Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Responsibly Transforming War

The Boko Haram caliphate has been defeated. But the next war against Boko Haram will be lost and revive that caliphate if Nigeria's government doesn't battle corruption and strengthen rule of law.

The war is won. And the war continues:

Boko Haram is done as an organization that can control territory but as a persistent Islamic terrorist threat it is still around and spreading to other parts of the Moslem north. Now the government has to deal with the fact that the continued corruption and bad government (especially when it comes to security and courts) are keeping enough people angry to sustain some Islamic terrorism along with all manner of violent protest. This can be seen in the Niger River Delta, where most of the oil is and the local tribes have become increasingly violent about the corruption, pollution and obvious lack of benefit to living in the midst of all that wealth.

Nigeria is already at the stage that I wrote Iraq would be when ISIL is finally defeated. That war is critical to preventing jihadis from rising again in Iraq:

It is of course important for the American military to remain in Iraq after the Islamic state caliphate is broken in order to help the Iraqis hunt down ISIL remnants; and to keep an eye on training standards in the Iraqi security forces.

But that is not the only thing that should be on the 30-day review of the fight against ISIL (and jihadis in general, including al Qaeda that is rebuilding).

It is also important to have a surge of FBI and court advisors to help the Iraqis build a law enforcement system with rule of law that does not leave so many holes for the jihadis to enter Iraqi life and kill Iraqis.

And advisors on how to run government agencies as something other than personal enrichment fiefdoms.

This must be a government-wide effort and not just a military effort.

This will be the next Iraq War. We need to win that too.

We did learn that lesson from our premature departure from Iraq in 2011 that emphasized "ending" a war but which allowed the rise of ISIL in the absence of an America-backed battle against corruption and for the strengthening of rule of law, right?

If not, see Nigeria.

UPDATE: ISIL resistance in Mosul is faltering:

Islamic State fighters are in disarray and struggling to fend off a rapid offensive by Iraqi forces to recapture Mosul and expel the militants from their last major stronghold in the country, a top U.S. military official said.

"They’re lacking purpose motivation and direction,” Army Maj. Gen. Joseph Martin said in a phone interview from Baghdad. “I’ve never seen them so disorganized.”

There have been reports of ISIL leadership leaving Mosul. Yes, some left behind will fight to the death. But without leadership to direct the resistance, that willingness to die rather than trying to live to fight another day is a favor to the Iraqis who are more than willing to kill the jihadis.

So the transition to new fights will begin rather sooner than later.