US Eyes More Meddling in Nigeria: Experts Warn It Will Make Matters Worse

Clashes Continue in Nigeria's North, With Threats to Extend Beyond Kano

Over a week after the deadly bombing campaign in Kano, violence is continuing apace, with gunmen reportedly attacking a police station on the outskirts of the major city, burning part of it during the battle.

Elsewhere, Boko Haram, the group responsible for the attacks, has threatened to launch a secondary campaign against the Sokoto Province, saying that the government’s arrests in Sokoto were growing intolerable.

It is a situation increasingly out of the Nigerian government’s hands, and one which the Obama Administration and the US Congress both appear more than eager to insinuate themselves into, arguing that oil-rich Nigeria’s problems are America’s problems, and that Boko Haram is forging ties with al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the region’s al-Qaeda auxiliary.

But as officials look at how they’re going to intervene, experts are warning that doing so could be disastrous. Council on Foreign Relations Nigeria expert John Campbell cautions that US intervention would push Boko Haram’s local interests into international, and explicitly anti-US, directions. He also warned that closer US ties to Nigeria’s notoriously brutal military would only fuel anti-US sentiment inside the country.

“Even if its just 20 troops you send, if it becomes known, you better watch out for bombs targeting the American embassy,” Campbell cautioned. It is a stark warning, but not the kind the intervention happy administration, eager to add to its foothold in Africa, is liable to listen to.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.