Filed under: BOKO HARAM, Eeben Barlow, Interview, Politik & Geschichte, Porträt, Söldner | Schlagwörter: Boko Haram, Eeben Barlow, Söldner, Sierra Leone
Colonel Eeben Barlow ist Südafrikaner; ein stolzer Afrikaner, der seinen Kontinent liebt und nicht mit ansehen kann, wie er durch die Gier, der Rücksichtslosigkeit und der Verachtung seitens wirtschaftlicher Interessen des Westens und seiner Satrapen vor die Hunde geht. Das macht ihn höchst unbeliebt bei Amerikanern, Franzosen und anderen europäischen Staaten, die vom Chaos in Afrika profitieren (und sich dann über die paar Flüchtlinge aufregen, deren Lebensgrundlagen sie im „Schwarzen Kontinent“ systematisch zerstört haben und weiterhin zerstören). Seit den 1990er Jahren kam Barlow diesen Interessen immer wieder in die Quere. Er stoppte den Völkermord in Sierra Leone, bis die Clinton-Regierung dafür sorgte, dass man ihn und Executive Outcomes rausschmiss. Sein erstmal von der UN angeforderter Plan zur Beendigung des Völkermordes in Ruanda wurde kurzerhand vom Tisch gefegt, was zu jahrelangen Massakern und der Destabilisierung des Ostkongos führte. Ich könnte weitere Beispiele aufführen. Letztes war sein erfolgreiches Eingreifen in Nigeria: Innerhalb von drei Monaten war Boko Haram fast vernichtend geschlagen. Und wieder hat man gerade noch den Stecker rausgezogen und jetzt „freuen“ wir uns über die erfolgreiche Rückkehr der islamistischen Menschenschlächter.
Seine Profession ist der Krieg, das Töten von Menschen, die übelste Grausamkeiten gegen Zivilsten begangen haben oder begehen. Tausende Afrikaner leben noch, weil Barlow dafür gesorgt hat, dass sie nicht abgeschlachtet wurden. Weil er gnadenlos seine militärische Brillanz und Schlagkraft gegen Terrororganisationen eingesetzt hat, deren Strategie aus Verstümmeln, Foltern, Vergewaltigen und sadistischem Töten bestand. Seine Bilanz ist tadellos. Seine Feldzüge kennen keine Kollateralschäden. Aber dafür wird er gerne in den Mainstreammedien beschimpft. Die beklagen seine Erfolge (die meist unterschlagen werden) als Wüten rassistischer weißer Söldner, das letzte Überbleibsel der Apartheid.
Da kann er so oft er will an den gesunden Menschenverstand appellieren: „Does anyone with half a brain cell really think an African government will invite a bunch of racists into their country to advise and support them in a conflict?“ Oder man verschweigt ihn ganz: In den deutschen Medien findet man seinen Namen nur ganz selten. Äußerst marginal wurde dort im ersten Vierteljahr darüber berichtet, dass der Erfolg der Nigerianer eventuell mit der Anwesenheit von STTEP zu tun haben könnte. Nie wurde berichtet, dass das Comeback von Boko Haram vielleicht etwas mit der Abwesenheit von STTEP zu tun haben könnte.
Hier nun aus meinem Interview exklusive Aussagen von dem Mann, der für westliche Politiker und Konzernmanager ein fürchterlicher Söldnerführer ist, der afrikanische Interessen vertritt. Für die geretteten Opfer in den Bürgerkriegen, in die er eingriff, ist er ein Held, dem sie ihr Überleben verdanken. Er ist ein afrikanischer Held und die Hautfarbe spielt nicht die geringste Rolle.
Buhari sacked Nigeria’s military chiefs. How do you feel about it? A clearance sale? And do they have real personal alternatives?
EB: I cannot comment on issues related to the Nigerian military high command. After all, those are decisions which we have no influence on or don’t know the deeper reasons of.
In the three months you and STTEP were active in Nigeria, it seemed that Boko Haram had been beaten. After you and STTEP left, Boko Haram made a bloody comeback. How could that happen?
EB: We warned the Nigerian Army (NA) that unless Boko Haram is annihilated, they will make a return. Boko Haram (BH) was able to flee certain areas with their weapons and equipment. We also warned the NA that BH would intensify their terror campaign and that we ought to retain the initiative, maintain the momentum of operations, hunt them down and annihilate them.
The Nigerians were advised by a foreign government that we are merely trying to get a contract extension and that they must not listen to us. Well, they took the advice given to them and the result is BH have returned. Ironically, this also happened in Angola and Sierra Leone in the EO days. Bad advice given freely always has an aim—and it is seldom to the benefit of the recipient.
