World View: Cameroon’s Air Force Bombs Boko Haram Positions, Forcing Retreat

Boko Haram bombing aftermath
AP Photo

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Pakistan may free the alleged Mumbai 2008 terror mastermind
  • Cameroon’s air force bombs Boko Haram positions, forcing retreat
  • Cameroon bombings raise questions about Nigeria’s army
  • Greece’s stocks plunge as government collapses

Pakistan may free the alleged Mumbai 2008 terror mastermind

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace during the 2008 terror attack
Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace during the 2008 terror attack

Two weeks after Pakistan suffered a horrific Taliban attack on a Peshawar army school, killing over 130 schoolchildren, Pakistan’s court is about to set free the alleged mastermind of the horrific 3-day terror attack on Mumbai in 2008. In that attack, many hundreds were killed and injured, the iconic Taj Mahal Palace hotel was burned and gutted, and the crowd in the CST Railway Station was sprayed with bullets.

After some investigation, there was little doubt that the perpetrators were Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), a terror group that had originally been constituted in the 1990s by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) to fight Indian forces in disputed Kashmir regions. India said it had evidence that government agencies of Pakistan were involved in plotting the attack, and threatened to send security forces into Pakistan to arrest LeT members. War was averted between the two countries only after hard intervention by then US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

A conflict was averted when Pakistan promised to prosecute the perpetrators, but although LeT members were arrested, there have never been any prosecutions or trials. Now, a Pakistani court has granted $10,000 bail to Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai attack, and he may be walking free soon, although he may continue to be held on other charges. There is outrage in India at this development, but there seems to be little concern in Pakistan that a major attack by Pakistan’s LeT on Indian targets will pass with impunity.

Following the Peshawar attack, Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif, said: “We announce that there will be no differentiation between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Taliban, and resolve to continue the war against terrorism till the last terrorist is eliminated.” Only a few days later, that promise is now very much in doubt. Express Tribune (Pakistan) and India Times and AFP

Cameroon’s air force bombs Boko Haram positions, forcing retreat

For the first time, Cameroon’s air force conducted air strikes in support of the army against Boko Haram positions in northern Cameroon, forcing the terrorists to retreat. Though Cameroon has deployed thousands of troops to the Far North, the region is difficult to police because of the rugged terrain. Vast expanses of territory are uninhabited and there are few physical barriers demarcating Cameroon’s border with Nigeria. Many on either side speak the same Hausa language and it is often difficult to distinguish locals from foreigners.

The bombings follow an escalation of the fighting in Cameroon. In the past, Nigerian Boko Haram fighters have focused on hit and run raids on individual settlements. But now Boko Haram is seeking to expand the territory its holding in Nigeria by taking territory in Cameroon.

According to Cameroon, about 1000 Boko Haram fighters over the weekend seized parts of several villages, and briefly occupied a military camp.

In addition, the militants kidnapped several girls between the ages 12 and 15 for forced marriages to the group’s fighters. In the past year, Boko Haram has stepped up kidnappings of young women in Nigeria to sell them into sexual slavery or force them to marry its fighters. Leadership (Nigeria) and Al-Jazeera and VOA

Cameroon bombings raise questions about Nigeria’s army

A story that received worldwide attention in October was that it took just 30 Boko Haram militants to capture the commercial city of Mubi, in northeast Nigeria, without firing a shot.

An investigation has revealed that the city was defended by over 1,000 well-armed Nigerian troops, but that they dropped their arms and ran instead of fighting. The debacle is being blamed on sabotage by sympathetic northern troops and some of their commanders who refused to fight the insurgents.

Just as some people in Pakistan’s government are sympathetic to the Taliban and support them, it appears that there are people in Nigeria’s government and army that are sympathetic to Boko Haram and support them.

The actions by Cameroon to conduct bombing raids against Boko Haram positions in Cameroon have highlighted the problem. Nigeria has a much larger and more powerful air force, but they’ve refused to take similar actions against Boko Haram positions in Nigeria. This Day Live (Nigeria)

Greece’s stocks plunge as government collapses

After Greece’s prime minister Antonis Samaras received on Monday what is in effect a vote of no confidence from the nation’s parliament, Samaras will call on Tuesday for snap elections on January 25.

Polls indicate that the likely winner will be the radical far left Syriza party, led by Alexis Tspiras. Tspiras is demanding that Greece renege on the commitments it made in order to qualify for a 240 billion euro bailout that has already been paid. This would push Greece’s government into bankruptcy, and push bond yields up well into double or even triple digits, making it almost impossible for Greece to borrow money. Tspiras has indicated that it would be fine with him if Greece completely abandons the euro currency, and goes back to its old drachma currency.

Greece’s stock market fell 11.3%, before partially recovering and closing down 3.9%. Kathimerini and Reuters

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Toiba, LeT, Kashmir, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Inter-Services Intelligence, ISI, Condoleeza Rice, India, Mumbai, Taj Mahal Palace, Taliban, Nawaz Sharif, Cameroon, Nigeria, Boko Haram, Greece, Antonis Samaras, Syriza, Alexis Tspiras
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