U.S. Military Involvement in Nigeria
There is mounting evidence that the government of Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar’adua is set to launch a full-scale offensive in the Niger Delta when a ceasefire declared by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) ends on 15 Sep 2009.
And this time, Nigerian military forces will be using special warships, helicopter gunships and troop transports, and unmanned drone intelligence planes and ships sold to Nigeria by Israeli, Malaysian, Singaporean, Dutch, and Russian companies.
In May 2008, the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, hosted “Unified Quest 2008,” the Army’s annual war games to test the American military’s ability to deal with the kind of crises that it might face in the near future. “Unified Quest 2008” was especially noteworthy because it was the first time that the war games included African scenarios as part of the Pentagon’s plan to create a new military command for the continent: the Africa Command or AFRICOM. No representatives of AFRICOM were at the war games, but AFRICOM officers were in close communication throughout the event.
In the events unfolding across the oilfields of the Niger delta, the Yar’Adua government is facing one of the most profound political crises since the civil war. The Nigerian government now confronts an insurgency - there is no other word to describe the spectacular descent into militancy and state violence since the 1990s, and most especially since the dramatic emergence of MEND in late 2005 - and in turn launched a full-scale military counter-insurgency on May 13th 2009. In the decade since the Kaiama Declaration, the region has become largely ungovernable. The events of the last two months have pushed Nigeria to a tipping point.