By Julie Lévesque
The objectives of the US military presence in Africa are well documented: counter Chinese influence and control strategic locations and natural resources including oil reserves. This was confirmed more than 8 years ago by the US State Department:
In 2007, US State Department advisor Dr. J. Peter Pham commented on AFRICOM’s strategic objectives of “protecting access to hydrocarbons and other strategic resources which Africa has in abundance, a task which includes ensuring against the vulnerability of those natural riches and ensuring that no other interested third parties, such as China, India, Japan, or Russia, obtain monopolies or preferential treatment.” (Nile Bowie, Nigeria Fertile Ground for Balkanization)
At the beginning of February, AFRICOM’s “head General David Rodriguez called for a large-scale US-led ‘counterinsurgency’ campaign against groups in West Africa during remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC:
In similar remarks at a the US Army West Point academy last week, US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) chief General Joseph Votel said that US commando teams must prepare for new deployments against Boko Haram and the Islamic State. ” (Thomas Gaist, US AFRICOM Commander Calls for “Huge” Military Campaign in West Africa, World Socialist Web Site, February 02, 2015)
Mark P. Fancher highlighted the hypocrisy and the “imperialist arrogance” of western countries, which “notwithstanding the universal condemnation of colonialism”, are evermore willing “to publicly declare (without apologies) their plans to expand and coordinate their military presence in Africa.” (Mark P. Fancher, The CIA’s Covert War Against Africa)
Now more troops from Benin, Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria and Chad are being sent to fight against Boko Haram.
This new war on yet another shadowy terrorist entity in Africa is reminiscent of the failed Kony 2012 propaganda campaign cloaked in humanitarian ideals. It is used as a smoke screen to avoid addressing the issue of the victims of the war on terror, the real causes of terrorism and to justify another military invasion. It is true that Boko Haram makes victims, however the goal of Western intervention in Africa is not to come to their rescue.
The deadliest conflict in the world since the Second World War and still raging is happening in Congo and the Western elite and its media couldn’t care less. That alone shows that military interventions are not intended to save lives.
To understand why the media focuses on Boko Haram, we need to know what it is and who is behind it. What is the underlying context, what interests are being served?
Is Boko Haram another US clandestine operation?
Boko Haram is based in northeast Nigeria, the most populated country and largest economy in Africa. Nigeria is the largest oil producer of the continent with 3.4% of the World’s reserves of crude oil.
In May 2014, African Renaissance News published an in-depth report on Boko Haram, wondering whether it could be another CIA covert operation to take control of Nigeria:
[T]he greatest prize for AFRICOM and its goal to plant a PAX AMERICANA in Africa would be when it succeeds in the most strategic African country, NIGERIA. This is where the raging issue of BOKO HARAM and the widely reported prediction by the United States Intelligence Council on the disintegration of Nigeria by 2015 comes into perspective…(Atheling P Reginald Mavengira, “Humanitarian Intervention” in Nigeria: Is the Boko Haram Insurgency Another CIA Covert Operation? Wikileaks, African Renaissance News, May 08, 2014)
In the 70′s an 80′s Nigeria assisted several African countries “in clear opposition and defiance to the interests of the United States and its western allies which resulted in a setback for Western initiatives in Africa at the time.” (Ibid.)
Nigeria exerted its influence in the region through the leadership of the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG, right), an army consisting of soldiers from various African countries and set up by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and which intervened in the Liberian civil war in the 90′s. Liberia was founded in 1821 by the US and led by American-Liberians for over a century.
The Western powers, first and foremost the US, are obviously not willing to let Africans have a multinational army in which they have no leading role. ACRI, which later became Africom, was formed in 2000 to contain Nigeria’s influence and counter ECOMOG, thus avoiding the emergence of an African military force led by Africans.
According to Wikileaks reports mentioned in Mavengira’s article above, the US embassy in Nigeria serves as an
“operating base for wide and far reaching acts of subversion against Nigeriawhich include but [are] not limited to eavesdropping on Nigerian government communication, financial espionage on leading Nigerians, support and funding of subversive groups and insurgents, sponsoring of divisive propaganda among the disparate groups of Nigeria and the use of visa blackmail to induce and coerce high ranking Nigerians into acting in favour of US interests.” (Mavengira, op., cit., emphasis added)
Mavengira is part of the GREENWHITE Coalition, “a citizen’s volunteer watchdog made up of Nigerians of all ethnic groups and religious persuasions.” He writes that the ultimate goal of the American clandestine operations in his country is “to eliminate Nigeria as a potential strategic rival to the US in the African continent.” (Ibid.)
