A trait formerly reserved for France, but now the U.S has joined the ranks of a gangster state supplying weapons and aid to keep dictators in power.
The U.S Military is looking to build a command and control centre in Chad’s capital N’djamena. For what?
This coming the same day the U.S delivered to the Chadian Air Force two Cessna 208B Grand Caravan aircraft configured for the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) role. The U.S spent $43 million on the two aircraft as well as hangars and maintenance areas.
Its important here to note that the Derby regime has never in an official capacity asked for foreign military aid, yet Between 2015 and 2017 the US has provided security assistance totalling $135 million. The same period the Obama administration pulled all stops to block the world’s 4th largest democracy from getting weapons, over alleged human rights abuses by the Nigerian army.
Cameroon has also received two Caravan aircraft, which were delivered in January this year. Cameroonian Air Force air and ground crews underwent training on the Cessna 208 in the United States in 2017.
With Boko Haram technically defeated and losing relevance, why is West Africa fast turning into an unsinkable aircraft carrier for the Franco-American alliance? In the space of under five years West Africa has gone from the most stable and democratic regional bloc, to become the most militarized region in Africa.
Nigeria should not be taking its neighbors and the Franco-American balancing against it lying down. Nigeria should start expanding military ties with the Britannia, China and if possible Russia.
How is Nigeria being encircled? Good question.
While France is rooting for the inclusion of countries that have no political, cultural and economic affinity to ECOWAS ( which is bizarre), the U.S. military is encircling Nigeria with a chain of air bases and military ports.
As DefenseNigeria has written in the past, these Pentagon plans are part of the Air and Land encirclement strategy. The idea is to have enough FrenCH and US bases and Air Force capabilities peppered throughout the West African region so that the stubborn behemoth Nigeria would be too surrounded to mount any form of retaliatory attack in the event of a conflict….and there will be one very soon. Nigeria’s defenses have been tested by provocative incursions that makes no strategic sense other than to provoke a reaction.
The American and French people are kept in the dark because they know the people will not stand for military engagements in the continents only remaining dictatorships. That’s why these buildups are being hushed in the diplomatic circle as possibly as they can. The death of four U.S Rangers in NIGER nearly blew open the lid.
Americans were stunned to learn there are U.S forces in Niger. Most Americans couldn’t show you were Niger was on the map even if the if their lives depended on it. Americans wanted to know what U.S forces were doing in West Africa. Military advisers they say. Military advisers to who?
There was a time when the build up of forces in these countries would have provoked a reaction. As recently as 2002, when the State Intelligence Service got wind of the near completion of a military airbase in Garoua, 80 km from Calabar, President Obasanjo put the military on a hair-trigger alert.
The Nigerian Air Force based on the eastern flank of the Tactical Air Command in Yola and Maiduguri was placed on maximum alert. The Nigerian Army 3rd armoured Division was also placed on alert. The National Security Council, headed by Obasanjo ordered the immediate reactivation of two Nigerian Air Force bases in Yola and Maiduguri recently closed and its compliment of two attack helicopter squadron was ordered to be ready by the end of the month.
The swift action and coordination by Nigeria’s military planners afterwards did not go unnoticed by the Franco military alliance. The message was clear – If the Franco Cameroonian, and by extension France is eager to solve the dispute militarily, Nigeria will likely oblige.
Enter 2018 and one wonders if this is the same country with a military larger and more equipped than it was in 2002. Nigeria’s military planners should be losing sleep over the deployment of the world’s most advanced attack drones mere kilometres from Nigeria, putting the entire country within reach of French and American air power.
Those Reaper drones deployed in Chad, Niger and Cameroon are a masterpiece in U.S technology. China’s reaction to the deployment of THAAD missile batteries in South Korea was swift because Beijing knows that information is the cornerstone of the U.S military. Those batteries have radars powerful enough to spy far inland into Chinese territory from bases in Seoul.
No nation that takes its security seriously will turn a blind eye to the insane level of ISR capable platforms with strike capabilities on its border. Nigeria seems to be the exception.
Lets pretend Mirage 2000 and Rafale jets are not deployed in the region, focusing only on drones. Those Reaper drones can knock out Nigeria’s long-range surveillance aircrafts in their hangers and the primitive air defense systems located deep inside Nigeria at will within minutes. The initial ‘blinding campaign’ would be followed by a larger air and ground assault. It will be over before the 9 o clock news.
The surprising thing here is that the same no-nonsense army general Buhari, who was nearly court marshalled when he defied the Presidents order to stand down, but proceeded to pursue Derby’s invading army back across the border into Chadian territory, stopping just kilometres short of the Chadian capital N’Djamena, is the same man at the helm of affairs in Nigeria today.
Abuja seems pleased with the fact that Paris and Washington is planning contingencies to “intervene” in Nigeria like they did in LIBYA, and is militarily encircling Nigeria via proxy without a clear and concise threat to the American and French homeland.
Imagine the calls for punitive measures if Nigeria was backing Anglo-phone Cameroonians or Tuaregs with money, weapons and building air and naval bases in Calabar with the explicit aim of bombing Cameroon to smithereens.
In 1983 France, even though it was privy of Chads intents, could not use its air power against Nigeria, because unlike Libya, the conventional strikes aimed at Nigeria could spark a regional all out war. Nigeria as an entity was united, and as such had the political capacity to coordinate actions. Same happened in 2002 and 2008.
What’s changed is that, while the Nigerian military is better funded and better equipped today, the nation has been handicapped by internal strife lasting almost over a decade and fuelled by unseen external players to prevent stability, mired in perpetual conflict
They have all but splintered the army into ethic factions, and as a consequence make an authoritative military stance in one direction or another a tasking endeavour. If Nigeria faces a 1983 style invasion today, it may likely not prevail as quickly and effectively as it did 35 years ago because the nation is physically and physiologically drained. It wont take long for the army to splinter into ethnic factions once the fighting begins.
It will take Nigeria years to regain its social cohesion even if internal strife was to stop immediately. But that is a pipe dream. Pandora’s box has been opened already. Nigeria is at a precipes, it has to stop its neighbors from being used as a proxy with a very credible deterrence.
The only way to do that is bring democracy to these countries. The leaders of these countries have been in power for 40 years. As of this writing the Anglo minorities in Southern Cameroon are being brutally suppressed, freedom of speech stifled, yet paradoxically the world’s two oldest constitutional democracies are keen on taking the political risk in maintaining a strategic presence in Africa’s only two remaining non democratic States.