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Thread: Nigeria 2013-2017

  1. #161
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    KingJaJa, I agree wholeheartedly with you concerning the colonial borders that were arbitrarily drawn into the sand and that resulted in nations/ethnic groups being incorporated into 2 or 3 different states. Your argument is sound and cannot be faulted.

    However, that happened decades ago and Africa needs to come to terms with itself and move forward. We cannot continue blaming the past without taking responsibility for the present and planning for the future.

    Insofar as Boko Haram is concerned: There are some who are fully aware of the fact that we issued a warning to the Nigerian government in 2012 of an upcoming BH offensive. This was discarded and instead other advice was accepted – such advice intimating that all is good and well, when in fact it wasn’t. By accepting unsound advice, governments erode their own powerbases and often bring their legitimacy into question. The populace take note of this as they are not blind or deaf.

    Some African governments have apparently chosen to ignore their responsibilities and continue to rely on the West to jump in to solve their problems. The message this propagates is loud and clear to all who care to listen. But, many of these problems are the result of a lack of national strategy, a lack of a national security strategy, poor governance, a lack of direction and so forth – not the result of colonialism. Of course, without sound and credible intelligence, no focussed or realistic strategy can developed. Without valid predictive intelligence, there can be little to no flexibility.

    So, back to BH: Where was the intelligence that indicated this was coming? If it was available, why were the armed forces incorrectly trained, equipped and postured and therefore caught by surprise? The same questions can be asked of Cameroon who are now suffering a similar onslaught.

    The toppling of Ghadaffi must surely have allowed the intelligence services to make very valid intelligence predictions. Why didn’t they?

    Yes, the colonial borders will always remain a point of disagreement but, we cannot continue blaming them for what is now happening. Besides, do you think any of our governments will willingly hand over large tracts of their territory to a neighbouring government? Personally, I doubt it.

    The bottom line is that Africa needs to wake up and take control of itself. We cannot continue looking to the West to solve problems we in many instances have caused ourselves.

  2. #162
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    Eighteen months ago I was party to a conversation with Africa watchers about BH. One watcher with years of experience in Nigeria remarked that Western diplomats had been warned about BH, but dismissed the threat. When the chat turned to Cameroon it was noted that non-French engagement was minimal - almost as if the country didn't exist. It was claimed that there was no UK capacity to even review what Cameroon's security forces had and what was needed.
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Echo Bravo View Post
    Dayuhan, I don’t comment on this site for numerous reasons.
    However, I need to point out that as “mercenaries” we operated – and still operate -under the domestic laws of the governments that contracted us. That places us in a very different position to other PMCs that operate under their own country’s domestic laws and are therefore not accountable to the host government’s laws. Although we were (and still are) usually called when all other options have failed and the contracting government is close to collapse, we apply and enforce a very strict code of conduct.
    I can also add that many of the African troops we have recently encountered and that have been trained by foreign military advisors and PMCs need to be retrained as their “training” has been shocking at best. Similarly, advice given to some African governments by “foreign Africa specialists” has been very poor and in many cases, has done more harm than good.
    A lack of credible intelligence, unrealistic strategies, poor operational designs and ill-prepared troops can never result in success. Add to that a lack of political and military will and a misunderstanding of the enemy and his support base and, at best, you have a disaster in the making.
    Considering the above, it will most certainly pose “untenable limits on an intervention, it's better not to go there in the first place”.
    After thinking about this awhile I do agree we (the U.S.) generally do a very poor job at training foreign troops, despite all our hoopla to the contrary. I won't bore everyone with why that is, it is just the way it is. A self-evident truth that our leadership refuses to recognize.

    I think your comments about unrealistic strategies, poor operational designs, etc., if directed against the U.S. military, may be overstated. You stated you work for the state that hired you as a mercenary. I assume in most cases that state believes they have a significant threat, and are looking for a military solution, which is why they hired you.

    In contrast, when the U.S. military deploys to Africa we normally are subordinate to our State Department. This is a huge difference, our State Department is using the military as a foreign policy tool to further their diplomatic objectives. They don't care about winning, and they certainly don't share the same level of threat to their diplomacy interests that the state we're supporting feels.

    When the U.S. military is in the lead, as it was in the initial phases of our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military did a great job of defeating its adversaries in battle. What came after that is where we lost our direction and momentum. Mercenaries supporting an existing government don't have the same issues of dealing with what comes next after a government falls. On the other hand, this is where we have failed repeatedly. Until we toss out our naďve ideas of installing the least stable form of government, a newly formed democracy, as an end state and develop an occupation doctrine we'll continue to fail when we oust governments with our military.

    I think if you take some of our higher end SOF units and better trained light infantry units and allow them to focus on hunting the adversary, like EO appeared to do in Sierra Leone, they would do quite well. Like any military unit operating in a new area they'll have to go through an initial learning curve.

