Phase Zero Operations: Preventing wars in Africa?

Nigeria faces turbulent election race
On Tuesday, Nigerian senators rejected a bill that would have paved the way for an amendment to allow Mr Obasanjo to stand for president in elections early next year. The polls are set to mark the first time a civilian president hands over to another since independence from colonial rule in 1960.

The rejection of the bill has been welcomed by western governments who feared an extension could have provoked widespread turmoil and chaos in the world’s eighth largest oil exporter. Despite the end of military rule, Nigeria is still beset by political thuggery, chronic corruption and bouts of politically motivated ethnic and religious violence. This year alone, scores have been killed in religious violence in the north and southeast, while insurgents in the oil producing delta region have cut Nigeria’s oil output by a fifth.

Mr Obasanjo is a Christian southerner and many Muslim northerners feel the next president should be from the north. This has angered other regional politicians who say the north has dominated the presidency in the last four decades.

We do have a vision of the sort of society we want for Nigeria: one in which there will be no sharp differences in prosperity between one part of the country and another; in which the role of government is more limited and there is more scope for the initiative and skills of our people; in which there is more freedom of choice for consumers with stability of prices and more freedom for parents and those seeking a home; in which we are able to do more for the old, the sick and the disabled. We have a vision to reduce the level of absolute poverty within our nation. In short, we envision a prosperous and united country with fulfilled and contented citizens. (SITE)

Phase Zero Ops:
Soldiers from special operations, civil affairs and other units will be working with their African counterparts in an ongoing effort to make their nations more stable and less susceptible to extremists, especially ones who threaten the U.S. and like-minded nations.Training of African troops will represent the bulk of the exercise, but there will be another part, a four-day command post exercise to be performed in Dakar, Senegal. Troops from the seven nations will be thrown into a crisis to solve. In addition to Senegal, the participating nations are Niger, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Algeria and Tunisia. Flintlock 05, like a number of recent U.S. military initiatives in Africa, is what the U.S. European Command calls a “Phase Zero” exercise. They also call it “peace operations” that are meant to prevent the need for future “phases” used in the buildup to war. “Phase Zero” operations use expertise from different agencies, such as the State Department, to help determine how U.S. troops can best be used in peace operations. (More)

Alliance of Somali Warlords Battles Islamists in Capital

A new front in the fight against terrorism has broken out on the streets of Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, as a group of Islamists battle Somali warlords allied with Washington's aim of rooting out Muslim extremism from the region. Nearly 150 people have died in six days of fighting in Mogadishu. In six days of some of the worst street combat since the central government collapsed in 1991, nearly 150 people have been killed, most of them noncombatants caught in machine-gun and artillery fire. On Friday morning, heavy shooting could be heard in some parts of the disintegrating capital, although the gunfire appeared to subside somewhat later in the day, according to Mogadishu residents reached by telephone from Kenya. (More)

US accused of funding Somali clash
MORE than a decade after its troops withdrew from Somalia following a disastrous military intervention, the United States is secretly supporting secular warlords waging fierce battles against Islamist groups for control of the capital, reports suggest. The information comes from officials of Somalia's interim Government and some US analysts of Africa policy. Clashes last week and at the weekend — some of the most violent in Mogadishu since the end of the American intervention in 1994 — left 150 dead and hundreds more wounded. Leaders of the interim Government blamed US support of the militias for provoking the clashes. (More)

"A group of powerful warlords controlling the Somali capital on Tuesday held secret talks with US agents in a provincial town in a bid to fight terrorism in the Horn of Africa nation, witnesses said. The talks between the warlords, who recently formed the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT), and the US agents were held in Jowhar, 90 kilometres (55 miles) north of the capital Mogadishu. 'The meeting was convened to discuss the future of peace in Somalia and the best ways of kicking out foreign extremists and their hosts from Somalia,' an ARPCT member, who insisted on anonymity, told AFP. They said the delegates arrived in Jowhar, the seat of Somali transitional government, in two planes -- one carrying the warlords and the other carrying the US agents." (More)

Some Members of the ARPCT:

Just when you thought there couldnt be a sequel to Black Hawk Down some good ol diplomacy brings former warlords in to play the role of "Anti-Terrorist Force". Somebody, Somewhere needs a really really good kick in the nuts...
As for the Phase Zero Operations going on across the continent I am sure that all of the future warlords are taking extremely good notes...

The way to peace should not be achieved through WAR...