Danger of Promoting terrorism and banditry through appeasement
By Moses Oludele Idowu
[ This essay is dedicated to the memory of Ariel Sharon, Colin Powell, Gamal Abdel Nasser, and Hosni Mubarak, Generals of the army – Generals indeed and in truth not pepper-soup generals or generals by quota or manipulation – men who dealt bitterly and fatally with Islamic terror and saved their people from its scourge.]
The Encyclopedia Britannica defines trench warfare as “a warfare in which opposing armed forces attack, counterattack and defend from relatively permanent systems of trenches dug into the ground. These opposing systems of trenches are usually close to one another.”
One thing about trench warfare is that it could go on for years as each force attack and counterattack each other. It is not surprising that trench warfare which was greatly used in World War 1 is now outmoded in conventional Warfare Strategy both for the sheer waste of time and resources. Technology now makes it possible for a war to be concluded and for major objectives to be reached within target time.
Each time I consider the way Nigerian Military and Security Services are prosecuting the war against Terror that is facing us as a people and nation the only word that comes to me is “trench warfare.” For how long can we continue with this trench warfare with these bandits and Islamic terrorists?
When you are faced with a demon you don’t have a dozen or half a dozen options. You have only one or two: either he snuffs your life or you waste him. There is no other option left.
There are two ways to deal with terror especially Islamic terror: either you destroy and subdue it or you bow and submit to it. It is either you fight it with superior weapons to the point that it doesn’t constitute a threat or you submit to its demands.
Israel and Egypt understand this truth well. America now understands it. The scaffolding in Abuja that pretends to be a government ( apologies to Bishop Kukah) does not understand this.
When in the 1960’s terrorists would pass through Jordan into Israeli farms and slay farmers in their farms, Israel responded by warning Jordan of the consequences. When Jordan continued to offer terrorists passage Israel taught that nation a lesson it won’t forget by sending a unit of commandoes under then Major Sharon to kill at random Jordanian citizens as retaliation. In one day hundreds of Jordanians lay dead as corpses on the street.
After that Jordan would not allow any terrorist on its soil and became friends with Israel.
For Syria the consequences were bitter and painful and enduring from Israel.
When in 1972 Abu Nidal group, the Black September Organization stormed the Munich Olympics Game Village and took Israeli athletes hostage eventually killing them, Israel waited for its time. Then one Sunday morning in 1982 Israel commandoes stormed Tunisia to meet Abu Nidal in his house with his wife and children and two ladies, commandoes stepped forward to pay him back with 39 bullets for the lives of 11 Israeli athletes taken 10 years earlier.
When in 1976 Dr. Wadid’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine ( PFLP) hijacked an Israeli passenger plane, Fight 139 and took it to Entebbe, Uganda it was time for Israel to make a statement, nay a testament, to the whole world that it does not play with the lives of her citizens. By the following week Israeli Air Force and commandoes rose to the occasion and in four contingent stormed and pounded Entebbe Airport killing all the terrorists and freeing all her citizens from captivity in an operation that will forever remain a standard in military history. They also taught that Islamist and buffoon, Idi Amin Dada a lesson he never forgot till his death
When Lebanon also offers her territory for terrorists to launch attacks into Israel, her own lesson was severe. One day Israel commandoes stormed Beirut airport and blew up all passenger jets within vicinity as an economic damage to Lebanon. When the attacks continue without respite Israel did the needful: one day Israeli Army backed with air and aerial support, infantry and brigade rode into Lebanon with tanks and artillery to physically flush out the terrorists through nationwide invasion in 1982.
The same Palestinian Liberation Organisation that vowed it would never make peace with Israel finally renounced terror and agreed to negotiate opening a new chapter. It was made clear to it that Israel will never be won by terror because for every terror it launched against Israeli citizens, Israel too responded with greater, more severe terror. That is where there is government.
