World View: Car Bombing in Nigeria, 200 Kidnapped Girls Still Missing

World View: Car Bombing in Nigeria, 200 Kidnapped Girls Still Missing

This morning’s key headlines from 

  • Russia resurrects May Day parade to celebrate Ukraine annexation
  • Russia prepares for sanctions while ridiculing Obama
  • New car bombing in Nigeria, while 200 kidnapped girls are still missing

Russia resurrects May Day parade to celebrate Ukraine annexation

At Mayday rally, banners include the flag of the self-declared 'People's Republic of Donetsk [Ukraine]' (Reuters)
At May Day rally, banners include the flag of the self-declared ‘People’s Republic of Donetsk [Ukraine]’ (Reuters)

With the annexation of Ukraine’s territory pushing the poll ratings ofRussia’s President Vladimir Putin astronomically high into the 80s, onThursday, Moscow staged the first May Day parade in decades. Accordingto Moscow’s mayor, more than 100,000 people marched in the parade.mood in the country,” he said. There were also large pro-Putin May Dayparades in other Russian cities, as in Simferopol, the capital of theannexed Crimea region. The holiday will continue all weekend.

In the two weeks since an agreement on Ukraine was reached in Genevaon April 17 by Russia, Ukraine, and the west, it’s become pretty clearthat the Russians never had any intention of abiding by their ownagreement, and that Putin and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrovwere simply lying. The Russians are using dozens, perhaps hundreds, of Russian special forces for training and other support ofanti-Ukrainian activists, as well as military threats, with thepurpose of destabilizing Ukraine as much as possible. The endgame ispresumably to create enough instability to give Russia an excuse for amilitary invasion. It’s possible that events are spiraling out ofcontrol even for Putin because of the highly nationalistic andenthusiastic response of the Russian people and the pro-Russianactivists in Ukraine, following the annexation of Crimea.

Reuters and Jamestown

Russia prepares for sanctions while ridiculing Obama

A lengthy analysis in Kommersant says that Russian officialsare very concerned about the long-term effects of the sanctionsthat are being imposed on Russia as a result of the annexationof Ukraine’s territory. Of particular concern arethe sanctions against Russia’s giant state-owned energy firmRosneft and its head Igor Sechin:

Rosneft is actively working with U.S. companies.Back in 2011 it became a strategic partner of ExxonMobil. … Inexchange for the fields on the shelf of the Russian Arctic andBlack Sea, Rosneft received assets in Texas, Gulf of Mexico andCanada. Igor Sechin himself traveled on business to the UnitedStates at least three times in two years. In April 2012, he wasstill in the position of Deputy Prime Minister, and led adelegation … to New York at the presentation of the Russian oilindustry. Then he compared the alliance of “Rosneft” andExxonMobil with a “flight to the Moon,” called for getting rid ofRussian-American relations. … 

[Rosneft] hoped that ExxonMobil would intervene and convince theWhite House not to impose sanctions against Igor Sechin.unexpected,” says [one analyst]. None of them fully understandwhat may be the real impact of the sanctions.”

Russian officials are particularly concerned that the sanctions “maydevelop slowly as in the Iranian scenario. … U.S. sanctions againstIran after their period of active development in 1980-1981 the seriesand slowly tightened until 2004.”

The Russians see the sanctions as the result of the weakness ofPresident Barack Obama, the need to “save face,” and an attempt togain advantage at the expense of the European Union:

Inside the country, [the situation] gives PresidentObama an opportunity to save face and to answer his Republicancritics, who accuse him of indecision and constantly losing toPresident Putin. Moreover, we should not forget that thesanctions against Russia have little negative effect onWashington, in comparison to the EU, according to one expert.States will benefit from this opportunity to mobilize allies andremind them of American leadership.”

Kommersant (Trans) and Jamestown

New car bombing in Nigeria, while 200 kidnapped girls are still missing

If over 200 girls had been kidnapped almost anywhere else in theworld, it would be a big story, at least as big as that of Malaysianflight 370. And yet, despite reports that the girls, aged 16-18, arebeing forced into marriage or sold as slave girls for $12 each bytheir Boko Haram terrorist captors, the desperate parents of the girlsare wondering why nobody in the West is coming to the aid of Nigeriain searching for the girls, or even acknowledging the situation.

This mass abduction occurred only a few days after a major terroristBoko Haram attack. And now, on Thursday, a new major car bombingoccurred, killing 19 people. The new bombing was just two blocks awayfrom the last bombing, on the outskirts of the capital city, Abuja.

It turns out that, according to one Nigerian analyst, even Nigeriansthemselves are actually gleeful at the abduction of the girls.The reason is that opponents of President Goodluck Jonathansee this as an opportunity to highlight his ineffectiveness,with the approach of the election scene. This horrific patternof placing politics above any shred of humanity is hardlyunknown in America. According to one Nigerian columnist:

Indeed, the “weakness” of a President or the securityapparatus under his tenure – whether the “weakness” is real orimagined – cannot be a justification for the mass murder committedthrough the [car bombings]. But the detractors of PresidentJonathan who blame the “worsening” of the Boko Haram attacks onhis “weakness” and the “inadequacy” of his administration’sefforts to combat the insurgency would rather think otherwise.And one of them, in a curios post on social media recently,reacting to the reported threat by the insurgents to kill theabducted girls in their custody if the government’s search forthem continues, said all that was happening because “ourgovernment has been sleeping.”

I listen to such reactions for any strain of condemnation for thekidnap of the schoolgirls – which the Senate President, DavidMark, has rightly described as “sacrilegious” – and I hear none;and I am astonished by how politics might have debased thehumanity of some of our citizens, men and women who would rathergloat against the government for its “inability” to prevent themurder or kidnap of their fellow citizens and their children, thanrespond to the humane imperative to condemn such acts, apparentlybecause they serve their political ends.”

If Nigerians themselves are so debased that they don’t care about theabduction of 200 girls, then it’s hardly a surprise that the rest ofthe world doesn’t care either.

BBC and Business Day (Nigeria) and CNN

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