More than meets the eye in Nigeria…


"Unlike previous Boko Haram attacks, the international pressure on Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is growing because of the #bringbackourgirls Twitter campaign. Protests are increasing due to the government’s indifference to the plight of the schoolgirls and statements in support of the schoolgirls from foreign and domestic leaders. This pressure came at the same time that the World Economic Forum took place in Abuja on May 7, 2014, and the Nigerian presidential campaign for the February 2015 elections is picking up pace. If this pressure continues to mount, Jonathan and his political team or the military may seek to resolve the kidnapping issue – with at least some of the girls being released – and reduce its media presence to prevent the story from undermining Jonathan’s likely re-election bid or tarring Nigeria’s credibility. For example, on May 12 the government reportedly denied the minister of interior’s statement that the government would “not negotiate” with Boko Haram (The Eagle, May 12)."  Jamestown Foundation


Now we have McCain saying that the US should launch a rescue operation in Nigeria whether or not it has the agreement of the Nigerian government.   What a great idea!  Arizona likes what he does and says?  In that circumstance we might easily find ourselves fighting the Nigerian military as well as Boko Haram and Ansaru. Where would the sustaining base for such operations be located and how would the base itself be sustained.  To paraphase something George Marshall asked Patton in the midst of the campaign in France, where would the railhead be?  In this case where would the line of supply from a major port be located and secured?  

I will say again that IMO there is a lot of below the table style business going on in this situation between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram  The lack of reaction at first on the part of Goodluck Jonathan and then the hostile reaction of his wife to demands for action have been followed by statements that the Nigerian govenment is willing to negotiate with Boko Haram.

IMO the fix is in and if the US stays out of the way most of these girls will eventually be released in a sub rosa deal that effectively partitions Nigeria.  pl

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23 Responses to More than meets the eye in Nigeria…

  1. Fred says:

    Is Boko Haram an actual organic ‘movement’ or another branch of the Wahhabi funded “tree”?
    On a personal note I would like to say it is refreshing to see the Senatorial courage of lifetime politicians like Senators Coons and Menendez used in demanding the armed forces of the United States go to a foreign country to fight because that nation failed to respond to a twitter campaign soon enough to please the people of Delaware or New Jersey. Will they be asking the people of Delaware and New Jersey to sign up for the fight or isn’t that worth a twitter hash tag campaign?

  2. The Twisted Genius says:

    I think you’re right. That Jamestown Foundation article is very good. The entire Sahel region across Africa ’tis a puzzlement to our politicians and most citizens. It’s in a state of constant flux with no leaders or groups easily classified as good guys or bad guys. Many of our politicians and most of our citizens just can’t fathom that reality.
    When I was first assigned to DIA, I worked in the Middle East – Africa Division. It seems we were involved in organizing a NEO in Africa every other month. Our Defense Attaches were pretty much the only game in town since the CIA pulled most of their stations out shortly before that time.

  3. Tyler says:

    I heard McCain’s comments on 92.3 and about drove over the median into the other side of the I-10. I honestly don’t see how this jackal survives another election. There’s been too many town halls with him red faced and screaming at another senior citizen/rancher/etc about how “they don’t get it”. This after “buld da dang funce” and all the other posturing.
    However I also thought it was pretty transparent that Flake was a pro amnesty empty suit but the shock and awe around here when he came out in favor of the treason made it clear that people actually thought he was who he said he was. HAH!

  4. The Twisted Genius says:

    Boko Haram started as a locally supported and funded (through kidnapping ransoms) group and remains mostly a local group. Gulf money is now finding its way into Boko Haram’s coffers and AQIM is also insinuating itself into the group. The same thing happened in Mali. Nothing would help the situation more than picking the pockets of the Gulf sheiks looking to influence all these groups with their money.

  5. RetiredPatriot says:

    IMO the fix is in and if the US stays out of the way most of these girls will eventually be released in a sub rosa deal that effectively partitions Nigeria.
    Perhaps the real reason why so suddenly, bringbackourgirls(TM) is such an important issue of foreign policy? Nigeria is a major source of US oil imports and certainly there are many who do not wish to see such partition or further destabilization. Seems very in the pattern for neo-cons/R2Pers to use “egregious” inhuman acts as a front for hidden advancement of more nefarious policies they support.
    I wonder when bringbackboweberghdal will becoming important?

