Political Crisis in Gambia: Possible military intervention around the corner

GDPR

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As some of you may know the African nation of Gambia held elections on December 1 2016. Gambia's long-time leader, Yahya Jammeh, lost these and initially conceded. However, he reversed his position later on and challenged the election in court. His aim is to annul the result and see to it that new elections are held. The Supreme Court of Gambia is unlikely to rule on this until May. What makes it tricky is that the victor of the election, Adama Barrow, is due to be inaugurated on January 19. Jammeh has said he will not step down until the Supreme Court rules on his challenge to the election result.

Barrow is supported by the international community and is gaining in clout. He recently traveled to Mali for a meeting with regional leaders hosted by France.The African Union has said that it will cease to recognize Jammeh as president once his term ends on January 19. Meanwhile ECOWAS is calling upon Jammeh to abide by the election result and step down after 22 years in power and threatens a military intervention, lead by Senegal, if he does not and seems to be preparing to ask the UNSC for authorization should Jammeh not step down.

ECOWAS has previously said it would stage a military intervention, led by neighbouring Senegal, if Jammeh failed to relinquish power - a move Jammeh has called a "declaration of war".

"The stakes are extremely high," said Bakary Darbo, former Gambian vice president, explaining that the "military muscle" built by Jammeh is likely to stand by the defiant leader.

"All indications point to a military intervention in the next few days or so," Al Jazeera's Ahmed Idris, reporting from Nigeria's capital, Abuja, said .

In coming days, the "focus will be on who will contribute troops now", he added.

"From all indications, [African leaders] could persuade the African Union (AU) and probably go to the United Nations to ensure that democracy and the rights of the people in Gambia are protected."

Mohamed Ibn Chambas, head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel, said on Friday that ECOWAS would ask the security council to approve the deployment of troops to Gambia if Jammeh refuses to cede power.
It seems another conflict is brewing in Africa, one due to erupt just as the new American administration is about to step into office. France, being the traditional great power overseeing the region is sure to be involved in some way and if ECOWAS seeks UNSC authorization then all members of the UNSC will have to declare what side they are on - including Russia and China. Russia and especially China, as you will recall, are rather opposed to the international community involving itself in the internal affairs of sovereign states. Your thoughts?

Adama Barrow heads to Mali for Gambia crisis talks | The Gambia News | Al Jazeera
 


Hans Von Horn

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We must ensure they have enough weapons and ammunition to fight it out.
 
O

Oscurito

I can't see this becoming anything major. If there is military intervention, it'll be over in a couple of weeks maximum.

Gambia is a tiny country, consisting of little more than the banks of the Gambia River. It's a British creation which they hung on to doggedly whilst being surrounded on three sides by the French colony of Senegal.

There was a loose confederation of the two countries in the 1980s. It fell apart but one wonders how much richer both would be if Gambia could achieve greater critical mass by union with Senegal while Senegal got freer access to the river.
 

GDPR

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I can't see this becoming anything major. If there is military intervention, it'll be over in a couple of weeks maximum.
Yeah, it'll be a quick war, at least conventionally. It might destabilize the nation though as there's always the risk of pro-Jammeh troops making use of guerilla tactics.

In any case, preparations appear to be ongoing to ensure that Jammeh will not remain in office after his term expires. This is something Africa has never seen before: A regional organization preparing to intervene to preserve democracy in another state. Apparently the United States, European Union and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation in addition to the African Union all back ECOWAS' intention to intervene to ensure the democratic wishes of the Gambian people come to fruition.

It is a hopeful omen for the region and ought to receive all the support from Western states that is necessary. Jammeh must not be allowed to strangle Gambian democracy in its crib.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2017/01/13/africans-prepare-an-intervention-for-democracy/?utm_term=.56a44a599774
West African states prepare Gambia intervention unless Jammeh quits-source | Reuters
 

GDPR

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A minor addition: Thousands have apparently been fleeing the country in anticipation of the violence that is likely to come.
 
