An upgraded Nigerian Air Force Alpha Jet, NAF 465

An upgraded Nigerian Air Force Alpha Jet, NAF 465 – with nearly 3,000 sorties logged during the ECOMOG years, the modernised(2011-2012) Alpha Jet is a SURE BET for Mali

Wed, 16/01/2013

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday
ordered the deployment of a Battalion of
Nigerian soldiers to Mali as part of the
country’s contribution to the ECOWAS
security force to reclaim the country from Islamist terrorists. Briefing the Defence Correspondents at the Defence Headquarters, the Director of Defence Information, Col. Mohammed M. Yerima, said a company made of 190 troops would depart for Mali within the next 24 hours while the rest would follow.

Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen.
Azubike Ihejirika, disclosed that Nigeria
was interested in Mali because the
country was a training ground for terrorists. “The degenerating crisis in the Republic of Mali compelled the decision of ECOWAS Heads of Government to intervene with a deployment of their military forces. Following this decision and in line with Nigeria’s acclaimed peacekeeping roles, and in spirit of African brotherhood, President Goodluck Jonathan approved the deployment of a battalion and in the next 24 hours, company of the battalion [190] will be deployed. The remainder would be deployed later.

“Already, the Force Commander, Major
General S U Abdulkadir, is on ground in
Mali. Also,technical team of the Nigerian Army and Air Force are already in Mali to
facilitate the eventual full deployment of
Fighter Aircraft and support element,’’ Yerima stated.

At the instance of Malian government,
the United Nations Security Council
Resolution 2085 of December 2012
approved the deployment of ECOWAS
Security Force to assist Mali in reclaiming its north from the Islamic militants.

Speaking with newsmen at the wreath
laying ceremony of the Armed Forces
Remembrance Day celebration, Lt Gen.
Ihejirika said the insecurity in Mali was a threat to Nigeria since the country was notorious for being a training ground for the terrorists wreaking havoc in some states of the federation.

According to him, the military is ready to
carry out the order of President Jonathan to ensure peace and stability is restored. “The security of Mali affects security of Nigeria because of the proximity of Mali to Nigeria. It is an operation that is very dear to Nigeria. Furthermore, as you are aware, Mali has been one of the training bases where the terrorists operating in Nigeria have been trained, so it is important that Mali is kept safe, including Niger which is the immediate neighbor,” he noted.

The French troops all night bombed the
terrorists’ enclave at Diabaly while the
French authorities are seeking the help
of Mali’s Arab neighbours in resolving the matter which has the backing of the
United Nations Security Council.


About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies


  1. Bigbrovar says:

    Nice development.. One of the biggest challenges which would need to be sorted out ASAP is the issue of coordination of troops. No matter how powerful and armed history has shown that a house divided amongst it’s self can not stand even against a lesser armed opponents. We should remember what happened in Somalia 93 when about 9 Nigerians soldiers attached to the UN mission there were killed in an armbush with the Italians close by but holding their fire while their comrade in arms where killed.. Coordination would be key in this fight and it would not be a given.. They would be problems of language barriers which would also need to be sorted out. I wish our troops and all the good people fighting this good cause safety and security.. I there come back home not in body bags.

  2. beegeagle says:

    So true, BigBro. That Italian fiasco – they reportedly made a surreptitious “safe conduct” deal with General Aideed’s faction, was the mother of all battlefield let downs. Thunder faya dem 🙂

    Moving on, I have been talking to my big friend and ‘uncle’, the African expeditionary legend, Eeben Barlow about returning to the fray in an advisory role – even if what a section of advisers and a platoon of commandos to intervene on the Malian side. He has relevant experience from Angola, Namibia and Sierra Leone.

    Mali really should work out something for him to do for them. All these trainers coming from the EU, special forces or not, have fought on African soil before let alone in the Sahel and desert? Britain came to Sierra Leone and Belgium have been active in the Great Lakes. Aside from those and the Africa-seasoned French, WHO else – Holland, Ireland, who?

    ECOWAS really should allow Eeben’s men in on the side of Mali, even if to hold onto liberated territory. The French, Americans and AFISMA can then execute their own plans in the knowledge that Mali are being teleguided by savvy African PMCs. As it is, this pattern of abscondment by the Malians is kind of befuddling to me but the war is on already and there is little time to be spent on rebuilding the dawdling Malian Army anywhere else but on the battlefield.

    Eeben of the Legends! You are a firm believer in “Africans helping Africans”. Here comes a golden opportunity. Please step in and let us hear your thoughts on this matter. Prognosis??

    • peccavi says:

      Are you serious?

      • doziex says:

        Well, Beeg I am not anti PMC like Oga peccavi here, but EO’s presense would be redundant, as french and AFISMA special ops troops, as well as the french foreign legionaires, are already fulfilling the training ,advisory and mentorship role for the malian army.

        The use of well researched, and competent PMCs such as EO and MPRI would be best in a nation like nigeria, who may need the expertise to improve it’s own programs, and could do without political shenanigans of spec ops donor countries.

        Croatia and Angola made good partial use of PMC’s.

        Of course mali could have hired PMC’s from the start, but never had the money nor requisite mineral resourses to pay for the services of EO.

        Anyway, they now have french military expertise for free, so why pay for EO services ?

  3. ocelot2006 says:

    Combat air support? Excellent idea. I also hope we’ll also deploy at least a pair of Mi-35 attack helos, and possibly 2 more utility helos for air assaults and medevac sorties.

  4. eyimola says:

    Boko Haram Commanders are in Mali. From the FT

    Q: What else did the rebels do to prepare for an attack on them?

    A: They have been preparing for an invasion since August, when the international community and especially France started talking about taking action. They made fortifications around their bases and held training camps. They also created deposits of weapons, hiding them in different places for later use. The third measure was to make contact with people in other countries, like Somalia and Algeria, as well as northern Nigeria [where there is an Islamist insurgency]. They had enough recruits, including children under 18, but they were looking for commanders. So you now have a Nigerian commanding a fighting unit in Mali.

  5. beegeagle says:

    Thanks for sharing, Eyimola.