  6. nick b says:

    While Nigeria is still the largest oil producer in Africa, US imports of Nigerian oil have fallen steadily this decade, down ~75% since 2010. They fell out of our top five sometime in 2012. Nigerian oil imports in 2013 made up about 4% of total US oil imports.

  7. Omo naija says:

    Anyone who knows Nigerian history will be well aware of the various “wars” on Christians (the chibok girls are), those from the south and representatives of the National government – Police/military by various Islamic groups. My earliest recollection is the Maitasine attacks in Kano in the early 80s. The difference now is the link to the global Islamic terror movement reflected in the quality of weapons, training and attacks.
    When you think of Nigeria. Think of the North as culturally and economically – Afghanistan – severe poverty with an aversion to western norms. The south as western facing and the intellectual and economic engine of the country. High poverty levels as well, but people striving to move up the social and economic ladder via trade and the power of education.
    Some have argued that crushing poverty is the cause – poverty levels are similarly high in the south and we don’t go about killing others. There is a culture of perverse violence against others in the North encouraged by their thieving elite to distract the population. Add in the mix of extreme Islamic ideology you have your boko haram and other groups.
    Another factor is local politics. Goodluck is President by accident. Nigeria effectively runs a rotational presidency. South this round, north the next. With ethic and religious balance enforced. A Muslim President now means a Christian the next. Good luck was Vice President to a Northern Muslim President Yar Adua – a man with a severe kidney condition who eventually died in office.
    For months he was holed up in Saudi Arabia with his wife and other Northern representatives refusing to acknowledge the terminal nature of his condition. Acknowledgement meant transfer of power before his term was up to his southern Vice – Goodluck. Nigeria was in the absurd position of the wife of the President effectively running the country from Saudi Arabia until public outcry of an absent President forced the ceding of power to Goodluck. The North only had 2years of what would have been an 8 year run (re election assured for another 4year term). Good luck was expected to see out the term and allow a Northern candidate to run for the Presidency – he refused and his now running for reelection.
    Since that announcement there have been multiple attempts to undermine his effort. Bearing in mind the silence of the northern oligarchy to the violence, it’s not far fetch to assume some tacit support for boko haram.
    Goodluck is a hapless character that the Presidency fell on his laps and has failed to rise up to the occasion. He is clueless and certainly not the best the south can produce thus the source of some opposition from the south as well.
    The military is ill equipped to mount a sustained attack on these groups. Decades of degradation of its capabilities to avoid coups has not helped. Mindless corruption of the weapons acquisition process and military senior officers skimming funds is another source. Hopefully this event might help a bit – I hope.
    Formal partition is out of the question. Nigeria as an entity will survive. Why?
    1) There is nothing in the North. Nothing. Everyone feeds off the oil wells from the southeast. Partitioning the north from the south condemns the Northern elite and shuts off their source of funds. Now, some from the south Will be happy if it happens (shedding a deadweight) but it’s unlikely.
    2) A large part of the population is invested in the idea of Nigeria. That means a lot.
    3) Any partition will be a very violent process with a potential domino effect such that other ethnic groups with the natural resources – oil/gas will seek to finally split from Nigeria. Elite rent seekers will not allow that. Similarly US/UK will not allow it. Too disruptive for the region.
    My take. This will pass. Boko haram will be soundly defeated only for another group to emerge and the circle of violence continues.

  8. Valissa says:

    Twin Boko Haram Attacks In Cameroon And Nigeria Push African Leaders To Declare War
    With France taking the lead role… Africa leaders declare ‘war’ on Nigeria Boko Haram
    For your Sunday amusement… ‘Executed’ ex-girlfriend of Kim Jong-un makes TV comeback

  9. ikonoklast says:

    Fred –
    I don’t have a twitter account. However, I think I may start one – hashtag “Send McCain, Menendez, Kristof, Michelle and Coons to Nigeria to fight for their ‘principles.”
    Also … re: Michelle Obama. I’m fairly certain that one could find a couple hundred young ladies arguably being held against their will in prostitution within a small radius of DC. Why not do something about that, if you’re so effing concerned? Oh, no need for the military in this scenario? No votes based on emotion regardless of the geopolitical realities?