O

Oscurito

Yeah, it'll be a quick war, at least conventionally. It might destabilize the nation though as there's always the risk of pro-Jammeh troops making use of guerilla tactics.

In any case, preparations appear to be ongoing to ensure that Jammeh will not remain in office after his term expires. This is something Africa has never seen before: A regional organization preparing to intervene to preserve democracy in another state. Apparently the United States, European Union and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation in addition to the African Union all back ECOWAS' intention to intervene to ensure the democratic wishes of the Gambian people come to fruition.

It is a hopeful omen for the region and ought to receive all the support from Western states that is necessary. Jammeh must not be allowed to strangle Gambian democracy in its crib.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2017/01/13/africans-prepare-an-intervention-for-democracy/?utm_term=.56a44a599774
West African states prepare Gambia intervention unless Jammeh quits-source | Reuters
This is precisely what Africa needs - an organization of states where everyone looks out for everyone else. So, if some guy (and it's usually a guy) decides he's going to flout democratic rules, neighbouring countries will intervene. After all, if they don't, they could be the next ones. There but for the grace of God etc....
 

Hans Von Horn

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As some of you may know the African nation of Gambia held elections on December 1 2016. Gambia's long-time leader, Yahya Jammeh, lost these and initially conceded. However, he reversed his position later on and challenged the election in court. His aim is to annul the result and see to it that new elections are held. The Supreme Court of Gambia is unlikely to rule on this until May. What makes it tricky is that the victor of the election, Adama Barrow, is due to be inaugurated on January 19. Jammeh has said he will not step down until the Supreme Court rules on his challenge to the election result.

Barrow is supported by the international community and is gaining in clout. He recently traveled to Mali for a meeting with regional leaders hosted by France.The African Union has said that it will cease to recognize Jammeh as president once his term ends on January 19. Meanwhile ECOWAS is calling upon Jammeh to abide by the election result and step down after 22 years in power and threatens a military intervention, lead by Senegal, if he does not and seems to be preparing to ask the UNSC for authorization should Jammeh not step down.



It seems another conflict is brewing in Africa, one due to erupt just as the new American administration is about to step into office. France, being the traditional great power overseeing the region is sure to be involved in some way and if ECOWAS seeks UNSC authorization then all members of the UNSC will have to declare what side they are on - including Russia and China. Russia and especially China, as you will recall, are rather opposed to the international community involving itself in the internal affairs of sovereign states. Your thoughts?

Adama Barrow heads to Mali for Gambia crisis talks | The Gambia News | Al Jazeera
This is a problem for young Gambian lads to sort out for them selves
 

GDPR

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This is precisely what Africa needs - an organization of states where everyone looks out for everyone else. So, if some guy (and it's usually a guy) decides he's going to flout democratic rules, neighbouring countries will intervene. After all, if they don't, they could be the next ones. There but for the grace of God etc....
Exactly and especially in these cases. Jammeh is in control of the security apparatus and thus it would be excruciatingly difficult for the populace to ensure their democratically expressed will is respected. The worst case scenario is that it becomes a bloody civil war and that Gambia is thrown into years of bloodshed and instability. At least with an outside intervention by regional powers, with support from the West if need be, there is a greater equality of arms and thus a better chance of a swift success.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.
 
O

Oscurito

Exactly and especially in these cases. Jammeh is in control of the security apparatus and thus it would be excruciatingly difficult for the populace to ensure their democratically expressed will is respected. The worst case scenario is that it becomes a bloody civil war and that Gambia is thrown into years of bloodshed and instability. At least with an outside intervention by regional powers, with support from the West if need be, there is a greater equality of arms and thus a better chance of a swift success.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.
Africans helping to sort out the problems of neighbouring Africans makes so much more sense than a bunch of pale-faced Europeans steaming in from the former colonial power(s). The Senegalese are ideally positioned to help out because there's a lot of ethnic and cultural overlap between Senegal and Gambia.
 