An investigation into Boko Haram by the Greenwhite Coalition revealed that the “Boko Haram campaign is a covert operation organized by the American Central Intelligence Agency, CIA and coordinated by the American Embassy in Nigeria.” The U.S has used its embassy for covert operations before. The one in Benghazi was proven to be a base for a covert gun-running operation to arm the mercenaries fighting against Bashar Al-Assad in Syria. As for the embassy in Ukraine, a video from November 2013 emerged recently showing a Ukrainian parliamentarian exposing it as the central point of yet another clandestine operation designed to foment civil unrest and overthrow the democratically-elected government.
The Greenwhite Coalition report on Boko Haram reveals a three stage plan of the National Intelligence Council of the United States to “Pakistanize” Nigeria, internationalize the crisis and divide the country under a UN mandate and occupying force. The plan “predicts” Nigeria’s disintegration for 2015. It is worth quoting at length:
The whole [National Intelligence Council] report actually is a coded statement of intentions on how [by] using destabilization plots the US plans to eventually dismember Nigeria […]
Stage 1: Pakistanizing Nigeria
With the scourge of Boko Haram as an existential reality, in the coming months the spate of bombings and attacks on public buildings are likely to escalate.
The goal is to exacerbate tension and mutual suspicion among adherents of the two faiths in Nigeria and leading to sectarian violence […]
Stage 2: Internationalizing the Crisis
[T]here will be calls from the United States, European Union and United Nations for a halt to the violence. […] For effect, there will be carpet bombing coverage by the International media on the Nigerian crisis with so-called experts discussing all the ramifications who will strive to create the impression that only benevolent foreign intervention could resolve the crisis.
Stage 3: The Great Carve out under UN Mandate
There will be proposals first for an international peace keeping force to intervene and separate the warring groups and or for a UN mandate for various parts of Nigeria to come under mandated occupying powers. Of course behind the scenes the US and its allies would have secretly worked out which areas of Nigeria to occupy guided as it were by naked economic interests […] (Ibid., emphasis added)
In 2012, Nile Bowie wrote (Nigeria Fertile Ground for Balkanization):
The Nigerian Tribune has reported that Boko Haram receives funding from different groups from Saudi Arabia and the UK, specifically from the Al-Muntada Trust Fund, headquartered in the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia’s Islamic World Society . During an interview conducted by Al-Jazeera with Abu Mousab Abdel Wadoud, the AQIM leader states that Algeria-based organizations have provided arms to Nigeria’s Boko Haram movement “to defend Muslims in Nigeria and stop the advance of a minority of Crusaders” .
It remains highly documented that members of Al-Qaeda (AQIM) and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) who fought among the Libyan rebels directly received arms  and logistical support  from NATO bloc countries during the Libyan conflict in 2011[…]
Image: Abdelhakim Belhadj, rebel leader during the 2011 war in Libya and former commander of the Al-Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.
As covertly supporting terrorist organizations to achieve foreign policy aims appears to be the commanding prerequisite of foreign policy operations under the Obama Administration, Boko Haram exists as a separate arm of the US destabilization apparatus, aimed at shattering Africa’s most populous nation and biggest potential market. (Nile Bowie, )
Reports also indicate that some Nigerian commanders may be involved in fuelling the insurgency.
According to the report, a Nigerian soldier in Borno state confirmed that Boko Haram attacked Gamboru Ngala in their presence but their commander asked them not to repel the attack. The soldier told BBC Hausa Service that choppers hovered in the air while the attacks were ongoing. 300 people were killed, houses and a market burnt while soldiers watched and were ordered not to render assistance to those being attacked. The soldier said that the Boko Haram insurgency will end when superior officers in the army cease to fuel it.
At the abductions of Chibok girls, one soldier in an interview told SaharaReporters,
“…we were ordered to arrest vehicles carrying the girls but just as we started the mission, another order was issued that we should pull back. I can assure you, nobody gave us any directives to look for anybody.”
Some soldiers suspect that their commanders reveal military operations to the Boko Haram sect. (Audu Liberty Oseni, Who is Protecting Boko Haram. Is the Nigerian Government involved in a Conspiracy?, africanexecutive.com, May 28, 2014)
Could it be that these commanders have been coerced by elements in the U.S. embassy, as suggested by the aforementioned Greewhite Coalition investigation?
Boko Haram: The next chapter in the fraudulent, costly, destructive and murderous war on terror?