Are the West-Europeans and the USA really interested in destroying Boko Haram or IS? It is hard to understand that French and US-soldiers are not able or willing to fight them effectively. We know of their bases in Africa and their power. Or exist political and economic reasons for keeping the region destabilized?
EB: No. These groups have numerous bases in African countries that can be targeted and destroyed. Whatever happened to “Intelligence collection”? This threat did not develop overnight. Why was it not identified in its early stages and neutralised? With the modern technology available (UAVs, ELINT, etc) why can they not be located? Or do they suddenly have better technology that everyone else? This is not a so-called counter-insurgency (COIN) campaign.
People must think beyond this fallacy. Foreign troops seem unable to understand their threat and the geo-political implications. They follow a doctrine that is not suited to the threat or the terrain. They are incorrectly trained and appear to be unable to adapt to the operational environment. A coherent strategy seems to be lacking. Political and military will appears to be suspect or even absent. With this in mind, it appears that the desire to destroy these groups is not there yet the foreign soldiers partaking in these conflicts are usually blamed for the failure. Soldiers do what they are trained and told to do. If the mission is unclear or misunderstood and not driven by political and military will then of course it will fail.
With the above in mind, one can only conclude that there is a deeper reason for giving these groups the freedom they have to operate and terrorise—and it has a political and economic reason. But the problem reaches further than that: In Syria, the Free Syrian Army (which doesn’t exist!!) is trained and supported by the West. When they cross the border into Iraq, they are ISIL!! Did the consequences of a total collapse of Libya in terms of the spread of weapons not enter anyone’s minds? It was so obvious yet was either never considered or considered and ignored.
What are the main differences in fighting the RUF and fighting Boko Haram?
EB:Any armed anti-government force (AGF) that utilises a combination of manoeuvre, guerilla and terror tactics with the intent of achieving a violent overthrow of the existing political system—regardless of the civilian casualties they cause—must be stopped as there can be no stability, development and prosperity as long as these forces continue with their activities. Both RUF and BH had/have some form of regional/international support so they had/have access to weapons, training and support. Destroying them requires a clear end-result, realistic operational designs and tactics that are applicable to the terrain.
The jungles of Sierra Leone are vastly different to the desert areas of north-eastern Nigeria. This requires a fundamental change in approach and tactics. So, very different tactics were used against RUF than against BH. Regardless of the enemy being fought, terrain dictates tactics and requires a flexible doctrine that can be rapidly adapted and adjusted to suit the operational environment. Our ultimate aim when we are asked to assist a government is to end the conflict as rapidly as possible and not drag it out for years as we see some PMCs/foreign armies doing in Africa.
How do you judge the strategic and tactic skills of Boko Haram?
EB: The problem with many of these conflicts is that the rebels are often ex-soldiers who have received some form of training, either by a foreign army or their own army. So they have an idea of strategy and tactics. Plus, having aligned themselves with Daesh (IS) they are receiving training, support and advice from this group. From a national army’s point-of-view, the longer they fight such a group, the more they teach the enemy how they operate, allowing BH to know what the army will do and how it will react when under attack. That is why we adopt such a radical approach in every country we work in. However, their strategy is usually based on a desire to change the government and their tactics to instil fear in the populace to support them. To achieve this, they resort to a merciless terror campaign.
However, when they are faced with a military unit that operates in a radically different manner and exploits what the enemy views as their advantage, they are thrown off-balance and are usually unable to withstand strikes against their forces. This upsets their tactics as they no longer have an advantage and then their discipline collapses.
As I´ ve learned, Nigeria is a state eaten up deep in corruption. Makes it intelligence more difficult? For my knowledge, in Nigeria you had no such group like the Kamajors to count on.
EB: With the blessing of the government we are working with, we establish our own intelligence network but liaise very closely with their intelligence agencies. This allows us to develop our own intelligence picture and plan operations accordingly. In Nigeria, we were given Nigerian army troops (Special Forces) to train and integrate into a unit that would take the fight to BH and disrupt them as much as possible. This unit was called “72 Mobile Strike Force” and was an integral part of the NA and was attached to a specific Nigerian Army Division. After being trained by us, they realized that we are not setting them up to fail—as all of the foreign training they have received to date did. When they saw that we are willing to share hardships with them, they became a very effective fighting unit and were blindly loyal to us. This however is not unusual for us as it happens everywhere we work. Having a group like the Kamajors had its advantages but it is not such groups that turn the tide in a conflict although they provide an advantage. It is dedicated, hard and mission-specific training coupled to political and military will that leads to success.
Did you and STTEP cooperate with PILGRIMS in Nigeria?