    Lots and lots of other issues, but I think the difference of a military unit for working for a state or their diplomatic corps is a significant difference that results in very different outcomes.

  4. #164
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Eighteen months ago I was party to a conversation with Africa watchers about BH. One watcher with years of experience in Nigeria remarked that Western diplomats had been warned about BH, but dismissed the threat. When the chat turned to Cameroon it was noted that non-French engagement was minimal - almost as if the country didn't exist. It was claimed that there was no UK capacity to even review what Cameroon's security forces had and what was needed.
    If it is a Francophone country is it so unusual that the UK wouldn't get involved? I think the appropriate question is are the French helping? The next question is are they coordinated efforts across the borders since the threat doesn't reside in our nicely defined geographical boundaries?

  5. #165
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    If it is a Francophone country is it so unusual that the UK wouldn't get involved? I think the appropriate question is are the French helping? The next question is are they coordinated efforts across the borders since the threat doesn't reside in our nicely defined geographical boundaries?
    The Cameroon is a relatively new nation, being formed from two colonies, one British and one French. Upon independence the UK's interest evaporated, the French were far happier to stay around. According to a little reseach after this chat I found the French did have a military linkage, although like most of Africa small arms were of communist origin. Wiki:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cameroon

    The president has been in power since 1982, which suggests - well, fossilisation.

    Regarding the cross-border coordination; of late statements of intent exist, but I have my doubts it means much.
    davidbfpo

  6. #166
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    Thanks for the info, I did a little digging and learned that both English and French are official languages, and according the CIA fact book 20% of the population is Muslim. Couldn't find much on Cameroon on our State Department website, which indicates that we're not paying much attention to it either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Echo Bravo View Post
    KingJaJa, I agree wholeheartedly with you concerning the colonial borders that were arbitrarily drawn into the sand and that resulted in nations/ethnic groups being incorporated into 2 or 3 different states. Your argument is sound and cannot be faulted.

    However, that happened decades ago and Africa needs to come to terms with itself and move forward. We cannot continue blaming the past without taking responsibility for the present and planning for the future.

    Insofar as Boko Haram is concerned: There are some who are fully aware of the fact that we issued a warning to the Nigerian government in 2012 of an upcoming BH offensive. This was discarded and instead other advice was accepted – such advice intimating that all is good and well, when in fact it wasn’t. By accepting unsound advice, governments erode their own powerbases and often bring their legitimacy into question. The populace take note of this as they are not blind or deaf.

    Some African governments have apparently chosen to ignore their responsibilities and continue to rely on the West to jump in to solve their problems. The message this propagates is loud and clear to all who care to listen. But, many of these problems are the result of a lack of national strategy, a lack of a national security strategy, poor governance, a lack of direction and so forth – not the result of colonialism. Of course, without sound and credible intelligence, no focussed or realistic strategy can developed. Without valid predictive intelligence, there can be little to no flexibility.

    So, back to BH: Where was the intelligence that indicated this was coming? If it was available, why were the armed forces incorrectly trained, equipped and postured and therefore caught by surprise? The same questions can be asked of Cameroon who are now suffering a similar onslaught.

    The toppling of Ghadaffi must surely have allowed the intelligence services to make very valid intelligence predictions. Why didn’t they?

    Yes, the colonial borders will always remain a point of disagreement but, we cannot continue blaming them for what is now happening. Besides, do you think any of our governments will willingly hand over large tracts of their territory to a neighbouring government? Personally, I doubt it.

    The bottom line is that Africa needs to wake up and take control of itself. We cannot continue looking to the West to solve problems we in many instances have caused ourselves.
    I'm not blaming anyone for anything - it is simple: colonial era borders are simply unsustainable, we could argue about this till we drop from exhaustion, but this fact remains.

    We've passed the stage of apportioning blame, just like World Wars 1 & 2 changed Europe's borders & the fall of the Soviet Union resulted in border changes - what is happening in Africa will change borders.

    Take or leave it.

    The earlier the international community realizes this, the better.

  8. #168
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    Default Exiting from the state in Nigeria

    A long, but interesting read on the relationship between "citizen" and "state" in Nigeria (and most of Africa).

    http://archive.lib.msu.edu/DMC/Afric...s004001006.pdf

    Anyone who reads this carefully would understand that imposing a Western understanding of "citizenship" and "statehood" in Africa is largely a waste of time.

    Africa may not produce as many media worthy protests as the Arab World, but for 50 years and counting, the post-colonial African state has failed to deliver to its citizens - so people have creating alternative structures to the state which in time, will be strong enough to challenge the legitimacy of the state.

