Showing posts from 2016

Russia Leaps into the Syrian Quagmire

I first wrote and published this article with a local Nigerian newspaper on October 9, 2015, just over a week after Russia's intervention in the Syrian civil war.
Amid the chaos of the Syrian civil war, Putin has dramatically stepped up Russia’s military presence in the country. On September 30, 2015, Russian jets began bombing targets in Syria. 
Weeks before the intervention, a series of satellite images posted on line showing Moscow’s steady deployment of fighter jets, combat helicopters, tanks, armoured fighting vehicles, and anti-aircraft missile systems into the coastal cities of Tartus and Latakia had already hinted at this possibility.
Russia’s expansion of the port facilities in its naval base at Tartus, the upgrading of the airfield at Latakia into an airbase, and the deployment of prefabricated housing suggests a substantial number of Russian military personnel may eventually be stationed in Syria. 
A few days to the commencement of operations, Russian media reported that t…

Why Nigeria Should Think Twice Before Joining Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Military Alliance

An abridged version of this article was published in 'Africa Arguments' on 8 January 2016.

On 15 December, Saudi Arabia made a surprising announcement as it unveiled to the world what it said will be a 34-state “Islamic military alliance” to combat terrorism “all over the Islamic world”.
This ambitious initiative, said Deputy Crown Prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman, “emanates from the keenness of the Muslim world to fight this disease, which has harmed the Islamic world’s standing in the international community”.
Little is known about how exactly this alliance will operate, but according to official statements it seems there will be a military component which includes intelligence sharing, a messaging component to combat extremist ideology, and a sanctions component focused on “stopping the flow of funds” to terror groups.
As for the countries involved, there are notable absentees such as Iran, Syria and Iraq. Meanwhile, those said to be part of the alliance are dra…