World View: Boko Haram Abduction of Schoolgirls Becomes International Issue

World View: Boko Haram Abduction of Schoolgirls Becomes International Issue

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Boko Haram abduction of schoolgirls becomes international issue
  • Ukraine’s pro-Russian activists to go ahead with secession referendum

Boko Haram abduction of schoolgirls becomes international issue

The United States is leading an international effort, along with Britain, France, and China, to help Nigeria find the 276 or so missing schoolgirls that were abducted by the terror group Boko Haram on April 16. It’s believed that the U.S. will provide some military help using drones, launched from a new drone base in Niger. However, it’s believed that the search for the girls will be hampered by the fact that the girls have probably been split up into smaller groups; that they’ve probably been moved into neighboring countries of Niger, Cameroon, and Chad; and that some of them may already have been sold as slave girls.

Boko Haram has followed the abduction with a series of additional terror attacks, including a bombing in the capital city of Abuja, the abduction of eight additional girls last Sunday, and the murder of hundreds of people in a village on Monday. It used to be that Boko Haram bombed government installations and Christian churches, but now it seems that Boko Haram has almost “freaked out” with mass attacks on civilians that are so gruesome and horrific that even al-Qaeda avoids them because of the negative publicity.

For a couple of weeks after the abduction occurred, it seemed that nobody particularly cared – not the government of Nigeria, and not the international community. But this week feminists have come out with a #BringBackOurGirls Twitter campaign. Whether the cries of feminist outrage will encourage Boko Haram to change its way or, to the contrary, will encourage Boko Haram to abduct even more schoolgirls remains to be seen. CS Monitor and CNN and Tribune (Nigeria)

Ukraine’s pro-Russian activists to go ahead with secession referendum

Pro-Russian activists in eastern Ukraine have defiantly announced thatthey have three million ballots already printed and that they’re goingahead with Sunday’s referendum on separation from Ukraine, despiteWednesday’s surprising call from Russia’s president Vladimir Putin topostpone it.

I listened to several different analysts and commentators speculate onthe reasons Putin made his flip-flop and called for postponementof the referendum. Here are some of the speculations:

  • As we reported previously, Putin has been caught in a lie in the claims that 97% of the voters in the Crimean secession voted for secession. It turns out that these figures are fraudulent, and the actual figure is 50% of a 30% turnout, or 15% of voters. Putin would probably not easily get away with a similar fraud in an eastern Ukraine referendum.
  • A number of polls indicate that Putin’s side is likely to lose. A recent Pew Research poll shows that 70% of east Ukrainians want Ukraine to be united, while only 18% want to secede; even Russian speakers in east Ukraine favor a united Ukraine by 58% to 27%.
  • Putin may be afraid that events are spinning out of control and that if the pro-secession activists win the referendum, then Ukraine may become completely chaotic, with a refugee crisis that will spill over the border into Russia.
  • Putin’s flip-flop may simply have been another charade, since he knew that his call would be ignored. But then he can say that he did his best and he would then avoid further Western sanctions.

Interestingly enough, I didn’t hear a single commentator say thatPutin called off the referendum because “it’s the right thing to do.”

On Thursday, the Pentagon repeated that there have been no changesto the Russian forces on the border, despite Putin’s obviouslydishonest claim that Russian forces had been pulled back. AP and Pew Research and CS Monitor

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