In the 1960’s the Muslim Brotherhood began to rear its head in Egypt threatening the legitimate government of the nation with acts of terrorism. The grouse of Muslim Brotherhood is that the government was too secular and not Islamic enough. Gamal Abdel Nasser, the then Egyptian President is an army general just like the present occupant of Aso Rock and that is where the similarity ends.
He did what a general would do when faced with battle. He took the Brotherhood on first by executing their leaders and throwing so many of them into jail that the Movement went underground and had to renounce terror.
Anwar Sadat who took over from Nasser made a great mistake which the Nigerian government is now making: appeasement. Sadat needed the Brotherhood support to counter the Marxists who had become numerous and were threatening the centre. Sadat felt he needed to use the Brotherhood to offset and weaken the Communists; it was his greatest mistake. When therefore he got to power the Brotherhood asked him to implement the pact of the agreement by turning Egypt to a Islamic State. Sadat would not do that, then the Battle began afresh. Islamists resorted to terror, attacking and killing tourists, innocent Muslims, Christian population, police officers and agents of government. Sadat thought he could appease them but for how long?
Everytime you appease a demon you make it stronger and make yourself weak. That was the error Chamberlain made with Hitler and the result was the Second World War.
Sadat was lenient unlike Nasser who rose with full force against terror and lawlessness. By now a more deadly offshoot of Muslim Brotherhood had emerged named Al- Gama’a al- Islamiyyah whose armed wing, Al- Jihad led by Abdul Salam Faraj ultimately planned the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981.
This is my point: the demon you failed to kill will ultimately kill you. That was the lesson Sadat learned too late.
Hosni Mubarak another army general wasted no time. As soon as he took over government he rounded up all the islamist leaders and executed those implicated in the assassination of his boss and clamped thousands into long prison sentences. He met the Islamic terror groups with greater terror. Egypt became too hot for radicals to stay. Hosni Mubarak would be the first leader to defeat the terrorists and beat them in their own game. Even to find the literature of Al- Jihad group with you was punishable with imprisonment. In prison they were tortured by overzealous policemen and security guards, whipped and stripped and subjected to electric shock treatments etc. Faced with torture they began to confess the names of their other colleagues outside and secrets which the government forces went after. No respite.
It was not long before they renounced terror. From prison they began to write to their people to renounce terror and embrace peace. When the leaders came out of prison Muslim Brotherhood and Al- Gamma renounced terror and embraced dialogue. Mubarak was the first Muslim ruler to defeat islamic terror on its own soil. Yorubas were right that it is the son of fire that you send to confront fire.
Others escaped and
fled because Egypt became too hot. Many of them ran to Afghanistan where Soviet Union had just invaded and was being resisted by jihadists. One of those who fled Egypt and escaped Mubarak’s onslaught was Al- Jihad’s second- in – command, the dreaded Ayman al- Zawahiri who would team up with Osama bin Laden becoming al- Qaeda’s second in command and who together would plot the 9/11 attacks that brought America and Europe to their knees. By then they had stopped focusing on Egypt or national territory to include international struggle to impose the Islamic Law and way of life on all nations.
So you can see that we are dealing with dangerous people, dangerous enemies. And our government is sleeping on its watch
What is the strategy in this war against terror from the islamists? I can’t see any. Except Appeasement from both government and people of Nigeria.
In the last few months several families have paid ransoms to these criminals in hundreds of millions of naira. The prelate of Methodist Church paid N100 million and several people.
Do Nigerians know the implications of these? You are powering the dragon that will kill you ultimately and kill your nation.
A train was hijacked and citizens taken into the forests and for hours our security agencies could not even get their acts together until the terrorists escaped. It is now the responsibility of each family to settle and pay the terrorists. Still our army and police and SSS knew nothing and has no clue about these.
Someone is sleeping on his watch. Someone is being mischievous and treasonous against Nigeria.
With every ransom that is paid you make these terrorists stronger and stronger. You give them money to buy weapons and survive.
They now own more weapons possibly more than the security agencies. They now attack Kaduna with helicopter.