EB: Pilgrims is an independent Nigerian service provider company we first met in December 2014. They provide private security to companies and visitors to Nigeria and are very good at what they do. Their support to us was to enable our speedy entry into and departure from Nigeria (essentially a “meet and greet” service) and to assist us through the intricacies of immigration and customs. That is where it ended. However, the media has tried very hard to link Pilgrims to STTEP in order to discredit them as well.
Angola, Sierra Leone, Kony, Nigeria… Maybe I´m paranoid, but it seems to me, that there is a force (USA?) which don´ t want native African success in general and South African success in particular. Especially by security forces not controlled by Americans or Europeans. Outsourcing to PMCs seems no problem for British or US (in spite of very bad press-feedback) but very unpopular if it goes to African companies.
EB: You are very correct as we have seen this happening across Africa. An unstable Africa is of more value to some foreign governments than a stable, prosperous and secure Africa. A unified and strong Africa is a potential threat to them on numerous levels. A foreign (Western) government has even threatened African governments and private corporations with dire consequences if they use STTEP! This in itself is proof of the duplicity we witness on an almost daily basis. US and European private military companies, sponsored by their governments, are “PMCs”. We are “mercenaries”.
We work for—and are paid by—the African government that contracts us. Foreign PMCs are paid for by their home governments and work to further the interests of their sponsor governments. We work to further the interests of the government that contracts us. Obviously, this is seen by some in the international as a bad thing. But has no one ever raised the question: Given that foreign armies have these so-called partnership and training programmes,
WHAT have they trained these African armies in?? Nigeria has been the beneficiary of years of foreign military training and they were very obviously set up to fail if they had to fight a conflict or war. Why and how else could BH achieve what they achieved? As a senior foreign army officer also said to me years ago when discussing African armies: “We train them badly in case we have to fight them”. Why is it that when an African government decides to use an African company with a record of success, they are attacked by the international community but when they use a foreign PMC, they are said to be working to achieve peace and stability? Isn’t it strange to anyone that the first to shout at us entering a conflict to end it are certain foreign governments and their NGOs? Of course, some NGOs thrive on conflict as that is how they make their money. Those NGOs that engage in intelligence collection and incitement of the populace endanger the real NGOs that really want to make a difference.
Is this „white South African dogs of war“-cant still a theme in Africa? Or is it only a beloved stereotype for western medias?
It is an ironic statement given that most of our men are black Africans and not white Africans. We view ourselves as Africans and where we work in Africa, we are seen and treated as Africans despite the fact that some of us are “palefaces”. However, the “white South African dogs of war” and “racist” label is always hung around our necks by the international community and its media as they need to try to discredit us as much as possible and paint the picture that we are out of control racist South Africans running around killing and murdering the populace.
We do not invade or occupy countries, we do not overthrow governments, we do not commit crimes, we do not assist both sides in a conflict, we cause no collateral damage, we have no hidden agendas, we do not try to force change in their political systems and so on. When villagers hear we are coming, they line the streets in their thousands to cheer and shout their thanks to us.
But there is an attempt to make sure we are discredited just as they tried in Angola and Sierra Leone to name two other countries and to make sure the conflict never ends—or that we (South Africans) end it. African governments have long seen past the dishonesty of the western governments, media and scholars when it comes to us. Does anyone with half a brain cell really think an African government will invite a bunch of racists into their country to advise and support them in a conflict? But, we only need to look at which country’s government and media shouts the loudest to know which side they are supporting in a conflict and whose foreign interests are based on creating chaos and instability. Equally ironic is that we are always “mercenaries” and everyone one else (US/Europe) are PMCs. The reason for this hypocrisy is very obvious but fortunately, African governments have now starting seeing past this western duplicity.
How do you judge a federation of Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram (maybe North-Sudan) and IS? Are they able to cooperate in far more dangerous way than by now?
EB: This alignment has a huge propaganda and perception value to these groups. It gives them access to the media, weapons, support, finances, etc and also enhances their image amongst the non-radical Muslims. If one looks at their intended caliphate, it extends across Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Sudan. Somalia and so forth. With a coalition of more than 30 countries waging war on Daesh in Syria/Iraq, why have they not been able to destroy this grouping of fanatics? Does this pose a threat? Very definitely as it is apparent that a form of ink-spot strategy is being followed.
Ironically, a lot of the oil resources fall within this co-called caliphate as well. This wide alignment also allows entry in European/US countries by jihadists with very different nationalities.
This will soon pose a major problem to the West. We have tried to explain this but no one really wants to listen to us. After all, we are only dumb Africans so what do we really know?
Barlows neues Buch erscheint im September 2015.
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