|Map Courtesy of The World Factbook|
Michael Carl contacted me by email and wanted my input on a story he was working on for WND about the plight of Christians in Nigeria. Nigerian Christians fear for their existence as Boko Haram continues its jihad without much resistance from the government. He specifically wanted to know what I thought Nigerian Christians could do to defend themselves considering that the Nigerian government has been unable to do so thus far, and considering that Boko Haram is well-armed and well-funded. And so I provided him with a short analysis of what they might be able to do.
WND published “Christians Told to ‘Fight Back Brutally’ against Jihadists – Weapon up: ‘They can’t rely on the government,” on August 8. I encourage you to read it.
There is one major thing I need to correct and others that I want to clarify.
First, I have never worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). I never told the author that I did. He contacted me after finding my information on LinkedIn. Here is my LinkedIn profile. I don’t think he intentionally made the error and in fact I think I know why he did. My LinkedIn profile notes that I have “experience working for, in support of or at the Intelligence and Security Command, the National Ground Intelligence Center and National Security Agency.” The Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) and the National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) are components of the Army (with NGIC being a major subordinate command of INSCOM) and I believe that some people think by extension they are subordinate to the DIA since the director of the DIA is sometimes referred to by the press as the “top military spy” or some other such term. However, while the DIA does belong to the DOD it is not in the chain-of-command of INSCOM and NGIC. In other words, working for INSCOM or NGIC does not mean you work for the DIA. I think some people confuse this.
It might seem petty of me to make this correction. But we live in the age of stolen valor, and any perceived misrepresentation of your service record can potentially bring you unwanted attention from any number of bloggers who make it their life mission to destroy anyone who intentionally or unintentionally claims to have done something he has not done. So I want to make it absolutely clear that I never worked for the DIA, nor have I ever told anyone or insinuated that I have.
That being said, there are two other things I want to clarify from the article. Here is one passage:
He said the American government is allowing its dislike of the Nigerian government’s social policies to interfere with helping counter jihad.
“The heavy U.S. involvement is complicated, and there are certain things the U.S. government doesn’t like about the Nigerian government that is partially hindering whatever working relationship the two governments have. Furthermore, the current U.S. leadership has bizarre priorities in Nigeria, like [Secretary of State John] Kerry’s concerns over Nigeria’s ban on same-sex marriage,” Hair said.
What I meant with my quote is there are multiple things the U.S. government doesn’t like about the Nigerian government. Nigerian policy towards sodomy is most certainly one of those things and I believe it heavily influences the current U.S. administration. In fact, I believe one of the primary things that drive the Obama administration is promoting and spreading sodomy throughout the world. However, there are other things the administration doesn’t like about the Nigerian government as well. For instance, from this Congressional Research Service report, “Nigeria’s Boko Haram: Frequently Asked Questions”:
Nigerian security forces have been accused of committing serious human rights abuses in the context of their operations against Boko Haram. The State Department’s 2013 human rights report documents numerous “arbitrary or unlawful killings” by security forces, including “summary executions, assaults, torture, and other abuses” under the auspices of security operations in the northeast. By some accounts, these abuses are not isolated incidents but part of a set of informal rules of engagement that are condoned by the government. Amnesty International has reported that thousands of people suspected of links to Boko Haram have been extra-judicially executed or unlawfully killed by security forces, and thousands of suspects have died in military or police custody. Allegations of torture by the Nigerian security forces in the context of counterterrorism operations in the northeast have become increasingly common.
Whether that is a legitimate reason for complicating relations between the U.S. and Nigeria is up for debate. (In other words, at what point do people stop worrying about the so-called rights of terrorists?) And speaking of Amnesty International, be sure to read the SCI analysis, “Non-governmental Organizations as Enemy Force Multipliers.”
The second thing I want to clarify from the WND article is this passage:
“There also isn’t an international community of Christians that are going to help the Nigerian Christians with fighting. When Muslim or Arab communities around the world want to fight, there are no shortages of wealthy groups, not to mention national governments, who will help them in some sort of military capacity if the circumstances are right,” he said.
“That doesn’t exist for Christians anywhere in the world. At most, the international Christian community can offer aid and pleas to governments. Other than that, they can do nothing,” Hair said.