They now raid even military installations like NDA and hold officers hostage. And still the army has no clues. How come that Sheik Gumi knows where the terrorists reside in the forests but DSS and the army do not know?
Is it that the Nigerian Army has so completely retrogressed and degraded that it can no longer fight on its own territory? What is holding the army and who is holding it? What happened to the Tucano jets supplied by Americans? Where is Nigerian Air Force and Artillery? All the billions earmarked in annual budget for defense where does it go? The $1billion used to procure weapons what happened to the weapons? Or, as General Danjuma says,” is it that the Nigerian Army is no longer neutral?” Could it.mean that the army is footdragging on this war against terror because some officers and generals see these people as ideological compatriots and as such in need of religious solidarity? Could the present government be showing symphathy to these terrorists much more than to Nigeria because after all they are fighting for Islam and enthronement of Islam which some officials in this government and even the army share?
We all know how difficult it was even for this government to proclaim these bandits as terrorists; we know how this government usually explain away the actions of these men even defending the herdsmen many of whom have now morphed into criminal gangs.
How did Al- Jihad and Muslim Brotherhood get the money to prosecute their war of terror against government in Egypt? By robbing Christian shops, pharmacies, etc.
From here we know that hostage taking, ransom, plunder and criminalities are the major sources of finance for Islamic terrorist groups. This has been the case throughout Islamic chequered history even from the very beginning in Arabia. They raise money through terror. It is not new in the history of Islam.
But it also shows something. When a nation or society is facing such it shows these groups have a bigger plans : Jihad, the complete overthrow of existing order and the replacement with a truly Islamic government and state. This much they told the Prelate of Methodist Church during his abduction.
Thus everytime you pay a ransom or jitzya you are also contributing to the future preparation for the Jihad and the making of an Islamic State.
No one asks for hundred millions of naira because he wants to eat; that sum is not for eating but for war. You ignore that at your own peril.
In the midst of all these we have a government that is sleeping on its watch, a government that is asleep like Jonah while the storm is raging. Who knows where the storm will come next? Who knows where the next abduction will take place? A professor has just being released after payment of fifteen million naira. And our government would not say anything. It pretends not see and hear; I mean the scaffolding we call government. Government agencies are now advising youth corpers to be prepared to pay ransom in case of abduction where they are posted. And no one bothers.
When the terror storms came to Israel, General Sharon rose to the occasion sending Israeli commandoes and fighter jets to Bekaa Valley and deep into Tunisia to bombard the terrorists. When the storm came to Egypt General Mubarak rose to the occasion and dealt such fatal blow against homegrown terrorists that they renounced terror and the rest fled in different directions even though he was of the same tribe and religion with the terrorists. However when the Terrorism struck Nigeria what did Maj. General Buhari do? He did nothing that we can see, except to send condolence messages and junket abroad. But generals don’t send condolence messages, that is not their training. They attack and fight terror and uproot it.
The recent news is the killing of over 30 soldiers and 7 mobile policemen and 2 civilians at Ajata- Aboki in Shiroro Local Government in Niger State by terrorists who ambushed them. I have not heard anything from the government but what will government say other than what it has been saying?
We are engaging in trench warfare with the islamist terrorists and trench warfare is the wrong option. Our generals, serving and retired know this or they ought to know it. If they do not they shouldn’t have been generals to begin with. So when will they put into practice what they know?
Nigeria is powering the dragon that will kill her. There is no sincerity at the centre and so much of mischief. We are in danger and we do not even yet know it.
A state in the North has already allowed citizens to carry arms to confront the terrorists. It is the first official admission of governmental failure to protect lives. Soon other states will resort to the same option and the road to anarchy is gradually being paved. All these under the watch of a man whose sole promise of seeking election is to combat corruption and insecurity. And it is on those two counts that this government has so signally failed.
There is need for a change of strategy but I doubt whether that will happen under this regime of terrorist symphatisers. Not under this government. It is left for us to devise our own methods to free ourselves.