GDPR

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Africans helping to sort out the problems of neighbouring Africans makes so much more sense than a bunch of pale-faced Europeans steaming in from the former colonial power(s). The Senegalese are ideally positioned to help out because there's a lot of ethnic and cultural overlap between Senegal and Gambia.
Fully agree with this. It is much preferable to have regional powers solve this than us European (or American) outsiders. Nevertheless, we ought to assist where asked and where necessary. In that respect Nigeria seems to have asked the United Kingdom to train some of its forces for the intervention. Seems a bit late to me, but it's an interesting little something.

Barrow, apparently, will be hosted by Senegal until he can be inaugurated in Gambia.

https://www.ft.com/content/1d9b5ca6-db21-11e6-9d7c-be108f1c1dce
 

Analyzer

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Africans helping to sort out the problems of neighbouring Africans makes so much more sense than a bunch of pale-faced Europeans steaming in from the former colonial power(s). The Senegalese are ideally positioned to help out because there's a lot of ethnic and cultural overlap between Senegal and Gambia.
That is fine if Senegal or other countries does a proper job.

What happens if Senegal's leadership is rotten with corruption ? The result is an African form of proxy government. And perhaps even civil division and conflict driven by outsiders and money. With cowboys like George of the Open Sores Society lining up to "imprive" matters alongside the CIA.

Ultimately the solution must come from within Gambia itself.
 
O

Oscurito

That is fine if Senegal or other countries does a proper job.

What happens if Senegal's leadership is rotten with corruption ? The result is an African form of proxy government. And perhaps even civil division and conflict driven by outsiders and money. With cowboys like George of the Open Sores Society lining up to "imprive" matters alongside the CIA.

Ultimately the solution must come from within Gambia itself.
Which is kind of hard if the local strongman is clamping down on all opposition.

External assistance will give the Gambian people the space to resolve this crisis.

Be careful not to see this through European spectacles. Africans don't attribute the same inviolability-oriented importance to their borders that Europeans do.
 

GDPR

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Which is kind of hard if the local strongman is clamping down on all opposition.
Indeed. The local strongman holds the most potent cards in the form of the security apparatus, so long as that stays loyal the Gambian people have very little chance of seeing their democratic aspirations realized. To leave the Gambian people to themselves is to condemn them, in all likelihood to a long or short civil war - depending on how brutal and effective the initial crackdown is.

Yesterday Gambia was put in a state of emergency by Jammeh:

The state of emergency puts the country on lockdown, banning “acts of disobedience” and “acts intended to disturb the public order.” He’s also shored up power in the country’s supreme court and national assembly, which are considered mere extensions of the one-man regime. “Jammeh is digging in for a long fight here,” Gambia expert Jeffrey Smith told Foreign Policy.
Reportedly a Nigerian warship is already of the Gambian coast. The good news is that some believe his firm grip on the security apparatus is exaggerated.

As a sidenote, Jammeh is a bizarre dictator. He has led state sanctioned witch hunts and says he can cure AIDS.

Gambia
 

GDPR

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Reports of Senegalese troops massing at the border. Jammeh's term ends at midnight, I don't expect those troops to be marching over the border much later.
 

GDPR

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Senegalese forces are stating that they will move in at midnight should no political solution be reached by then. Nigeria has deployed an air force unit in support of the intervention whereas Ghana is providing additional ground troops.

26.000 Gambians have fled into Senegal. British and Dutch tourists are currently being evacuated.

Seems in a few hours the first new armed conflict of 2017 will commence.
 

gleeful

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It probably makes sense long term if the Gambia is annexed by Senegal. The border is very arbitrary anyway.

 

firefly123

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It probably makes sense long term if the Gambia is annexed by Senegal. The border is very arbitrary anyway.

I'd say the people of "unnamed elevation" are nervous!
 

Mick Mac

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I'd say the people of "unnamed elevation" are nervous!
Beats a place called Tiffany heights.

The current Gambian president looks the job with his sunglasses and holiday reading.

Mick
 


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