Am I suggesting that Christians start breaking the law and act like Arabs and Muslims by forming illegal international networks that run weapons and finance independent wars? No. I am simply stating a fact with regards to the question of how Nigerian Christians can prevent their own extinction. They aren’t going to receive outside help so they are on their own if the Nigerian government can’t help them.
There might be a few other things I want to clarify but I’m not going to do so now. And with this being said, below is the full text of my answer. I certainly didn’t expect the author to use it entirely in his article; I would not have either. However, it does provide some additional information that helps illuminate why I said what I said. I am reprinting my response as I emailed it to the author so there are a few grammatical errors.
How do the Christians of Nigeria defend themselves? That is a great question and one that does not have an easy answer.
The non-Muslim population faced a similar problem in Central African Republic in 2013 after the Muslim Seleka overthrew the government, took control of the nation, and started slaughtering Christians and any other non-Muslims. Any international outcry at this proved ineffective and the Seleka were only stopped when the people (identified in the press as “Christian” anti-balaka groups, although it is highly questionable what “Christian” means in this case) fought back brutally and with a desire to win. This proved astonishingly effective, so much so that the anti-balaka inflicted heavy damage on the Seleka and possibly—possibly—began driving them towards the path of defeat. However, the international community could not tolerate this brutal fighting back, and so it soon concentrated more of its attention on the CAR and increased its intervention. It ultimately prevented the anti-balaka from completely defeating the Seleka. Long story short, the Seleka have now regrouped and the fighting continues. Nevertheless, had the people of the CAR not fought back brutally against the Seleka, they would have been wiped out (just look at what is going on in Iraq right now). So while it wasn’t a total win for them (again, thanks to international intervention) it saved their lives and they have at least a little more time to live.
So how does all this relate to Nigeria and the Christians there defending themselves?
First, the Muslim jihad in Nigeria is part of a larger Muslim jihad in Africa to push south. The Seleka in CAR are part of that jihad regardless if there isn’t any coordination between them and anyone else. Look at this map and you will see exactly what I mean—the Muslim north is trying to extend south:
Second, the Nigerian Christians might have to adopt the same tactics that the Christians and other non-Muslims of the CAR did: they might have to fight back brutally (with whatever weapons they have) and have a high desire to achieve complete victory. Nigeria and the CAR are two completely different nations, and as you have noted BH is well-supplied and well-trained, so there is no guarantee the outcome in Nigeria would be the same as it was in the CAR (particularly when considering that Muslims outnumber Christians in Nigeria, unlike the CAR).
Yet what else can the Nigerian Christians do if they don’t want to be wiped out? If the government can’t help them (and it’s increasingly questionable if it can) then what use is appealing to it? The U.S. is heavily involved in Nigeria but the Nigerian Christians shouldn’t expect help from it. The heavy U.S. involvement is complicated, and there are certain things the U.S. government doesn’t like about the Nigerian government that is partially hindering whatever working relationship the two governments have. Furthermore, the current U.S. leadership has bizarre priorities in Nigeria (see this story for instance: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/susan-jones/kerry-deeply-concerned-nigerias-ban-same-sex-marriage) so I wouldn’t recommend Nigerian Christians hoping for the U.S. government will to them. There also isn’t an international community of Christians that are going to help the Nigerian Christians with fighting. When Muslim or Arab communities around the world want to fight, there are no shortages of wealthy groups (not to mention national governments) who will help them in some sort of military capacity if the circumstances are right. That doesn’t exist for Christians anywhere in the world. At most, the international Christian community can offer aid and pleas to governments. Other than that, they can do nothing.
So the answer might have to be the Nigerian Christians are on their own and they’ll have to form whatever resistance they can. That might not be a great answer—and certainly not the only one—but it might have to do. And, in fact, there is some evidence that Nigerian civilians working together as a security force (and with the government when possible) against BH have been effective (see the Civilian Joint Task Force, for example).
On a full disclosure note, I previously wrote for WND although I haven’t done so in some time. Also, the map I linked to comes from Thomas P. M. Barnett’s website. He is the Chief Analyst at Wikistrat. I consult for Wikistrat.