    There are some people in the libertarian community, fixated with engineering a Nigeria Spring revolution, who would go to any length to deny BH linkages to regional terrorist groups. To them, the only way to force change in Nigeria is to pretend that BH are rebels with a cause.
    The same people who love to mouth off about haven spoken to experts and authorities and love to claim impartiality have ignored the following

    – TIME magazine say BH train in the mountains of Mali (Sept 2011)

    – 100 BH militants led the attack which resulted in the seizure of Gao from the Malian Army (AFP reported April,2012)

    – The AQIM leader, speaking to Al Jazeera in June 2011 following the suicide attack on Police HQ, admitted that AQIM support BH with training and finance

    – In November 2011, Algeria’s Minister for Maghrebian and African Affairs confirmed the AQIM-BH collabo

    – In January 2012, Messrs Bazoum and Maiga, the Foreign Ministers of Niger and Mali openly affirmed BH activity via collaboration with local terrorist groups in their respective countries

    – Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Algeria met at a regional counterterrorism in Nouakchott with Nigeria attending as guests on account of the fact confirmed linkages between BH and terrorists groups active in Mali, Mauritania, Algeria and Niger.

    – General Carter Ham who, when it suits their unclear purpose would be an eminently qualified ‘expert’, has an intelligence gathering machinery at his disposal on account being US AFRICOM Commander, has stated copiously that BH and AQIM are cooperating. Our foreign media antagonists feign ignorance of that fact because it is counterpoised to their own designs of forcing regime change in the name of good governance and sundry rights – open society they call it. Well, look at open Libya now without Gaddafi.

    – were this Financial Times report related to a scandal, it would not have gone unnoticed by you know who. But because their Hausa Service is a tool of the CPC party, they do not want the FG to fight BH at home and abroad which would speed up the decimation of the group to the credit of President Jonathan’s government, since that would up the regime’s popularity ratings thereby making it harder to dislodge him from power at the 2015 presidential polls.

    That is why they are in total denial, even in the face of overwhelmingly NON Nigeria-derived evidence. All of those who have affirmed AQIM-BH-ANSARU ties would, on another day and in different circumstances be held up as “EXPERTS”.
    Now that an affirmation of their authoritative proclamations would expose BH as terrorists rather than victims of bad governance which apologists and liberals pretend that they are, it is convenient to downplay the transnational nuisance which they represent.

  6. benjy32benjy says:

    Naija when will we ever learn?well i hope we are going to be ready for Blowback and it will be ugly.GEN.BEEGS hailing oh i just dey naija dey chill

    • beegeagle says:

      🙂 Still Ben Jack Le Don, wey you? You don show up. You kari any conspiracy theory com?

      Good to know that you jetted into Naija. Enjoy your stay. Nuh fight o..dem go jus wound you.

  7. beegeagle says:

    ABSOLUTELY serious.

    At this time and with no EU nation having offered combat troops while emphasis is placed on a training mission, I WOULD have Eeben’s men immediately deploying beside the Malians – same way France gave them air support at Konna last weekend.

    The EU can go ahead and train new troops at Kayes and Banako. The fighting has started and the first task is to get the Malians to stand and fight. That boils down to leadership and motivation. With help, the dissarray which has characterised their operations can be ameliorated. Or are you going to force unwilling troops to commit themselves to putting troops on the ground?

    This was precisely the state of play – a military estranged from the government over a war effort which led to Valentine Strasser’s 1992 coup in Sierra Leone. Not long after, Executive Outcomes came in to help the deeply factionalised army and things held together until EO had to pull out. Then the AFRC-RUF takeover and the 1997 entry of ECOMOG.

    Nigeria and Niger are almost certainly going to take charge of Gao and Kidal jointly. Kidal is adjacent to Niger’s mineral rich Arlit area and has a related Tuareg indigenous population while Nigeria’s interest in this region has to do with the copious association of Boko Haram activity with Gao. Together, both would also keep an eye on the mountainous chunk of NE Mali orientated towards Algeria’s mountain system because BH train in those mountains. We cannot be distracted from goings on in that region.

    Let the bulk of the Malian Army – the regular army, dig in around the central Malian towns currently being fought over. Let them hold onto towns like Douentza, Mopti, Djenne, Sokolo and Nara in central Mali in conjunction with mercs. These are less strategic positions, less coveted and contested, which the Malians with good leadership and organisation put in place by mercs, can hold on to.

    Let Nigeria,Guinea and Niger in conjunction with the Malian special forces and airforce hold onto Gao and Kidal while Burkina Faso and Senegal take Timbuktu and dig in there with half of Mali’s special forces. The French can deploy in the rest of the north of Mali.

    Let mercenaries aid the Mali Army at the front while the non-combat EU trainers train fresh troops in the south of Mali.

    That was how the Sierra Leoneans did it during the 1992-96 epoch and that was precisely what Biafra did in the face of greenhorns having to be rushed to the front under the pressure of a raging war.

    And I meant EVERY WORD that I said.

    • Delavegas says:

      Very correct strategy. Wish the powers that be would listen.

      I keep hearing in the media about how the ECOWAS troops are ONLY trained in peace-keeping while this current battle scenario needs troops trained in desert warfare. Do they even know what they are talking about? I remember in the Nigerian Defense Academy, Kaduna, desert warfare trainings are part of the curriculum.

      These international media houses either seemingly like to down-play the effectiveness and efficiency of ECOWAS troops or they are just totally ignorant of what is actually on ground.

  8. peccavi says:

    The use of PMC’s from a purely military (and economic) point of view is actually quite sensible and for a realist such as myself would be a no brainer. However from the point of view of an African and taking a long term strategic view (i.e 50-100 years) It is a crazy idea.

    Freedom isn’t free. You either fight for it or don’t, and if you are paying someone else to fight for you the day will come when you can’t afford it or you will have to pay them even more not to fight for you.

    Eeben Barlow and his boys didn’t fall from the sky, they did not drop out of their mothers fully kitted and ready for combat, RSA went through a long process, identified its needs and how to resource them and created the finest fighting force in Africa (Biafra and Nigeria notwithstanding). It did not happen by magic, it happened with planning and foresight. They did not get anyone to fight for them.
    Whether they fought for a stupid cause or not they developed the skills, tactics and equipment by which to defend their country and project its aims. The SADF was undefeated tactically and operationally. Yet it was still defeated strategically. It is exactly the same here, you might achieve operational success but what about strategy?
    What exactly did Sierra Leone do with the defeat handed to the RUF by EO and ECOMOG?
    Did the war end?
    Did they figure out an innovative way to co opt the rebel leadership and reintegrate and rehabilitate the fighters?
    Or did they just swagger around and sign the most stupid peace deal in history?
    The Taureg problem exists in Mauritania, Algeria and Niger, yet they have managed to contain it through home grown security and political solutions.
    The Malians now have France and ECOWAS coming to fight for them. The one f*cking town they were supposed to capture is not secure and we are already getting reports of atrocities.
    The same people who ran away at the drop of a hat are complaining about French involvement (i.e. Capt Sanongo) and co. Yet these are the same people who can’t defend their country. If the Malians don’t want to fight for their country then they should learn to live under Islamic law.
    Africa and African countries must build our capabilities. PMC’s may be the easy way out but it is the geo strategic equivalent of buying papers to take exam.
    Yes you might pass with flying colours but in the long run your just as dumb as when you started and when one day you are called on to put that knowledge to test you’ll be in sh1t.
    This is going to be a horrible bloody war. Maybe it would be better to pay foreigners to fight it or maybe we could learn from our mistakes and develop the finest counter insurgency forces on the continent.

