Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Playing With Fire

opinion

Even though it hardly if at all makes any appreciable progress in tackling the current insurgency and general insecurity in the country, Nigeria, among some other West African countries, has been literally herded by France and its western allies into the increasingly precarious terrain of northern Mali. The mission is to fight a proxy war without realizing its security implications on its own already fragile security situation.

Though Nigeria has successfully participated in several regional and international military interventions in various countries around the world, the circumstances and bases for all the previous military interventions it had participated in or led were completely different from the circumstances and bases cited in order to justify the current military intervention in northern Mali. This is because, northern Mali's crisis is rightly or wrongly viewed by average Muslims in Nigeria and elsewhere as part of a global conspiracy against Islam and Muslims, which was started by the blood thirsty non-conservatives led by the former US President George Bush (Jnr.) when he led a military coalition to invade Afghanistan in the earlier 2000s, in what he had called the Crusades in reference to the war of annihilation waged by Christians against Muslims in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries, before he later "withdrew" the term i.e. Crusades, when he realized how its use might undermine the US strategic policy of seeking to win the hearts and minds of Muslims around the world.

Anyway, ever since then, the western-led so-called war on terror, the atrocities they commit with impunity under its pretext, their double-standards approach in defining the concept of terrorism and handling it, have continued to generate controversy while an increasing number of Muslims continues to find reasonable reasons to believe that the so-called war on terror is simply a fight against Islam in disguise.

Accordingly, some Muslims who feel frustrated and betrayed by their respective governments to respond appropriately form various armed groups with a view to resisting such invaders and their accomplices including their own governments, who they regard as betrayers. And they also coordinate among themselves to form regional and international cells and units to launch attacks against various countries they regard as enemies due to what they regard as their direct or indirect involvement in killing Muslims around the world.

In any case, though Islam does not approve of their activities, such armed groups have become a formidable phenomenon that effectively compels many countries, including the major powers, to take their threats into cognizance in the process of formulating their strategic security policies.

Against this background and in view of the nature and circumstances of its current security challenges, Nigeria is particularly exposed to the security repercussion of the crisis in northern Mali, as a result of its clearly uncalculated military adventure there. In other words, the possible repercussion of this adventure on Nigeria's already fragile security condition would probably be very devastating especially considering how poorly its intelligence agencies and security forces have been in tackling the current security situation in the country, which has exposed its intelligence and tactical deficiencies.

Unfortunately however, Nigerian rulers did not seem to have taken these circumstances into cognizance before joining the military coalition in northern Mali, and they don't seem to realize that, by so doing, they have effectively and unnecessary opened a war front. After all, some of its Mali bound troops had already come under attack while on their way to Kaduna from Kogi state, by a group calling itself JAMA'ATU ANSARUL MUSLIMINA FI BILADIS-SUDAN in what it called "part of its mission to stop the Nigerian Army from joining the western powers, which want to destroy the Islamic empire in Mali."

Besides, in view of how the relatively ill-trained and less audacious Boko Haram fighters are increasingly proving too difficult if not impossible to handle for Nigeria's apparently incompetent security intelligence and its largely unmotivated military personnel, I really wonder how they could engage such regional and international armed groups many of whom, according to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika, have already "arrived Nigeria in large numbers to carry out attacks on various targets in the country."

Furthermore, as the crisis in Mali escalates, and even though so far there is a deliberate media blackout on the military operations currently going on there, the scenes and images of misery unleashed among civilians in the form of indiscriminate killing, maiming and displacement of people in the country by the coalition forces would still begin to emerge, which will definitely arouse Muslims' sympathy elsewhere, and probably provoke more resentment among Nigerian Muslims against the government.

Needless to say, these emotions could be easily exploited by some insurgency theoreticians and their apologists through inciting rhetoric to radicalize many Muslims and brainwash them into joining the war against the Nigerian government. The situation could deteriorate to a level where Nigeria itself might need some foreign military and intelligence assistance ostensibly to bring it under control, which would only worsen it instead.

By the way, though this possible scenario is not my wish whatsoever, yet I am not being that naive to rule it out altogether either, in view of what has been happening over the past decade in some other countries e.g. Pakistan, which, though its alliance with the western powers to invade Afghanistan did not amount to a direct military involvement, yet it has ever since then been suffering from the devastating repercussion of its act.

In any case, though the current military coalition may eventually succeed in defeating the northern Malian rebels from their bases in northern Mali due to the obvious disparity in military might, the crisis is not likely to end anyway, as the rebels may likely resort to guerrilla tactics, which are financially too costly and too exhaustive militarily even for the rich western powers, who grow too exhausted and desperate to flee such conflict zones, while they still grapple with the threats of more attacks inside their own countries.

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