    I live in Nigeria, I have a front seat view in all of this - I've noticed the rise of ethno/religious organizations challenging the legitimacy of the state - Niger Delta militants and Boko Haram are only two out of many. With each challenge, the state grows weaker, and this is noted by the next generation of separatists.

    Where does this leave us? The nation is of the mind and heart, not simply a flag and national anthem. This is looking a lot like Yugoslavia.

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    Default Learning from Iraq

    US "liberated" Iraq and expected Iraqis to "fight for their country".

    I'm seeing quite a bit of that kind of wishful thinking logic being applied to Africa, on this thread and in a lot of the works by Western commentators.

    When armed intervention gains traction - people wont be "fighting for their country", they'll be fighting for something else.

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    Default How France loots its former colonies

    Totally unrelated, but France's record in Africa is a bit mixed. It has intervened severally in former colonies (long before the "War against Terror"). I assume blow back will come one day.

    As usual US gets into a tight embrace with France probably without considering long-term consequences.

    Incidentally, once you read this you’ll no longer wonder why French presidents and ministers are sometimes greeted by protests when they visit former French colonies in Africa, even if the protests are about other issues. Though what other issues could be more important than this one we have no idea.

    14 African countries only ever have access to 15% of their own money!
    Monetary bankruptcy
    Just before France conceded to African demands for independence in the 1960s, it carefully organised its former colonies (CFA countries) in a system of “compulsory solidarity” which consisted of obliging the 14 African states to put 65% of their foreign currency reserves into the French Treasury, plus another 20% for financial liabilities. This means these 14 African countries only ever have access to 15% of their own money! If they need more they have to borrow their own money from the French at commercial rates! And this has been the case since the 1960s.
    http://thisisafrica.me/france-loots-former-colonies/

  11. #171
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    Carl, you will find the following article interesting:

    Adopting Africa by Paul Theroux

    and this one:

    The Charitable-Industrial Complex

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    If it's true though, you gotta listen. We try, us flyover people and guys like you. Our failures aren't for the lack of effort and goodwill. We fail because of our leaders, a class of people who have neither character, wit, intelligence nor intellectual honesty. The furiners who comment around here without exception realize that. They know it isn't the Americans, it's the wizards inside the beltway.
    Last edited by JMA; 08-12-2014 at 12:52 PM.

  12. #172
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    Default Boko Haram: Soldiers’ Wives, Children Resume Protest In Borno

    Very worrying sign that the Nigerian Army could be at breaking point.

    The wives and children of Nigerian troops at the Giwa Barracks, Maiduguri, have resumed their blockade of the barracks, insisting that their husbands and fathers will no longer fight Boko Haram with old weapons.

    It was reported that dozens of women and children had since Saturday forcefully stopped military trucks from transporting their husbands and fathers to Gwoza where Boko Haram has taken over the town.

    The protesters blocked the gates of the barracks that houses the 21 Armoured Brigade of the Nigerian Army, demanding quality fighting equipment for the soldiers.

    Meanwhile, the spate of killings in Gwoza has engaged the women in the area in mass burials as Boko Haram attacks have left many males dead in the town.
    http://leadership.ng/news/380745/bok...-protest-borno

  13. #173
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    Default Religion and Politics in Nigeria.

    Just to add that religion features heavily in the run up to the 2015 elections here. Massive whisper campaign - opposition party (Muslim dominated) is being painted as "Muslim Brotherhood", allusions to "Boko Haram", "Worldwide Jihad"...

    These undercurrents tend to be ignored by Western analysts, but they do matter.

  14. #174
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    Default Which Muslim Brotherhood?

    Quote Originally Posted by KingJaja View Post
    Just to add that religion features heavily in the run up to the 2015 elections here. Massive whisper campaign - opposition party (Muslim dominated) is being painted as "Muslim Brotherhood", allusions to "Boko Haram", "Worldwide Jihad"...

    These undercurrents tend to be ignored by Western analysts, but they do matter.
    Given the variety of approaches within the Mulsim Brotherhood (MB) over recent years, I cannot see this 'whisper' being that effective. Is it the MB led by Morsi in Egypt or those who rose in the 80's against the Assad regime?

    There is a long running thread on the MB:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...read.php?t=891
    davidbfpo

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    Default An Australian was on the ground

    Two stories about an Australian Dr Davis, a self-described "amateur peacemaker" from Perth, with some experience of negoitations in Nigeria, tried to rescue the kidnapped girls - taken in April 2014:http://www.smh.com.au/world/how-amat...#ixzz3CN8yQOK6

    He is not an optimist:
    When Boko Haram links up with ISIL - and there is interaction between the two - and with [terrorist group] al-Shabbab, that triangle is going to be the new home of terrorism like the world has not seen....The guys before - there was no kidnapping, no rape. They wouldn't kidnap women or children, because that was contrary to the Koran. Now these guys will do anything, they are a totally different breed.
    Second story (they are different):http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-2...-girls/5699676
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Given the variety of approaches within the Mulsim Brotherhood (MB) over recent years, I cannot see this 'whisper' being that effective. Is it the MB led by Morsi in Egypt or those who rose in the 80's against the Assad regime?