    • doziex says:

      Oga peccavi, PMCs as mentors and advisors to set up one’s own fighting units and programs, is not the same as asking someone to come and fight for you.

      PMCs vastly improved the tactics and the conduct of the UPDF in somalia. However, the fighting, the victory and the sacrifices, were all ugandan and burundian. ( In the mogadishu environs that is )

  9. beegeagle says:



    Peccavi, what is the short-term plan for stopping the Malian Army cascading like a pile of dominos at each contact with the enemy? That capacity building as you see it – perhaps a return to training schools and academies is what they do not have the time for NOW.

    Yesterday, even YOU were bemoaning the loss of a town by Malian troops after less than 24 hours of fighting? This strategic and long-term view is what NOBODY has the time for now.

    When there was time, the talk was to retrain the Malians and that the reconquest of the North would start by September. The terrorists pre-empted that plan by turning defence into attack last week and were possibly intent on seizing Bamako.

    These things which you are saying are stuff which are only practicable in an ideal situation. Right now, it is NOT…except the Malian Army are to be entirely closed out of the operations. AS IS, how do you give effect to that sequence which you have enumerated?

    I recall that even in Mogadishu, there was a time when US PMCs brought the training to UPDF troops right at the frontline at a time when the Ugandans, tenacious as they were, were deficient in the requisite urban warfare and CT skills? That approach quickly led to the eviction of Al Shabaab from Mogadishu.

    An insurgency was ON and that was the best way that it could fathomably have been done. Concurrently, Belgian and French troops helped at the rear in Uganda with 2-week crash training programmes in CTCOIN at Singo Training School in Uganda given in lieu of pre-deployment training. This skills impartation programme is precisely the same thing happening in Nigeria today with the NA training batches, sometimes as numerous 1,900 troops in 6-7 week basic CTCOIN Proficiency at NATRAC in Kontagora, Nigeria.

    This is time for contingency planning, not strategic vision.


    The UPDF pursued, in the heat of battle, a dual-track approach to training and skills impartation, on and off the field. It has worked and it will work for Mali.

    on the battlefield


    at the rear


    That is a template which already exists – EU trainers at the rear, PMC trainers and advisors at the front…and it WORKED. Now, the UPDFalso help to train SNA troops. This is the uncomplicated and already implemented template which I am talking about. We have seen it DONE under very similar circumstances in 2011.

    • doziex says:

      Oga beeg, e be like say we dey share the same brain.

      • beegeagle says:

        Na di same way you sef dey look di mata?

      • doziex says:

        Most definitely. A slight difference in this malian case, is that since the french are surprisingly leaning forward and being very aggressive, they would fill both the frontline fighting and behind the scene mentorship roles.
        Leaving PMCs with little to do.

        PMCs, at best, especially those of the ex commando variety, are advisors, mentors, trainers and force multipliers, just as modern nato standard special forces.

    • peccavi says:

      That in itself is not necessarily a bad idea but that was not the SL model, hence my reaction.
      I am generally averse to the idea of PMC’s in general but a model of embedded advisors in a non combat role might be good, but I cannot for now see that as saving the Malian Army. The rot comes from the top, too many generals and senior officers, now with the coup the command structure is disrupted and the army has no form.
      The model or example I’d prefer would be MPRI in Bosnia, who retrained and re equipped the Croatian Army to the point they were able counter attack and push out the Serbs in 2 years. however the Croats had clear political leadership and will, and a unified purpose. Although I would consider saving your country from an Islamist nightmare to be a clear purpose possibly the Malians need added impetus

  10. blissful says:

    Naija defence hqtrs must b very careful about their operations in mali because with the look of things Mali Arm Forces are divided. They don’t even know the overall controller of their Arm Forces for now.

  11. beegeagle says:

    Oh sure, Doziex. I am only saying that the UPDF benefitted from skills impartation by PMCs right at the frontlines. It is not in doubt that the UPDF and their long-term partners, the Burundians, did the fighting by themselves

  12. jimmy says:

    What is in the mind of the average Malian soldier ? can these guys on their own retake a village this might sound simplistic but at the rate at which things are going with the french and ECOWAS coming on board when do we see them proving themselves ?The point is we have talked now more seriously about the pros and cons of PMCS America trained these a- holes ( the malian soldiers a few years ago) what will be the difference this time around? The Ugandans&Burundians wanted to be trained. In Afghanistan Oga peccavI THE afghans you guys trained them right? ( Brits and Americans ) and they did not run at the sight of the taliban what is to be done with this army I WILL BE POLITICALLY INCORRECT AND EVEN USE THE WORD cannon fodder but till they stop retreating frustration is likely to keep boiling with their army.Over to you guys.

  13. Eeben says:

    As usual, another very good posting by Beegeagle!

    I am always amazed at how, when our continent is under threat – and believe me it is under threat – we would rather debate issues that do not really improve our lot.

    I do not want to enter a great debate on the Mali issue, but here are some thoughts/questions to ponder on:

    1. What we are witnessing in Mali, is a direct consequence of the assault and subsequent collapse of Libya
    2. Mali is a small part of the prize. Make no mistake, Nigeria is the prize.
    3. Why was the Malian army incorrectly trained, badly equipped and incorrectly postured?
    4. Who trained the Malian army?
    5. What was the strategic view of the risks and threats that would follow if Libya collapsed?
    6. Who aided, abetted and supported the regime change in Libya?

    These thoughts and questions can continue ad nauseum…

    EO no longer exists as it shut its doors in 1998. However, EO assisted two governments end decades-long insurgencies. EO never overstayed its welcome. EO never “trained an army badly in case we have to fight them one day”. (This comment off my blog by a poster who serves in a foreign army tasked to train African armies). EO had no political, economical or religious agendas. This list too can go on ad nauseum.

