Washington Free Beacon Quotes FPI's Caitlin Poling on Nigeria

In, "Nigeria Ends U.S. Training Program to Combat Boko Haram," Washington Free Beacon reporter David Wiser writes:

Nigeria’s cancellation of a U.S. program that trained forces to counter the Boko Haram terrorist group could hamper efforts to combat the growing terrorist threat in Africa, analysts say.....

Caitlin Poling, an expert on Africa and counterterrorism issues at the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), said in an interview that Nigeria’s decision to end the U.S. program was “very shortsighted” and that it would “absolutely” affect U.S. and regional efforts to fight Boko Haram.

“The [Nigerian] government has been our biggest obstacle in countering Boko Haram,” she said. “We’ve been offering greater assistance than we currently have in place for years—they’ve been very reluctant to accept it.”...

Poling said Nigerian forces are notorious for mishandling military equipment and skimming money off the top of projects to line their own pockets. The military was reportedly unable to use Israeli surveillance drones to track more than 200 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram earlier this year because of poor maintenance after it bought them.....

While Poling said the United States has limited leverage over Nigeria due to its oil wealth, officials are still able to partner with other countries in the region and contribute to counterterrorism initiatives. Boko Haram has begun infiltrating neighboring countries such as Cameroon.

“Nigeria is surrounded by much more willing partners,” she said. “However, they are much less wealthy partners.”

“By trying to work with countries like Chad, Cameroon, and Niger, hopefully we can address problems on the fringes and get Nigeria to get its act together.”

Mission Statement

The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness.
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