Cameroon Is The Catalyst For A Nigerian Collapse. By Andrew KORYBKO

Cameroon Is The Catalyst For A Nigerian Collapse. By Andrew KORYBKO

Grigoriy Trofimchuk Grigoriy Trofimchuk

23.09.2017-Moscow/ The latent Hybrid War on Cameroon could lead to the collapse of Nigeria into a failed state and another Congo-like African tragedy. Nigeria has been edging ever closer to a Hobbesian civil war in recent years as destabilizations in its northeastern and southeastern peripheries by Boko Haram terrorists and Biafra bandits/separatists/terrorists (the designation depends on each particular group and one’s sympathy for their cause), respectively, threaten to throw Africa’s most populous country into mid-1990s Congo-like chaos and make "Africa’s World War” of two decades ago look like child’s play compared to what could be just around the corner. The author wrote more in depth about the particular nature of the many Hybrid War scenarios facing Nigeria in his extensive study  of the country’s structural vulnerabilities earlier this year for the Moscow-based Oriental Review analytical outlet, and it’s recommended that the reader at least skim that publication to become familiar with the larger ideas present within it. One of the prevailing points is that the simmering unrest in neighboring Cameroon might turn into the catalyst for triggering Nigeria’s collapse into a failed state, and this too was comprehensively discussed in an earlier Hybrid War review for that country as well. 

 Instead of reiterating everything contained in the abovementioned research materials, this article aims to draw broad attention to the intended utility that Cameroon is expected to provide in serving as a Hybrid War staging ground for completing the disintegration of Nigeria into a collection of identity-centric statelets such as those described by the author in his detailed study on "Identity Federalism: From E Pluribus Unum To E Unum Pluribus” for Russia’s National Institute For Research Of Global Security. Just as Syria’s destabilization was made possible through the complicity of neighboring Turkey, and Ukraine’s was successful because of Poland (which the author also wrote about in an early-2014 analysis comparing the two and a follow-up one in 2016), so too can Cameroon fulfill this role as well, albeit not as a willing participant but as a victim whose internal problems as a result of its own Hybrid War end up spilling across its borders and inflicting collateral damage on Nigeria. This corresponds with the insight contained within the author’s academic article about "Chaos Theory, Global Systemic Change, and Hybrid Wars”, whereby it’s postulated that the weaponization of chaos theory is becoming a staple of the US’ efforts to use Hybrid Wars in engineering global systemic change.

 The Cameroonian case study exhibits every indication of a latent Hybrid War slowly unfolding in the country, though one which is expected to rapidly accelerate in the coming future as it acquires a critical mass of destabilization potential, at which point it’ll likely take the entire region and perhaps even the world off guard if they’re not already prepared for dealing with it just as the Rwandan one did to the Congo two decades ago. The country is currently besieged on three separate geographic fronts – the Anglophone separatists in the West (previously the British colony of "Southern Cameroons”); Boko Haram in the North; and Central African Republic refugees from the East (which have the potential to function as "Weapons of Mass Migration” in line with Ivy League scholar Kelly M. Greenhill’s thesis on the overall topic). Amidst the emergence of these three incipient Hybrid War battlegrounds, Cameroon is also facing a looming succession crisis because aging President Biya has yet to signal the appointment of a political heir. Moreover, Cameroon is experiencing a massive youth bulge which will explode within the next decade as the state struggles to satisfy the socio-economic and political desires of this huge demographic. 

 These conditions make Cameroon and especially its centrally located capital of Yaoundé extraordinarily vulnerable to Color Revolution machinations as it is, made even worse by the simmering Hybrid Wars popping up all along the country’s periphery. All that the country requires is a carefully timed and tactically coordinated spark in order to become instantly enflamed in multisided conflict between the various elements of its ultra-diverse population, and that event might predictably occur during the uncertain political transition period following President Biya’s resignation or passing. However, there’s also the possibility that the Hybrid War on Cameroon could be pushed forward into the near future and intensify even while the country’s current leader remains in office, and this is independent of the three ongoing fronts touched upon earlier in this analysis. The crux of the matter is that the country is divided between its de-jure political capital of Yaoundé and its de-facto economic one of Douala, and that the road and rail transit between the two passes through the territory of the Bassa people, thereby making them the kingmakers in determining the survival or failure of the Cameroonian state. 

 The author’s conception of Hybrid War theory states that identity-centric conflicts are more likely to be externally aggravated when the targeted area functions as a transit location for various connectivity projects, and in this case, Cameroon’s capital is fully dependent on the tiny but strategically located Bassa people. All that it could take is a trigger event such as the assassination of one of this demographic’s tribal-political leaders to provoke them into flexing their muscles and attempting to seize control of this vital corridor. Given the three existing Hybrid War scenarios steadily unfolding in the country’s periphery, the sudden emergence of this one right in the central part of the country might be all that’s needed to tip Cameroon over the edge into chaos, seeing as how the resultant disruption of Douala-Yaoundé trade could predictably spark unrest in the capital and further exacerbate the country’s slowly developing but imminent political crisis. The predicable outcome of this chain reaction could be a Color Revolution or even eventually a military coup if the nationwide situation spirals too quickly out of control. 

 All of this is important when one takes into account that the Anglophone "Southern Cameroons” ("Ambazonia”) separatists claim territory that geographically abuts the restive southeastern regions of Nigeria which previously sought to split from the state as "Biafra” during the (First) Nigerian Civil War. In addition, the northern Muslim-majority reaches of the country currently under threat by Boko Haram could serve as a staging ground for more attacks against northeastern Nigeria if the region slipped from government control during an ever-escalating Hybrid War all throughout Cameroon. With this in mind, "Ambazonia” and Northern Cameroon could play the same Hybrid War role against Nigeria’s southeastern "Biafra”- and northeastern Boko Haram-afflicted regions as Turkey and Poland did to Syria and Ukraine, respectively, though without the central government’s complicity because this would all be occurring as part of the engineered consequences of the Hybrid War on Cameroon. The model at play in this instance allows one to speak about two degrees of peripheral Hybrid Wars – the first being against a neighboring state in the periphery of the targeted one, and the second being within that said neighboring state’s own periphery (usually abutting the primary target of the second-degree indirect-peripheral Hybrid War). 

 This newfound insight from the Cameroon case study is very instructive because it could aid researchers in identifying and then analyzing other such examples of second-degree peripheral Hybrid Wars elsewhere in the world. For the time being, however, the Hybrid War on Cameroon will likely remain in their focus – so long as they’re even aware of it, that it is – given the enormity of what’s at stake if it succeeds in leading to the state’s collapse and catalyzing similar such "collateral damage” in  neighboring Nigeria. Given that the future of the religiously and regionally divided country of roughly 200 million people is on the line, it’s more important than ever to understand how the destabilizing processes taking place in the neighboring state of nearly 1/10th the size could dangerously contribute to another African tragedy, though it still remains unlikely that Cameroon will ever receive the attention that it truly deserves until it’s too late.  

 DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution. 

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