    By the way, in Sierra Leone, we worked very well alongside our Nigerian colleagues. But, it was a conflict that was destined to be lost when the UN entered, especially when EO’s 250 men were replaced with 17 000 peacekeepers who were, in retrospect, not there to keep the peace.

    So-called “free training” is good and well but is it really free? Also, who trained the Malian army, the CAR army, the DRC army, the SPLA…this list too can go on and on. When “free training” is offered as a carrot, it usually has a sting to it.

    Back to Mali: On 11 November 2011, I wrote a letter to the Malian embassy in SA advising them to take note of the developing situation on their northern border and how it would in all probability impact on them. I followed this up with a letter dated 7 March 2012 – again issuing a warning and an offer (yes, shock and horror – at a cost!) to assist them develop a strategy to prepare for and contain the looming threat. I received a terse response advising me that their European allies had told them that nothing was going to happen. This advice turned out to be very poor advice indeed – and it was for free.

    African governments need to go back to the drawing board and assess continental, regional and domestic threats against the pillars of the state, develop scenarios and get the best people to train them (if they need outside help) and take control of their own destiny.

    Do not get me wrong: I am not anti-European (I myself am a whitey but an African first) but I am dead set against “free advice” that usually results in chaos and misery for those who are unable to defend themselves. Besides, where has this free advice put the wealthiest continent on earth??

    For those who may be interested, I posted 2 items on my blog that may be of some value: “Why governments fail…” and “why the armed forces fail”.

    Finally, we need to discern between our state’s Vital Interests, National Interests and those that are essentially Foreign Interests. Our foreign and domestic policies should be dictated by our NIs and our VIs and not someone else’s Foreign Interests.



  14. beegeagle says:

    Aha..there goes Eeben of the Legends !! I salute you.

    Well, I am sure you can attest to the fact that I took you up on the need to face up to this Mali challenge many months ago, via backstage communication. You were the one who was reticent and modest about it but my views have not changed a jot ever since and that is precisely what I have restated here lucidly.

    You might want to go over the dual-track approach adopted by a committed but HITHERTO skills-deficient UPDF in Somalia and see if it is still not operable. To get the best out of the French war effort, the direction and steeling up of the Malians right at the frontlines of the buffer zone in central Mali has to be outsourced to chaps who are not further encumbered by the challenge that is the planned reconquest of the North. That to my mind has to be an Africa-savvy PMC while the EU trainers can work on raising new battalions in the south.

    I do not need to belabour the point but it is clear that this floundering Malian Army would give away control of every town won for it by outsiders, never mind winning any battle at the pain of dishonour.

    These Malians need to be saved from themselves. They have lost the will to fight in its entirety. In the Far North of Nigeria, particularly in the Damaturu-Maiduguri corridor and in Kano, it is possible to pool 1,000 battle-hardened ATS and MOPOL cops long accustomed to 2-3 day bouts of savage street-by-street gunfights with IED-and-suicide attack reliant terrorists who would put up a more respectable performance than these gutless Malian soldiers.

    And my roadmap is clear. An advisory team of ten men and a platoon of merc commandos embedded with the regular Malian Army as presently constituted, perhaps broken up into fifteen 250-man task groups and charged with securing the buffer zone that is central Mali and preventing the exfiltration of vengeful terrorists into southern Mali, Niger and Mauritania in its entirety while the French and AFISMA head into the wild big North to dislodge the rebels from the key cities of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu while making plans for the total and in-depth defence of those cities from even an assault force of 50 ‘technicals’ as search-and-destroy operations of the fleeing dregs who shall be harassing liberated areas from their desert hideouts, continues.

    I imagine that it would take all of this year and next year before these Malian terrorists either get worn out from the
    attrition or become sufficiently demotivated by adversity as to become a benign threat. They are not even launching suicide attacks so these ones appear to love life a little bit more than the other worldly Boko Haram with their cascade of suicide attackers and ‘human time bombs’

    Please post the hyperlinks to the said articles on your blog here, Eeben so that everyone can access the writeups directly from your blog.

    Good morning to you, Lord of War and to everyone reading this.

    • Eeben says:

      You certainly did that, Beegeagle – and that was shortly after the collapse of Libya. We were at that stage in contact with Malian diplomats but as I mentioned, the free advice they received has cost them dearly.

      Our approach was – and still is – that the battles need to be won by the national armies. If not, the victories will lack credibility. The national armies need to be correctly trained, equipped, postured and led – and engage according to a dedicated design for battle(s) with clear, realistic and obtainable objectives. If not, all victories will be hollow victories. The same factors apply when deciding to steel up the Malian lines – you cannot do this effectively with unmotivated, poorly-trained men. They may hold the line for a day but then they will break and a route will ensue. This, in turn, will be perfect fodder for propaganda against the Malians, in turn, impacting negatively on their national will to resist, not to mention the impact on regional will.

      I cannot comment on the greater UPDF but we were involved in training a Special Operations Group for them to counter the LRA. These men were exceptionally well motivated and took to the training like ducks to water. It was tough – out of over 600 volunteers, only about 112 made the grade. Again, we would rather have 10 dedicated, well-trained and motivated men than a 1000 that will run at the first sound of a shot fired in anger. I deployed with them into some countries and can assure you that they would out-fight most if not all soldiers from outside. Sadly, but as usual, we became the victims of a political power-game. I am still in regular contact with some of the officers of the SOG and they remain dedicated to their mission.

      This brings me back to the point I made a long time ago: There is nothing wrong with the Africa soldier if he is prepared and equipped for his mission, well-led and motivated.

      The enemy in Mali already have numerous advantages on the battle field: They know the terrain, they know the people and their customs, traditions and cultures, they know the ability of the army they face, they have access to weapons that were moved out of Libya, they have already won several victories, they appear to understand the concept of manoeuvre and so forth.

      It is one thing to rule the skies but if you cannot take and hold ground, you are at a disadvantage. That brings us back to the quality of training and leadership of the soldier in Mali – which by all accounts, is poor. To date, they have been unable to hold ground, let alone take it.