  10. The Twisted Genius says:

    Omo naija,
    I think you’re right. It will pass and there won’t be a partition for the reasons you cite. However, I doubt Boko Haram, or whatever it morphs into, will go away, especially if its relationship with AQIM and their Gulf benefactors strengthens. The circle of violence will continue.
    I still remember the late 60s TV reports on the Nigerian Civil War, or what the U.S. press always called the Biafran War. That conflict had some very interesting alignments.

  11. Fred says:

    Of course Michelle Obama is concerned about other young ladies. Why just recently her husband’s administration released a ‘report’ about sexual assault on college campuses.
    She hasn’t asked her husband why the AG hasn’t gone after a single college president for creating an environment where 20% of women are victims of sexual assault. No as I recall she got on the everyone needs a college degree bandwagon.

  12. turcopolier says:

    I said a de facro partition. The oilies will not bject to that if it makes their ops more secure. Pl

  13. The Twisted Genius says:

    Ah, yes. A defacto partition. I see the difference. It seems the defacto partition along religious/cultural lines and sharia/non-sharia states is pretty much in place.

  14. Omonaija says:

    Not useful data. Oil is a global market, shutting off or disrupting supply of Nigerian sweet crude will impact global oil prices nobody wants that during this tenuous economic period.

  15. Valissa says:

    Finally found a good background article on the overall situation in Nigeria and esp. the power games between the northern and southern Nigerian elites and their “power tools” Boko Haram (N) and MEND (S).
    Cattle rustling, bunkering and the likelihood of a ’Colonel’s Coup’… it’s a complex tale.
    What is Boko Haram and whence did it arise?

  16. Omonaija says:

    The oillies don’t care, they’ve moved offshore. Shell has been selling its land based assets at a rapid pace to local and international parties to concentrate on its offshore assets. Same plan by other oil companies.

  17. turcopolier says:

    Because I was purged from DIA by the neocons and Clapper I needed employment and disgraced myself by being an international business executive. As such a creature I understand the mentality that has moved business off-shore. Nevertheless, the oilies will not resist de facto partition . All that counts for them is money. pl

  18. The Twisted Genius says:

    “Because I was purged from DIA by the neocons and Clapper I needed employment and disgraced myself by being an international business executive.”
    That gave me a good laugh. You drolly make yourself sound like one of Robert Service’s “men that don’t fit in.”

  19. turcopolier says:

    I am sorry for the maudlin applicability of the verse. pl

  20. Omonaija says:

    Good article overall except the last paragraphs on a colonel coup. If there is anything one can claim as progress is an army hierarchy that has accepted it has no overt role governing.
    I’ll put a stake in the ground – there will NOT be a coup in Nigeria. They can’t pull it off.

  21. kxd says:

    I seem to recall a George Carlin skit where is said going after drug dealers with the fear of the death penalty was futile as these guys were already killing each other anyway so why fear the death penalty? He suggested that we should go after the bankers that launder the money instead, then we’d start seeing some real change. Maybe we should adopt this principle with the Gulf sheiks who like to fund these various groups.

  22. nick b says:

    You miss my point. The US is becoming a much larger oil producer in its own right, and of the same the type and quality of oil that comes from Nigeria: sweet crude. As a result of our own bounty and the security situation and instability of supply in Nigeria, US imports of Nigerian oil have and will continue to decline. Therefore Nigeria’s relevance to our energy security is diminished and along with it justification for US intervention there based on oil production alone.

  23. Ray Phenicie says:

    “Now we have McCain saying that the US should launch a rescue operation in Nigeria whether or not it has the agreement of the Nigerian government.”
    Sending U. S. Military to Nigeria is a violation of U. S. treaties as there are many accusations of human rights violations that have been lodged against the Nigerian Military forces.
    ‘The Leahy Law or Leahy amendment is a U.S. human rights law that prohibits the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense from providing military assistance to foreign military units that violate human rights with impunity.’
    From the legislation:
    “(a) IN GENERAL. – No assistance shall be furnished under this Act or the Arms Export Control Act to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights. ”

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