View Full Version : Ghana must engage with US but not fight proxy wars for it - Middle-East Expert

25th September 2013, 01:34 AM
Ghana is unlikely to become the target for any terrorist group as long as it does not serve as a proxy in the United States' war against terrorism, an expert on Middle-East Affairs has said.

Irbard Ibrahim, says provided that government does not allow itself to be used as "a stooge to fight US proxy wars", terror attacks such as the recent one experienced by Kenya will not be visited on the nation.

At least 62 people were killed while over a hundred others were injured in the militant attack on the Westgate Shopping Mall, in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, last Saturday.

The dead included Ghana's former Chairman of the Council of State, Prof. Kofi Awoonor who was shot several times. His son, who was with him however, survived gunshot wounds.

Somalia's al Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which began at lunchtime on Saturday. Kenyan officials say some 10 to 15 militants were involved.

Speaking Tuesday on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, Mr. Ibrahim, said Ghana must engage with the United States at the level of cooperation on peace, humanitarian activities, diplomacy, and democracy but it must not expose itself to attacks by serving as a proxy nation in America's war on terror.

While maintaining that the barbaric attacks on Kenya must be condemned without equivocation, he said, Ghana must recognise that the militants did what they did because the Kenyan security forces went to Somalia to attack the group.

"I love the United States of America; it is leading the charge against dictators in the world but America's interests are sometimes detrimental to one's own home security and therefore we should be able to re-calibrate the trajectory of diplomacy we have with the United States so that we don't go headlong into any project they present to us," he said.

While cooperation with the US was absolutely necessary, Mr. Ibrahim, said, "our internal security should be of utmost importance to us as a people."

He said many countries especially in the Middle-East which are mired in violence now were "peaceful before they got involved in America's war on terror."

The Middle-East expert said other factors making black African susceptible to recruitment into terrorist organisations such as poverty, marginalisations, discrimination and domination have to be addressed.

Citing the Boko Haram in Nigeria, Mr. Ibrahim said the mainly northern Nigerians are "fighting because they live in the arid lands of the country and they feel alienated by the richer southern part of the country."

To that extent Ghana, he said was not immune to attacks because "when you look at certain regions in the country; I'm not even talking about the north; when you go to the periphery of even the capital, you see the squalor in which our people are living so if someone can give you like $20 a day to wield a Kalashnikov, anybody will go for it, everybody wants a quick fix."

These terrorists, mostly in their 20s are ready to sacrifice their lives to fight till they die, Irbard stated. "You can't stop a man who is ready to die" because, they are motivated by the fact that they will be celebrated when they die.

But if people have something to live for, they are likely to repudiate any attempt to indoctrinate them to resort to violence.

He said extremist groups are well funded and fill the void where states fail to provide for the basic needs of their people.

So the conditions that make people susceptible to being used as "canon fodder
to carry out extremism should be addressed; issues of poverty, issues of marginalisations, lack of amenities for people so that everybody feels that they treated fairly so that when anybody proposes anything negative to [them, they will not buy it]", he added.

He said the security agencies must also strengthen their ties with the local people for effective intelligence gathering.

The, he said, is necessary if they are to nib in the bud any attempt to undermine the peace and security of the nation.

Contributing to the discussion, Security Analyst, Emmanuel Sowatey cautioned Kenya against a planned outright war against militancy as according to him, "militancy has never been defeated outright, they always bounce back".

Mr. Sowatey however, suggests a more strategic approach by engaging the leaders of the terror groups in negotiations in order to avoid further attacks.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has offered U.S. support, saying he believed Kenya - the scene of one of al Qaeda's first major attacks, in 1998, and a neighbour of chaotic Somalia - would continue to be a regional pillar of stability.

Kenya said its security forces had taken control of the Nairobi shopping mall where Islamist fighters killed at least 62 people, and that police were doing a final sweep of shops early Tuesday, after the last of the hostages had been rescued.


25th September 2013, 08:48 AM
chaotic Somalia - ? do you think so? It can be interpreted as well as a symbol of freedom and independence. People went there for ngo's to help and they never came back. But did they fully understood the situation?