    There is a long running thread on the MB:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...read.php?t=891
    It will work VERY WELL with Nigerian Christians. Sometimes you forget the dynamics are a bit different in Nigeria.

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    Review of interesting book dealing with the history of religious tensions in Northern Nigeria:

    It points out that while the British colonized Muslim northern Nigeria indirectly through the region’s pre-existing centralized feudal traditional and administrative institutions, it colonized non-Muslim northern Nigeria even more indirectly through “native aliens,” that is, Hausa-Fulani Muslims whom British colonialists placed atop their self-created African civilizational hierarchy. “This resulted in a subcolonial bureaucracy driven at the grass roots by thousands of Hausa chiefs, scribes, tax agents, and their own Hausa-Fulani agents, who initiated much of the colonial agenda in these Middle Belt districts” (p. 2).

    Thus, the Hausa-Fulani became “subcolonials,” or proxy colonialists, who in turn appointed “lesser chiefs, aides, tax collectors, scribes, and enforcers” mostly from among their kind but sometimes from among the “natives” in order to prepare the Middle Belt for the kind of indirect colonial rule that was successful in the Muslim north. The motive force for this arrangement stemmed from the colonial construction of the people of the Middle Belt as benighted cultural inferiors who needed the civilizational tutelage of their Hausa-Fulani cultural superiors preparatory to British indirect colonial rule. This invidious social differentiation wasn’t a simple case of the divide-and-rule tactic for which (British) colonialists were infamous. On the contrary, the book argues, the policy of “proxy colonialism” was driven by the “pursuit of sameness in the crucible of preparatory proxy rule” (p. 8).
    http://www.farooqkperogi.com/2014/09...-northern.html

  18. #178
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    Default Comparison of Nigerian Army operations in Sierra Leone/Liberia & against Boko Haram

    Interesting comparison of the similarity in behaviour of the Nigerian Army in Sierra Leone/Liberia & in its present operations against Boko Haram.

    The most striking and worrying similarity between the current conflict and the operations in Liberia and Sierra-Leone is the fluid stalemate that has now developed between the military and Boko Haram. By this I mean that on the one hand the insurgency is now in strategic stalemate – Boko Haram’s aspiration of an Islamic State in Nigeria remains a pipe dream; similarly, a comprehensive military victory against the sect seems unlikely for now. On the other hand however, battlefield conditions on the ground is characterised by tactical fluidity. The frequent loss and recapture of towns and villages by the military, and Boko Haram’s ability to move heavily armed operatives in large convoys with impunity in significant sections of the northeast illustrate this fluid and rapidly changing situation on the ground.

    The outcome of Nigeria’s armed interventions in Liberia and Sierra-Leone can also be described as fluid stalemates. In neither country was the military able to achieve its strategic objective of breaking the rebels’ war-fighting resolve. In both countries while the Nigerian army controlled the capitals; in Liberia the rebels controlled the rest of the country, whilst in Sierra-Leone it was the northern half by December 1998. And in both missions, despite the strategic stalemate – i.e. neither the rebels nor the Nigerian military completely vanquished the other – the tactical situation on the ground was highly fluid as battlefield fortunes ebbed and flowed.
    http://janguzaarewa.blogspot.co.uk/2...rrent-war.html

  19. #179
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    Nigerian Army Kills Boko Haram Leader, Rounds Up Hundreds of Fighters
    Startling comeback for Abuja’s armed forces
    https://medium.com/war-is-boring/nig...s-dfb58579fae7

    http://www.france24.com/en/20140925-...eria-military/
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail


    http://i.imgur.com/IPT1uLH.jpg

  20. #180
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    Default The Boko Haram insurgency, by the numbers

    This graphic is enough for some, but SWC needs more. So a couple of passages:
    The data makes clear that Boko Haram-related violence is the most lethal conflict that Nigeria has confronted in decades. Since 1998, at least 29,600 Nigerians have been killed in more than 2,300 incidents reflecting a wide range of ethnic, religious, political and economic tensions across large portions of the country. Since July 2009, when the Boko Haram conflict escalated, at least 11,100 people have died on all sides of the insurgency.
    Then there's always WAWA:
    Political rulers, when confronted by an approaching existential threat, might normally be expected to mobilize national resources to aggressively confront the insurgency. Yet Nigeria’s elites seem to be detached, mired in political infighting, or distracted by opportunities to profit from poorly monitored security budgets.
    Link:http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...y-the-numbers/



    The linked article explains the origin of the data
    davidbfpo

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