      For those who are interested, my postings can be found at

      http://eebenbarlowsmilitaryandsecurityblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/why-goverments-fail_26.html and at




  15. Gen Beeg and Eben….are this the kind of trainings you are talking about…see the video at the bottom:…http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?219463-Possible-Military-intervention-in-Mali/page26

  16. Sensei Eben…am a bit concerned when you say Nigeria is the prize. What and who is seeing Nigeria as a prize? Is the Malian assault (by the Jihadist) a prelude into launching a major one in Nigeria? if EO is shut…Who then do we look to for guidance in Military matters as i personally do not trust the west (especially Britain) in anything African. Sir, now is not the time for EO to be shut…Nigeria(Africa) is like a pregnant woman about to give birth…she is experiencing the pains of childbirth….what she would give birth to would be determined by what we do now as a people….Would good men like EO keep quiet at this time that Mother Africa needs them most? Sir, that would amount to doing more evil than what the west has done to us. In the middle East today, the policy there which the US and other western nations are championing, is the the use of local forces to end local issues. Countries like Iraq, Afghanistan are being trained to be able to cope with their internal problems. I believe sir, that EO being African, is at a better position to train African troops than any other western nation. After-all if the shit hits the fan EO would also be part of it, others can simply lock up shop and ship out. WE NEED THE LIKES OF EO NOW….especially in advisory capacity.

  17. beegeagle says:

    (attention: new Beegeagle’s Bloggers)



    Nice one, Eeben of the Legends.

    Beegeagle GCFR
    (Good Citizen of the Federal Republic)

  18. Eeben says:

    I can understand that type of training if the soldiers were in their basic training, Optimusprime007. However, the piece makes it clear that these are soldiers of the Rapid Intervention Force – and that is precisely the point I continue to make. How on earth are these poor men supposed to withstand an assault against their positions or intervene as a credible fighting force?

    These soldiers are not to blame for their lack of ability but someone, somewhere, is surely to blame. And don’t believe that troops should train whilst trying to simulate weapons firing. They ought to receive live-fire training and that includes doing assault with indirect fire support landing close to their front.

    If you look at the video, you will see that when these poor guys move back to the vehicle, there is NO covering fire to protect them – it is each to their own and that is a recipe for disaster.

    Soldiers need to train hard to fight easy. This sadly looks more like train easy to withdraw rapidly. Again, governments cannot afford to allow this type of training if they intend to govern and protect their people.



  19. Eeben says:

    I am sorry I missed your earlier post Doziex.

    What struck me is how far and wide the anti-EO campaign reached, especially as you mentioned that “… mali could have hired PMC’s from the start, but never had the money nor requisite mineral resourses (sic) to pay for the services of EO”.

    Pray tell me, where and when was EO ever paid in resources? This piece of nonsense was generated by the SA Military Intelligence Division to discredit EO, as we had stopped some of their illicit diamond smuggling in both Angola and Sierra Leone. This was fed to the UN who simply spun a lie into a “fact”. The entire campaign against EO was aimed at stopping us helping governments. As soon as EO left, foreign PMCs rushed in, caused chaos and countries slid into conflict again. However, as we always saw ourselves as servants of our host governments, we left when they came under foreign pressure as we were certainly never going to embarrass them by our presence.

    What everyone failed to mention was that these very people had men training Charles Taylor’s “presidential guard” who later infiltrated into SL and committed horrendous atrocities. Had EO ever accepted a single resource as payment, I would have the courage to admit it but I will certainly never admit to a lie.

    As I mentioned earlier, others, including Mali’s “free training” has certainly helped them a lot, hasn’t it?



    • doziex says:

      Eeben, the prevailing story at the time was that EO contracts were linked to mineral exploration contracts.
      I personally never saw anything wrong with that, as long it was a fair deal, and nobody was playing bothsides against the middle.

      Sierra leone was in desperate need of the experience and military expertise only the EO could offer. The UK had the expertise, but were not willing to make any sacrifices. Nigeria had the stomach to make the sacrifices, but did not have the expertise to effectively wage this sort of war.

      Well, that left EO who had the expertise that would at least minimize the severity of the necesary sacrifices containing the RUF & charles taylor entailed.

      These are the known facts, and I apologised if my comments seemed to disparage the integrity of EO & it’s men.

      Bottomline is that mali would have had to pay a premium for EO’s or any PMCs expertise.

      Also, I was wrong in characterizing the french help as “free”. I should have said “on credit”.

  20. Eeben says:

    Your confidence in EO is appreciated, Optimusprime007, but EO was a victim of its success and its success lay in stabilising primarily African governments. This is the very last thing some folks wanted to see. Mali has oil, gold and uranium. Despite that, Nigeria is still the key to West Africa and must remain so. The loss of Mali will embolden the enemies of Nigeria and they will have access to funds (resources), weapons and seasoned troops to support and train.

    We do not keep quiet but governments make their choices of who they want to use and who not. Those are decisions we do not counter or argue against as governments ought to govern through their people and not by outside pressure. Where my men and I currently work, we are brutally honest and need to remain so to warn of what we see and take note of. If not, then we are as dishonest as others out there who will take the money and whisper sweet nothings. But, we do not keep quiet.

    As mentioned previously, many governments fall into the trap of “free” training. The results of this free training can be seen in numerous countries in Africa (Okay, I know I have now mentioned this enough. I will not refer to this free training and advice anymore).

    We have always believed that even though we may not know the many diverse cultures of Africa, we are part of Africa and have a better grasp for what we witness than outsiders. In SL, we worked alongside Nigerian troops and we worked well together as it was not about egos but doing the job.



  21. Eeben says:

    Thank you, Beegeagle. You are a scholar and a gentleman.



  22. peccavi says:

