Sunday, May 11, 2014

#BringBackOurGirls: My Thoughts About the Crisis in Nigeria

The Washington Post reports that:
LAGOS, Nigeria — The international effort to rescue the 276 schoolgirls being held captive by Islamic extremists in northeastern Nigeria was boosted Friday when British security experts joined the Nigerian and American forces trying to rescue the missing students.

As the worldwide effort got underway the weakness of the Nigerian military was exposed in a report issued by Amnesty International.

Britain said its aim was not only to help with the current crisis but to defeat Boko Haram.

“The team will be considering not just the recent incidents but also longer-term counter-terrorism solutions to prevent such attacks in the future and defeat Boko Haram,” the Foreign & Commonwealth Office said in a statement Friday.

The American team was joined by six additional military officers and more are expected soon, said Pentagon spokesman Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby. The U.S. officers will do a “gap analysis,” an assessment to identify what the Nigerian military needs that the U.S. could provide in the search for the girls, he said...

The weakness of the Nigerian armed forces was highlighted Friday in a report which said the military did not respond to warnings that Boko Haram rebels were about to attack Chibok, the town where the young women were abducted from their school.

Nigerian security forces had four hours of notice about the April 15 attack by the rebels but did not react because of their fear of engaging the extremists, said Amnesty International, in a report citing multiple interviews with credible sources.

“This abduction could have been prevented,” Amnesty spokeswoman Susanna Flood said of the Nigerian military’s inaction...

Boko Haram has staged many attacks in northeastern Nigeria over the years, a campaign of bombings and massacres that has intensified in recent times despite a strong military presence there. Since May 2013 there has been a state of emergency in three northeastern Nigerian states wracked by Boko Haram violence.

Boko Haram has killed more than 1,500 people this year. The militants, who want to impose Islamic Shariah law on Nigeria, abducted more than 300 girls from a boarding school in the northeastern town of Chibok. Fifty-three escaped but 276 remain captive. In a video seen by The Associated Press, Boko Haram’s leader threatens to sell the girls into slavery.
Instead of living in the modern world, groups like Boko Haram glorify and romanticize the Middle Ages. They view intolerance, ignorance and misogyny as virtues. According to their distorted and twisted interpretation of religion, women are sex objects to be suppressed, oppressed, used, abused, raped and sold. Such views do not belong in the 21st century. A nation cannot rise or globally compete when half of the population is deprived education and opportunity.
For more information about that terrorist group, click this link.

Boko Haram is a scourge. They massacre, rape, pillage, steal and enslave in the name of Islam. By doing so, they blaspheme against their professed religion. No just, merciful, beneficent god would condone such barbarism and savagery. Instead of following the righteous path, they have been deceived and lead astray. They have done more to defame Islam than the non-believers ever could. Their way is not Islam. It cannot be Islam. As reported on the AP and the Huffington Post, Muslim leaders have rightfully condemned Boko Haram.

The Nigerian government's failure to act must be condemned as well. It is an absolute disgrace that the Nigerian government essentially allowed Boko Haram to kidnap 276 innocent girls from their school dormitory. Approximately 25 days later, the girls are still missing. Instead of Nigerians and Africans uniting to address the problem, they have turned to their former slave masters and colonial oppressors for assistance. Decades after the end of colonialism, Nigeria and many other African nations lack true self-determination and independence. Boko Haram is an African problem that must ultimately be solved by African people.

Boko Haram must be brought to justice for their heinous crimes. They are a cancer in Nigeria and the world. They must be uprooted and eradicated by the people of Nigeria and the Africans. I pray that each and ever girl is rescued from the clutches of those monsters. I support all efforts designed to achieve that limited goal.

I salute First Lady Michelle Obama for speaking out and supporting the #BringOurGirlsBack movement. Her address to the nation and the world was powerful and compelling. President Obama's efforts to assist the Nigerians is truly commendable.

Hopefully, Western involvement in Nigeria is truly about rescuing the girls and not about controlling Nigeria's oil. In light of the West's long history of exploiting African people and their natural resources, one must view U.S. and European military intervention in Africa with great skepticism. Rarely do the United States and Europe act altruistically. As noted on Wikipedia, "Nigeria is the 12th largest producer of petroleum in the world and the 8th largest exporter, and has the 10th largest proven reserves." Suspicions are further raised by the fact that the United States prepared for the possibility of such a crisis. As reported on,
In May 2008, the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, hosted "Unified Quest 2008," the army's annual war games to test the American military's ability to deal with the kind of crises that it might face in the near future. "Unified Quest 2008" was especially noteworthy because it was the first time the war games included African scenarios as part of the Pentagon's plan to create a new military command for the continent: the Africa Command or Africom. No representatives of Africom were at the war games, but Africom officers were in close communication throughout the event.

One of the four scenarios that were war-gamed was a test of how Africom could respond to a crisis in Somalia — set in 2025 — caused by escalating insurgency and piracy. Unfortunately, no information on the details of the scenario is available.

Far more information is available on the other scenario — set in 2013 — which was a test of how Africom could respond to a crisis in Nigeria in which the Nigerian government is near collapse, and rival factions and rebels are fighting for control of the oil fields of the Niger Delta and vying for power in the country which is the sixth largest supplier of America's oil imports...

Among scenarios examined during the game were the possibility of direct American military intervention involving some 20,000 U.S. troops in order to "secure the oil," and the question of how to handle possible splits between factions within the Nigerian government. The game ended without military intervention because one of the rival factions executed a successful coup and formed a new government that sought stability.

Read the full article here.

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