting the victims of terror attacks by Western allies or state counterterrorist actions.

Age of Terror: The Paris Plot 

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Seisimic Outrage against ISIS following Al Kasasbeh's Death

A child a daily candle light vigil for pilot

Jordan mourns Pilot's death

ISIS has shot itself in the foot. The heinous and brutal murder of Jordanian pilot Moaz al Kasasbeh has reverberated around the world with calls for revenge against ISIS. Jordanians (both civilian and military members) took to the streets in Amman denouncing ISIS and its takfiri supporters for their well documented violence. Al Kasasbeh's father joined protesters calling for ISIS' annihilation without mercy. Jordanian government is seeking to avenge his son and countless others' deaths. Jordan has already executed Sajida al Rishawi, the female Iraqi suicide bomber and another terror suspect on death row. It was reported that the online video of Al Kasasbeh's death was committed January 3rd to the shock of Al Kasasbeh's family. The Coalition countries have responded in kind by upping the levels of airstrikes against ISIS targets regardless if there are civilians on the ground in Syria and Iraq. France is currently flying recon missions against Boko Haram on Nigerian/Chad borders. ISIS' irrationality even turned the boogeyman of terror, Al Qadea away from it. Even the most extreme of Wahhabi preachers and clerics in Saudi Arabia or the kingdom (where ISIS' ideology emerges from) are enraged by the cruelty. One of the oldest universities in the world, the legendary Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt has called for ISIS to be "murdered and crucified" as its actions goes against Islamic teachings and is condemned widely in the Quran. In Islam, its forbidden to burn bodies even self immolation (burning one's self as few buddhists and protesters do in signs of protest) is considered crossing the boundaries of what is permissible. Killing one human being in Islam as in Christianity and Judaism is equivalent to killing all of humanity while taking the life of a Muslim is betrayal in its purest form. ISIS has already proven it has no humane recognition for Muslin, Yazidi, Christian or Jewish or secular lives. Many Muslims from all sects (its not just Sunni-Shia) have been killed in the hundreds to thousands by ISIS' extreme unbelievable destruction and killings. As Al Kasasbeh was burned in a cage, in the de facto capital Raqqah, ISIS supporters some as young as eight cheered, numbed to horrific scene. ISIS relies on a psychological warfare as much as physical operations to grab the world's attention. It knows that its actions brings about a world wide response and it pushes ordinary people's disgust and anxieties to breaking points.

Relatives of Moaz Al Kasasbeh hold up posters in hopes the pilot would be returned days before.

Many countries are trying to keep their citizens especially unemployed and frustrated youth both women and men from joining ISIS. France recently released an Anti ISIS film on the realities of joining the group. Meanwhile Canada halted what it regards as a possible mini ISIS terror sympathetic cell. Saudi Arabia too is trying to turn its returning fighters and future youth away from ISIS. Although the kingdom is the main one who gave birth to the extreme ideology and operations of ISIS. The United Arab Emirates have halted their bombings fearing their pilots and military personnel could easily face the same fate as Al Kasasbeh. Eventually, the UAE will possibly send its troops home.

Until their voices turn hoarse, imams, scholars, Islamic organization officials and leaders from around the world will continue to denounce ISIS and its actions. It should be reiteratated for the millionth time that ISIS is not in any way representative of even a small group of religious Muslims nor does ISIS' actions represent 1.3 billion Muslims across the world. 

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Japan on high alert Jordan panicking

Kenji Goto with Syrian children in North Aleppo last year.

After receiving the worst feared news, Japan is now on high alert being the latest Western country to do so. Japanese citizens and journalists had pleaded, prayed and called for the release of journalist Kenji Goto being held by ISIS. Despite the multilingual posters being held by Tokyo residents and other residents in major cities across Japan, Goto was still slain. The possible diplomatic channels and alternative methods for dealing with ISIS via a prisoner swamp still did not ease the anxiety Japanese leadership and society are currently feeling. Kenji Goto's family and mom Junko Ishido are broken and in tears from the delay to return their beloved son, husband and friend back home safely. Beyond the grief, Ms. Ishido has spoken out against hatred towards any group religious or ethnic. She continues to remind many media outlets that her son wanted to help people around the world including (Syria and Iraq) from children to families and speak about their lives in a human way. Hatred does no one any good. Hate feeds off the various phobias that have bred wars, xenophobia and racism as has been seen in the aftermath of terrorist attacks and threats. Junko Ishido's calm call has earner her praised from other Western media and larger Japanese society.

Road to Hajj: Muslims in Japan

Japanese Muslims are equally horrified by the news that Goto has been murdered by ISIS. Japanese Muslims have come out in the hundreds to condemn ISIS from all angles and remain the rest of the country that Muslims are part of Japanese society and condemn any act of violence against innocence people. At Tokyo's largest mosque, Tokyo Camii, Muslims who make up part of 110,000 strong community, have prayed for Kenji, his family and offered support.

Thousands of miles west of Japan, Jordan is also experiencing high anxiety levels and blood pressure awaiting to hear the whereabout of Jordanian hostage Moaz al Kasasbeh. Jordanians received the shocking news of Kenji Goto's death. Many Jordanians were stunned and disgusted as they have been by ISIS' cold blooded murders and tactics. Al Kasasbeh's family particularly his father are holding vigils while pleading with the Jordanian government to deliver their son back home. Al Kasasbeh neighbors and relatives are hoping their fears will not be realized. Posters have been made with "We are all Mauth" written in Arabic. Al Kasasbeh's father has spoken out against ISIS' actions and appealed to his son's patriotic duty to protect his country and family. Jordan like the Kurds, Iraqi, Syrian Armies are fighting against ISIS via airstrikes and bombing of ISIS targets. Jordan is part of the impromptu created coalition countries currently bombing ISIS into the ground in Iraq and Syria. All three countries are straining themselves to protect their borders and people. Jordan has considered swapping prisoners with ISIS but does not want to be directly responsible for any future operations that ISIS may carry out with prisoners are turned over to the group. Jordanian officials are hesistant to turn over Saija al Rishawi, the failed suicide bomber convicted as part of 2006 terror attacks on the Amman Hotel. Jordan hosts some of the largest refugee population in the world. It is home to hundreds of thousands of refugees from Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Lebanon. Each time a conflict happens in a neighboring country, Jordan is pulled into the faultlines.