    Oga Eeben welcome back,
    The questions you asked are exceptionally pertinent and have indeed been asked ad nauseum. I had an opportunity to ask the NATO Sec Gen about how NATO intends to deal with the situation in Mali as it is a direct 2nd order consequence of the Libyan campaign, I received a bog standard answer about multilateralism, capacity building and partnership and a lot of very dirty looks from others more senior to me.
    The Malian Arm was a poorly trained and equipped gendamerie, the US got involved training them to chase terrorists and drug smugglers but with the whole ‘War on Terror’ mentality ignored ensuring rule of law and an equitable deal for the Tauregs. They were trained, equipped and postured for light mobile operations and general garrison duties. When faced with ex professional Libyan soldiers toughened by combat in Libya they shrank and ran. This self same army compounded its issues by taking over power and running away from the north.
    The issue here is the issue that I have when we talk about MRAPs and fighter jets as if buying kit solves problems.
    Every country needs to have a long serious strategic conversation with itself identify its threats, worst case and best case likelihood and severity of these occurring and posture and equip to the best of their abilities.
    The SADF as I have said is a prime example of this (this is my view and observation so forgive any inaccuracies).
    RSA in those days had to keep an unarmed but numerous indigent population quiet, defend its borders against the frontline states, defend its protectorates (Namibia) defend the Cape of Good Hope and South Atlantic against possible Soviet attack.
    Bearing in mind the terrain and environment the SADF developed highly mobile battle groups using manouvreist tactics to fight a conventional enemy, to support this doctrine they developed mobile platform like the G6, Ratel etc, the mobile helicopter FOB concept (HAG?). In other words they developed a doctrine and the weapons to support it they didn’t just buy the latest weapons on the market.
    To keep the frontline states from massing large conventional forces they sponsored insurgencies such as UNITA, RENAMO etc. Thus Angola, Mozambique who could have conceivably mobilised significant forces against RSA were always off balance and dedicated the majority of their combat power to internal ops
    In Namibia they used the terrain to their advantage and developed highly mobile police units consisting of natives with excellent tracking ability to overmatch SWAPO and keep them constantly off balance. Bearing in mind the SWAPO soldiers had to WALK hundreds of KM with all their kit before they could even get close enough to engage, is a testament to the SADF strategy and the courage and endurance of the SWAPO soldiers.
    For their naval ops they bought subs and arctic patrol craft, not I big pass my neighbour, but to defend their sea lanes from the Soviets. There were no significant naval forces against RSA.
    In order to sustain this effort from a comparatively small population pool they used conscription, reserve forces and a regular army. All of this was surrounded by a clearly articulated national policy and national myth into which the entire target populace had a stake. At the end of the day you didn’t see de Klerk buying private jet for himself while the SADF had to beg or borrow transport aircraft.
    Compare this with the Israelis, their first national priority was survival, they faced overwhelming enemies on all fronts who (in 1948) were well equipped, out gunned and out numbered them and had a sole unifying purpose of destroying them. It is forgotten today that the Soviet Union recognised Israel before the USA, who placed an arms embargo on the Jewish state,. Their main suppliers up until the 60s were the French. So the Israelis did not have the luxury of RSA with confused enemies newly independent, recovering from liberation wars with poor and ideological leaders trying to introduce the stupidity of communism to Africa.
    Nor did it have a huge pool of WW2 vets like RSA, or the strategic depth and distance from its neighbours.
    Israel had to make do with whatever weapons it could much less develop doctrines. So once they won their war for survival they took stock of their small population, small territory and calculated their survival depended on defeating the Arab armies as quickly as possible, they could never outgun or outnumber them so they used quality as a force multiplier. And selectively improved kit, so using the 105mm gun on their tanks gave them range and by relentlessly training their gunners and commanders they could destroy 4 or 5 Arab tanks before the Arabs could even lay on to their targets. Combined with the national and tribal motivation of a people who had just come through the Holocaust they prevailed.
    Now how many African countries analyse their threats, capabilities and resources.
    When people present laundry lists I always have asked what are our strategic priorities, people are laughing at Ghana, for sending 1 coy. Ghana does not have a dog in this fight, Eeben has said it so I guess you guys will believe now, the target is Nigeria.
    Strategically why would Ghana arouse the ire of AQIM when it is a very soft target with no counter terror capability, bright shiny oil facilities and a small army. I’m not here to defend Ghana but I’m pointing out the difference between strategy and shakara.
    Ghana’s geopolitical interest are not in anyway threatened by the Malian issues but to have a say in ECOWAS they have to show up, so a Coy of support troops ticks both boxes.
    So in terms of Mali their biggest threat before was putting down Taureg rebellions and catching smugglers, not mechanised mobile desert warfare against heavily armed mobile insurgents.
    At the same time Malis political leaders have benefitted from the smuggling of drugs people etc and even the kidnapping of westerners, thus it was in theri interest to have a weak useless military.
    Freedom isn’t free. The use of PMC’s can help cut down the learning period but you need clear political leadership that defines a task and an objective.
    The French are currently playing the role of EO in SL. A capable air land mobile force taking the fight directly to the enemy. However Mali isn’t Sierra Leone, and Ansar el Dine are not the RUF. This will be a long, bloody war despite early victories, in fact I will say because of early victories.
    The thing is western armies do not fight in a vacuum, everyone knows how we fight and no sane opponent looks to fight a western army as an army. Ask the Israelis vs Hezboallah

    So does Malinow need a larger standing Army? I’d still say no, I’d say they need to mobilise as many men as possible on 3 year call ups and begin training them up and then gently launch them into battle, equip a brigade or divison fro mechanised desert warfare the rest as infantry.
    But the most important thing is a comprehensive political deal with moderate Tauregs and an amnesty for fighters. Separate the hardcore from the others, isolate and destroy them. There is no conceivable cost effective purely military solution

    • Eeben says:

      I am very pleased to note that I am not a single voice in the wilderness, Peccavi. Good on you for asking those questions. When I last asked those questions, I was told “If you are not with us, you are against us”. That type of answer does not wash with me at all, and I am certain that it does not wash with you either. Our continent’s survival and prosperity should never be tied to someone else’s foreign interests.

      If the Malians were trained for light mobile operations, they ought to have been trained in manoeuvre operations. To conduct light mobile operations, they ought to have been trained to conduct manoeuvre operations in their terrain – a terrain that advantages manoeuvre. Obviously, this never happened. Again, many governments fell into the trap of the Global War on Terror at the expense of their own national security.

      I have mentioned before that having the best equipment in the world does not make you the best soldier in the world. Armies have become blinded by technology which many view as a substitute for strategy and core skills.

      You very correctly mention that countries need to have a strategic conversation with themselves (I like the way you put it). The strategy of the armed forces is derived from the national or grand strategy and subsequently from the National Security Strategy. If the NSS is incoherent, unrealistic and unattainable, then all else falls by the wayside as military objectives become blurred and unrealistic. The danger increases exponentially when our national and vital interests are substituted for the foreign interests of another government. Then we become a proxy – and no-one wants a too strong or independent proxy.

      Your assessment of the old SADF is very accurate. It is obvious you have done a lot of study on our wars. Added to this all, we were not able to buy weapons on the international market so most of what we used we either captured or designed and built ourselves. The end result was that we were not obliged to buy “six of this” and “seven of that”. Our kit was functional and it worked in the African OE. Ironically, other powers have adopted a lot of our ideas ie MRAPs, mine-clearance, Heli-FOBs etc – despite despising us. It is, however, not politically correct to give credit where it is due.