It has been clearly demonstrated that the so-called war on terror has increased terrorism. As Nick Turse explained:
[Ten] years after Washington began pouring taxpayer dollars into counterterrorism and stability efforts across Africa and its forces first began operating from Camp Lemonnier [Djibouti], the continent has experienced profound changes, just not those the U.S. sought. The University of Birmingham’s Berny Sèbe ticks off post-revolutionary Libya, the collapse of Mali, the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria, the coup in the Central African Republic, and violence in Africa’s Great Lakes region as evidence of increasing volatility. “The continent is certainly more unstable today than it was in the early 2000s, when the U.S. started to intervene more directly,” he told me. (Nick Turse, The Terror Diaspora)
What exactly does the U.S. seek in Africa?
When it comes to overseas interventions, decades of history have shown that the stated intents of the U.S. Army are never its real intents. The real intent is never to save humans, but always to save profits and power. US-NATO interventions do not save. They kill.
US-led interventions since the beginning of the century have killed hundreds of thousands, if not over a million innocent people. It’s hard to tell because NATO does not really want to know how many civilians it kills. As The Guardian noted in August 2011, except for a brief period, there was “no high-profile international project dedicated to recording deaths in the Libya conflict”.
In February 2014, “at least 21,000 civilians [were] estimated to have died violent deaths as a result of the war” in Afghanistan according to Cost of War. As for Iraq, by May 2014 “at least 133,000 civilians [were] killed by direct violence since the invasion.”
As for Libya, the mainstream media first lied about the fact that Gaddafi initiated the violence by attacking peaceful protesters, a false narrative intended to demonize Gaddafi and galvanize public opinion in favour of yet another military intervention. As the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs reported, “violence was actually initiated by the protesters.”
It stated further:
The government responded to the rebels militarily but never intentionally targeted civilians or resorted to “indiscriminate” force, as Western media claimed […]
The biggest misconception about NATO’s intervention is that it saved lives and benefited Libya and its neighbors. In reality, when NATO intervened in mid-March 2011, Qaddafi already had regained control of most of Libya, while the rebels were retreating rapidly toward Egypt. Thus, the conflict was about to end, barely six weeks after it started, at a toll of about 1,000 dead, including soldiers, rebels, and civilians caught in the crossfire. By intervening, NATO enabled the rebels to resume their attack, which prolonged the war for another seven months and caused at least 7,000 more deaths. (Alan Kuperman, Lessons from Libya: How Not to Intervene, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, September 2013)
Despite these figures, the media will once again try to convince us that what the world needs most at the moment is to get rid of the terrorist group Boko Haram and that a military intervention is the only solution, even though the so-called war on terror has actually increased terrorism globally. As Washington’s Blog pointed out in 2013, “global terrorism had been falling from 1992 until 2004… but has been skyrocketing since 2004.”
The Guardian reported back in November 2014:
The Global Terrorism Index recorded almost 18,000 deaths last year, a jump of about 60% over the previous year. Four groups were responsible for most of them: Islamic State (Isis) in Iraq and Syria; Boko Haram in Nigeria; the Taliban in Afghanistan; and al-Qaida in various parts of the world. (Ewen MacAskill, Fivefold increase in terrorism fatalities since 9/11, says report, The Guardian, November, 18, 2014)
What the Guardian fails to mention is that all these groups, including Boko Haram and the Islamic State, have been, in one way or another, armed, trained and financed by the US-NATO alliance and their allies in the Middle East.
Thanks to the covert support of Western countries, arms dealers and bankers profiting from killing and destruction, the war on terror is alive and well. The West advocates for endless military interventions, pretending to ignore the real causes of terrorism and the reason why it expands, hiding its role in it and thereby clearly showing its real intent: fuelling terrorism to destabilize and destroy nations, thus justifying military invasion and achieving their conquest of the African continent’s richest lands under the pretext of saving the world from terror.
Nick Turse, AFRICOM’s Gigantic ‘Small Footprint’ – AFRICOM: The Pivot to Africa
The Deeper Penetration of AFRICOM on the Continent
The Pentagon’s Mystery Missions in Africa
Behind the Veil of Secrecy Over US Military Operations in Africa
AFRICOM: The Outpost That Doesn’t Exist in the Country You Can’t Locate
What’s Behind the Postponement of the Nigerian Elections?
Our Girls are Still not Home: Boko Haram and the Politics of Death
Nigeria: Unraveling the Mystery of Boko Haram
Nigerian War Against Boko Haram Sabotaged by United States Imperialism
Benghazi and the Birth of the “New Normal” in Africa
From Benghazi to Boko Haram: Why I Support the Benghazi Inquiry
Behind the Sound Bites Lies the Hideous Truth
Boko Haram a Blessing for Imperialism in Africa: U.S. Training Death Squads
Keith Harmon Snow: Nigeria’s Boko Haram