The evidence continues to mount up against the Obama administration. At some point the media is going to start to openly wonder whether or not the White House actually understands what is (and is not) in the best interests of the USA. A new and shocking report from the Jerusalem Post says that President Obama stopped a transfer of US made military helicopters from Israel to the government of Nigeria this past summer.
If you recall, Nigeria is in the fight of their life against the violent Islamic extremists of Boko Haram – a group that is as violent and disgusting as our current enemy dujour ISIS. There have been many disturbing reports to come out of Nigeria in recent months detailing the horrible and evil works of Boko Haram. In fact, one of their most recent attacks saw the murder of more than 2000 innocent people living in the northern reaches of Nigeria.
Could these helicopters that we stopped Israel from transferring to Nigeria have stopped such a massacre? Who knows? But it does beg the question, if we are Nigeria’s allies and we are working to help them defeat Boko Haram, why would we stop the transfer of these military helicopters when they are obviously so desperately needed?
Here’s what the Jerusalem Post says, and note in particular the possible reasons given for stopping the transfer.
According to a report initially published in a local Nigerian daily, ThisDay, Nigerian government officials believe a large sale was halted because of “unfounded allegations of human rights violations by our troops,” one such official is quoted saying. The Nigerian official is not named in the report.
“This,” he continued, “after the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had initially approved the purchase.”
Nigeria receives extensive training and assistance from the US government in its battle against Boko Haram, an extremist group affiliated with al-Qaida that Obama has repeatedly labeled an enemy of the United States.
“The ideology of ISIL [Islamic State] or al-Qaida or Boko Haram will wilt and die if it is consistently exposed and confronted and refuted in the light of day,” Obama said in his address to the UN General Assembly.
Boko Haram gained notoriety around the world after its militants kidnapped 276 schoolgirls in April.
The US sent military personnel to help find the girls.
US assistance to Nigeria is intended to “professionalize the response of its security forces, including to respond to crime and terrorism,” and “emphasizes human rights, civilian protection and adherence to rule of law at all levels,” American officials said.
“The United States remains committed to helping the Nigerian government combat the terrorist organization Boko Haram,” a State Department official said. “We are engaging with the Nigerian government at all levels to identify areas of counterterrorism cooperation.”
An article in The New York Times last week claims to have verified Washington’s veto of the sale, but no sourcing is identified.
“The kind of question that we have to ask is, let’s say we give certain kinds of equipment to the Nigerian military that is then used in a way that affects the human situation,” US ambassador to Nigeria James F. Entwistle told reporters in October, according to the Times.
“If I approve that, I’m responsible for that. We take that responsibility very seriously.”
So the two reasons that might have played a role in stopping the transfer – human rights violations by the Nigerian government and the possibility that Nigeria could use the technology improperly. (The Post article also mentions the possibility that Nigeria might then transfer the helicopters to nations that are not concerned with human rights and may use the helicopters to violate the rights of innocents.)
On their face, all these concerns seem overwrought. Nigeria is trapped in a life and death struggle with Boko Haram that could very reasonably destabilize the entire region and see Boko Haram (and Militant Islam) move into the border nations of Niger, Chad and Cameroon! While some of the soldiers within the Nigerian army may or may not have committed bad acts, it does not change the fact that Boko Haram is CONTINUALLY committing even worse crimes against humanity. In the region, the closest thing there is to a “good guy” is the Nigerian army.
The notion that we may have made the deaths of thousands that much easier by blocking transfer of military hardware from Israel to Nigeria should be disheartening for all of us. And it should be downright heartbreaking for the people in our government who stepped in and stopped the transfer.
This is one decision that should never have been made – and someone (besides the innocent people dying in Nigeria) should have to pay for it.
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