      As a member of ECOWAS, was Ghana not obligated to assist ECOWAS forces? I understand your concerns re their one company, but as you mention, they ticked the boxes.

      Your point on Mali’s army size: I agree. It has nothing to do with size but with efficiency. It is obvious they were caught with their pants down as they never did any strategic predictions be they domestic or regional. There was no strategic threat analysis or threat prediction whatsoever. Had this been done and training accordingly given, I am sure the situation may have been different. Again, no strategy, no threat predictions, no training (what they got was pathetic anyway), no defensive options, etc, etc. Any future land battle scenario – or even an assessment of the AO and OE – would have indicted the likelihood of mobile desert warfare.

      Nigeria is the key to West Africa and indeed the super power of West Africa. My concern is that this places Nigeria in a difficult position in terms of national security as a Mali fallen, will present the enemy with many advantages. That must never be allowed to happen.

      I agree on your final comment. However, to ensure that any offer by government carries credibility, it needs to be done from a position of strength and not one of a last gasp to remain in power. We advocate that to secure the integrity of state, we need to secure, strengthen and support the pillars of state. If we do not do this, governments will find themselves under increasing threat.



      • peccavi says:

        Hi Eeben, thanks for your reply.
        I have spent alot of time reviewing the SADF and its wars from Malan, Breytenbach and co to accounts of ordinary soldiers, first from the perspective and (and fear) that one day Nigeria would be in conflict with SA but latterly because I see alot of models there that work, and as you rightly say have now been ‘misappropriated’ by everyone else. I also love the whole ‘vasbyt’ concept/ philosophy and its a word I use as often as I can when trying to motivate soldiers.
        I agree with lots of what you say but I wonder whether the problem with African countries national security is less that they tie themselves to others interests and more that the entire national structure is generally suborned to the concept of keeping one group, tribe, family, clan or political party in power and leaching off resources, thus the only security they are truly interested in is personal and regime security and thus leave a vacuum for others to impose their own interests and practises.
        This is why you have armies of 10,000 with a 1000 generals and no one who can fly a helicopter.
        Looking at Mali I see Nigeria as a geostrategic prize in terms of the Jihadists but I struggle to see how even if everything went their way they could achieve their aims. Islamists coming to impose their form of Sharia in Nigeria would first have to deal with corrupt Northern politicians who definitely do not wish to forgo earthly pleasures, then with Northern minority tribes and Northern Christians before even getting as far as Southern Christians. It would be a tough nut to crack.
        I also believe all politics is local and all the Islamists do is exploit local issues.
        Mali on the other hand is very lucrative for the jihadists not just by controlling the smuggling routes but by revenues from kidnapping and having space to train and trade with weapons stolen from Libya. The fundamental weakness I see in the Islamists is that war is bad for their businesses, the locals hate them and as they have just now pissed off Algeria, their last possible quasi neutral enclave is out against them, they won’t have the luxury of having a Pakistan next door like the Taliban but they have a huge amount of ungoverned space to hide in as well as the huge cash and arms reserves they’ve built up.
        In terms of Mali I see the French playing the role that EO played is SL (obviously with alot more toys to play with) a disciplined, professional air-ground force that will take the fight to the heart of the enemy and defeat them.
        The question for me is will AFISMA and the MNA be able to follow up and play the role the RSLAF failed to play (and to an extent ISAF in Afghanistan) and be able to take and hold ground and prevent the enemy from reforming and fighting the war on their own terms?

      • Eeben says:

        That “vasbyt” concept came into play when times were tough and rough, Peccavi. I love the fact that you use it with your troops. (For those unfamiliar with the term, it really means to hang on by your teeth when you feel you are no longer able to continue – in the Afrikaans language it literally means to “bite tight” ie hang in there/on by the skin of your teeth and never let go). Vasbyt (pronounced “fuss-bait”) was something anyone who went into basic training needed to master to get through it all. To get into the specialist units, you had to have vasbyt to the nth degree to make the grade.

        How sad that you studied the SADF in case you had to fight us one day. Fortunately, that was never on the cards but sadly, it was the way of politics at that time. Despite SA’s pariah status, a lot of valuable lessons were learnt from a pure military perspective. I must also add that despite continued labels on the SADF such as “apartheid” soldiers, the SADF never contemplated resisting the change in government in SA in 1994 or even considered unseating the newly-elected ANC government by force. In a way it makes a mockery of the term as most SADF soldiers saw themselves as apolitical and serving the government of the day.

        The point you make on governments governing for their own tribe at the expense of other tribes in Africa is true. Indeed, that is very sadly a situation we find throughout as none of our countries are homogenous in terms of society. But, it is also a situation that has been exploited to ensure this divide remains in place – basically a divide and rule approach.

        When we work with soldiers, regardless of their level of training, rank, religion etc, we try to make sure that they remain apolitical as soldiers and serve the government of the day. I, however, believe that as soldiers, we should serve the government and create the condition for them to govern. In this process, we need to be politically astute yet remain apolitical. By setting this example, it is amazing to see how soldiers keenly adapt to the view and follow it. However, I also think some senior officers can do more to promote this approach as ultimately, the populace is the feeder for the armed forces and we in turn need their will ie national will to resist any onslaught.

        In STTEP (the company I chair) we have been very fortunate to work with African governments that have listened to our approach, debated it with us, worked with us on strategies, doctrine and TTPs and allowed us to deploy with the men we trained on operations. We want to deploy with those men as we regard them as “our boys” and besides, if we are not willing to deploy with them to the front, it does not say much for the faith we have in our own training. (I hate to admit that during these deployments, I realise that I am no longer 18 years old – but that vasbyt thing kicks in and I stumble across the finish line, exhausted but pleased with the performance of the men we trained). Unfortunately, as soon as it is known we are working with a government, that government becomes a victim of foreign political and economical blackmail to get rid of us.

        I fully appreciate your view that Nigeria will be a tough nut to crack and indeed it will be no walk-over. But remember, one of the pillars of state is “perception” and a perception created is extremely difficult if not impossible to rectify. If the extremists are able to conduct even limited actions in your country, the media fall-out will often result in a very negative perception of the security situation. It is this security situation that impacts on investments, ie the economic pillar. Perception and investment are two vitally important pillars of state that play a major role in influencing the populace. These two factors alone can erode the national will. I don’t want to give a whole political lecture but I think you get my point.

