By Richard Murphy
There is nothing wrong with holding a media briefing, like the one held by the Commander of the US special operations command for Africa (AFRICOM) Dagvin Anderson. The United States’ military top brass warned that al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province now have presence in the northwest of Nigeria and that they are spreading their reach to the southern parts of the country.
But when viewed against the backdrop acceptable behaviour, Anderson’s action, which in reality is United States’ action, is wrong on more than one level. The US has advantage to glean intelligence on terrorists because sometimes these killers are its puppets, carrying out orgies of destruction while thinking they are in charge when in reality, they are implementing US programs. If the US became aware of al-Qaeda or Boko Haram incursion into southern Nigeria because of its participatory advantage, the responsible thing to do is called intelligence sharing. This involves making contact with the corresponding officials or desks on the Nigerian side.
This did not however happen. Rather, apparently as part of a grand script and conspiracy, the US – as represented by Anderson, rushed to a media briefing to disclose its finding. This action is not a mistake but a premeditated and calculated move to undermine Nigeria as can be seen from the automatic consequences that are already trailing the media reveal.
The most prominent consequence has been the terror sown in the mind of Nigerians, who erroneously place misplace confidence in the capacities of the US as a superpower. The thinking is that if the United States said it then it must be accurate but that is a fallacy. The Council for Foreign Relations, the destabilizing think tank through which the US undermines sovereign nations, had predicted that Nigeria will unravel in a 15 years timeframe, which lapsed five years ago. The Council has become livid over the failure of its projection and its marketing officer for Nigeria, John Campbell, a former ambassador to Nigeria, has been on the offensive in the past few months; knowing that CFR uses implanted operatives and deep state strategy, it will not be surprising that Anderson’s media briefing was crafted by the Council to advance its agenda following Campbell’s dismal failure at gaining traction in the quest to wreck Nigeria. So, sowing terror among the population was a major intent of that media briefing.
For a country that practically exploited local discontent to create first the Taliban and later al-Qaeda, the US update about terrorists’ push into southern Nigeria is more of a strategy for nudging their operatives and their terror cells in the direction their next round of crimes against humanity should take. There is the outside chance that the terrorists were not thinking of southern Nigeria short term, mid term and even long term but that briefing by Anderson has now put innocent people living in these areas within the cross hair of the terrorists. By the way, we should all be concerned about the nomenclature, “al-Qaeda” which is not an active brand name for the killers operating in Nigeria. If Africom is talking about the spread of a group that is not currently dominant in Nigeria, then questions should be asked whether the plan is to import them from Somalia or Egypt.
The Media briefing is a false flag operation, one that is intended to initiate the process of conferring legitimacy on the scums that the US plans to export into Nigeria to continue and expand the terrorist acts at which Boko Haram had failed. A rebranding into ISIS franchise, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), had also failed given the recent outcomes of their engagements with the Nigerian military. If the US plans to replace them with a repackaged terror group then it is natural that it resorts to al-Qaeda, its creation over which it seems to have better control than Boko Haram and ISIS.
Nigerian authorities should read the danger signs well. In all its decade old insurgency, Boko Haram and its ISWAP variant, have been more of consigned to the Lake Chad Basin and Sambisa Forest, which means it is not able to do much damage to infrastructure – the towns and caught in the orgy of destruction are usually rebuilt in short time. Hinting the terrorists to go south is asking them to go into the parts of Nigeria with the economic infrastructure and population density that will hurt the country badly if attacked. Is this big brother turning the screw on Nigeria for spurning its request to headquarter Africom on Nigerian soil?
The desire to see the terrorists move south has further disadvantages for Nigeria. The more built up southern Nigeria will be a major challenge for the military since that will call for urban warfare, something that few armies in the world have experience with. It must be noted that opening up a new frontier in the anti-terror war will spread the military thin in addition to throwing up human rights issues if such an unprecedented operation is allowed to become necessary.
It would have been reassuring to see Anderson, Africom and the US deny these possibilities. Unfortunately, other engagements of these entities have only gone further in lending credence to the possibility that the plot against Nigeria is being accelerated. Campbell’s meddling for instance has proven to be a part of a larger operation to promote discontent, which will create the distraction necessary to provide cover for the terrorists to move around undetected – like them travelling with those supposedly mobilizing for anti-government protests being organized by his associates. The onetime American Ambassador to Nigeria recently took part in a virtual conference where the dissent that is now being used as cover to ferry terrorists across the country was planned and agreed. He is also leading these so-called activists to run propaganda that targets government troops for demoralization while new pro-terrorists’ allies are being recruited into the cyber arm of Boko Haram. There has thus been a consequent spike in the number of articles and posts that attack the military as corrupt and incompetent.
By now, these foreign interests that are trying to spread terrorism across Nigeria should have learnt vital lessons. The first is the chain of unintended outcomes that accompany the destabilization of other countries over petty geo-strategic interest. There is the tendency for things to spread beyond what the plotter anticipates. We have seen that much in the Middle East where the terror grown by foreign interests is again exported to the countries that sought to destabilize others. There is also the risk that the puppet terrorists will eventually disown their masters and then get out of control as is the case with ISIS and those that sponsored them.
But since Nigeria’s detractors will not relent, the responsibility falls on the government to take precautions while citizens must rise up to defend their land from invasive forces that are sabotaging their country from afar.
Murphy is a security expert based in Calabar.