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ence shows, this is often difficult to accomplish. Not least, because the political leaders and governing elites the international community has to engage with are frequently the very people who have the most to gain from perpetuating the status quo.

In the meantime, help must be granted to those or- ganizations, like the Qadiriyya and Tijaniyya, which are working to counteract the Islamists’ siren call. This not only helps strengthen civil society— so vital to creat- ing a well governed state and vibrant democracy— but also acts as a bulwark against the further spread of Is- lamist ideals and groups. The first and most obvious observation that can be made of these short- and long- term measures is that they require the United States and its allies—most notably Britain, France and the EU—to become far more actively engaged in and with Nigeria. For quite clearly the diplomatic, economic, and military investment that is currently being made is insufficient (even if it has steadily increased since the restoration of civilian rule). Indeed, the failure of this support is reinforced by the Fund for Peace research institute’s recent forecast that Nigeria will become a failed state sometime during the next decade.62

Yet how can the Qadiriyya and Tijaniyya best be sup- ported? And more broadly, how can the United States engage in and with Nigeria more effectively? One po- tential course of action, which has the added benefit of raising the U.S. profile in the north, is to establish a permanent consular presence in a major northern ur- ban center (preferably Kano). For a start, this building and its staff would serve as a constant reminder of the U.S. commitment to both the country and the region. In addition, it would provide a focal point through which aid, development assistance, and military train- ing could be channelled. In this way, the United States


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