All Sorts of Things

Random posts on all sorts of things designed to inform and provoke.

Nigeria: Endgame for Boko Haram is Status Quo

Boko Haram (BH), the Nigerian militant group that has been on the radar of the world’s intelligence agencies for some time, dramatically increased it’s recently by kidnapping over 200 girls who were on their way to school. Showing everyone its savvy media skills, the group organized these kidnapping in stages thereby keeping the world in suspense over where it would strike next.

It also began trending on Twitter with the #BringBackOurGirls and on Monday released a video showing its captives “covered from head to toe, stone-faced, somewhere in the pervasive semi-desert scrub that covers this arid region.”

While this action is indeed despicable, BH’s prior actions over the past five years have been much worse and caused the deaths of hundreds of civilians were killed – either by BH or by the Nigerian government in its counterinsurgency operations.

None of them, however, garnered the level of media attention or the kind of global effort generated by these kidnappings.

Obviously, this is a laudable action by the world’s nations and one hopes that it results in the release of the hostages. It also raises the question as to what the endgame is for both BH and its opponents.

It’s obvious that Nigeria and its president, the aptly named Goodluck Jonathan, are incapable of countering BH. It’s also clear that this is a homegrown insurgency that cannot and will not be destroyed by foreign fighters.

Therefore, if the resources – surveillance aircraft and satellites and loads of trainers – find the girls, and if the Nigerian forces are able to rescue them, will this be an acceptable solution? Will these resources stay put until BH is eradicated? Will the global community continue to help Nigeria eliminate the reasons that gave rise to BH?

It’s unlikely that any of this will happen. There are way too many problems vying for the attention of the global community and, Nigeria, unfortunately, is nowhere near the biggest.

Obviously, this is not to say that we should not support Nigeria’s efforts to hunt down these kidnappers but to emphasize that this operation should not just be a rescue mission but one that focuses on killing those who participated in this action.

Unfortunately, the larger question of how to prevent a future BH – or the resurgence of the existing BH – is a question too complicated for the world, or Nigeria, to answer at this time.

Therefore, the endgame in this fight will be the continuation of the status quo.

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One comment on “Nigeria: Endgame for Boko Haram is Status Quo

  1. A Conservative Mind
    June 7, 2014

    I agree with you overall but I think the words “end result” would be more appropriate than “endgame.” The historically poorer and less educated Islamic north will continue to be a source for radical recruitment and provide a safe haven for Islamist radicals while the south will continue to be the country’s corrupt economic center. Nothing is on the horizon to change this.

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This entry was posted on May 13, 2014 by in International Affairs and tagged , , , , , .
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