        I suspect that the French will find themselves without too much NATO support in the initial stages or even the latter stages of their Mali expedition. Ruling the sky is critically important but so too is holding ground. I think that unless the French increase their force level significantly, they will not be able to hold the ground and that will advantage the extremists.

        But of course, I am not fully au fait with the situation in Mali and I base my comment on the “perception” I have from media reports. Let us hope my perception is wrong!



  23. Lourens says:

    I am also pleased to see that there are other concerned Africans on this continent who are worried about the direction that things are currently going on our continent, mostly because of Western influence/foreign policy.

    I am happy to see that there are people who actually see the benefit of having a properly trained and disciplined PMC assisting African Governments. I say properly trained and disciplined, because the norm of what has been going on recently in places like Iraq and Afghanistan actually portrays PMC’s as cold blooded killers with no discipline, disregard for culture and customs, and no respect for human life or property. Sadly, in most cases this actually turned out to be the truth. Sadly also, I think all Western PMC’s today are just an extension of their Governments foreign policy.

    Eeben, I agree with your observation that no training or assistance is for free. We have seen this now on more than one occasion in Africa. Nothing in this world is for free, and the Western nations know exactly how to play this game. We have seen the standard of training in many cases. Not only in Africa, but if you can recall, also in Mexico.
    I had a look at the video posting by Optimusprime007, and it reminded me of what we have seen in some of the places we were asked to do retraining and forces assessments. If you can recall what one soldier told us after the course they have done with us – they were on a Pathfinders course with a Western nation’s military trainers. The course spanned over 8 weeks and they only did 1 (one) day of practical exercises. I am willing to actually call this criminal. There is no way that those soldiers would even be remotely capable of being deployed in a pathfinder’s role in combat. This will ultimately lead to senseless loss of live and mission failure.

    Its also very interesting to note that as soon as some Western nation’s special forces are deployed on this continent, a few months later a well armed and sometimes organized rebel group emerges.
    Just as Mali isn’t the prize in the North, so for example is CAR also not the prize in the East. I am sure you all know what and who I’m referring to here.

    I would like to let you know that we as a company (STTEP International, with Eeben as Chairman) has had the privilege to assist some African governments over the past few years, and hope that we can continue to do so in future, despite a lot of effort by Western nations to prevent us from being active on this continent. We believe that we can make a difference in Africa, and that Africa can solve its own problems with the help of Africa, and we can proof to the world that we don’t need the West to dictate our future.
    You can find more information about us http://www.sttepi.com

    I would also just like to add that I am not hijacking this blog to seek employment for STTEP Int. but because EO has been mentioned a few times in previous postings, I would like to say the capability is still here.
    If I have offended anyone by this posting, please except my sincere apologies.

    As Eeben rightly mentioned in one of his postings, the SOG’s that we have trained will hold their own with any of them out there.

    • Eeben says:

      None of these PMCs are private, Lourens. They are, as you put it, merely extensions of the government’s foreign policy, being paid for by their governments and not the government they are supposedly helping.

      Their record of success and behaviour speaks for itself. Many of these men are a disgrace to any armed force and their total disregard for the populace and the soldiers they are supposedly training is disgusting to say the least.

      You are quite correct: those men we spoke to who were “trained” were unable to do much at all. Were it not for the dedication of those soldiers to serve their people, their governments might already have collapsed as well.

      It is refreshing to have men like Beegeagle and his followers saying it like it is. That, if anything, shows there is still hope left for Africa.



  24. Pro Patria says:

    It is with some relief that I read in this very informative blog, that there are so many enlightened thinkers with regards to the security and economic issues facing Africa at the present time.
    Not until Africans realise that they need to take control of their own destinies and resist the temptation of foreign “ässistance” , will this richest of continents be able to realise it’s true potential, and take it’s rightful place on the World Stage as equals.

    The curse of foreign meddling hamstrings Africa and keeps it in a state of perpetual poverty and subservience to Western powers. There is no such thing as a Free Lunch, and all Aid, whether through various NGO’s or Military Assistance Packages come with strings attached. These strings are always to the benefit of the donor country and to the long term detriment of the country receiving the Aid.They are designed to limit the ability of African countries and their people to rise up and deal with their own internal affairs. They create a culture of reliance instead, which suits the long term economic interests of the Western Powers.

    Africa most certainly has the relevant pool of military and economic skills, to be able to steer it’s own ship, and drastically lessen it’s traditional reliance on Western so called “Aid”.

    Regarding the security issues on the Continent, and the past successes of Executive Outcomes, it is high time to look inwards for solutions, and cut out foreign control as much as possible. While it is true that EO closed it’s doors in 1998, Eeben Barlow did come out of retirement a few years ago, and founded and remains the Chairman of a new Private Military Company – Specialised Tasks, Training, Equipment & Protection International [STTEP International] http://www.sttepi.com

    STTEP retains some of the core Executive Outcomes personnel, and as mentioned is chaired by Eeben Barlow himself, who was the innovative founder of EO. It is hardly neccessary to elaborate on the decisive successes of EO,and the only reason it closed down, was due to international pressure simply because of these successes.

    Up to now STTEP has chosen to remain very much under the radar, in order to protect client confidentiality, and also to avoid the negative media frenzy experienced by EO in the past, as well as the all out attemps to close down the Company by Western interests. The last thing the West wants is an Africa able to take of itself and flex it’s economic muscle.

    The drastic levels of interference in Africa at the present time however, has persuaded STTEP to adopt a more public face and openly declare it’s commitment to the African Continent and it’s willingness to become actively involved in conflict resolution. Why is it deemed acceptable for Western Countries to contract the services of Private Military Companies to support their foreign policies, but so called Third World Countries such as in Africa, are restricted in this sense ?

    This is blatant hypocracy, and once again designed to surpress African interests and aspirations. Particularly South Africa, has a vast pool of superior, experienced military personnel as well as exceptional military equipment, and this resource should be the core of future military self determination on the African Continent.

    Time is running out for Africa, and this is patently obvious to any astute observer of the present state of affairs. The unprecedented levels of civil wars and terrorism are most certainly orchestrated by hostile foreign powers in order to create and maintain a state of chaos which can be exploited by these very same powers. Invite a snake into your house, and you are liable to get bitten somewhere down the line.

    • Eeben says:

      Thanks for joining in, Pro Patria. You have smacked the nail on the head. Unless African governments and their armed forces move away from the misguided conception that everything “foreign” in terms of training and advice of the armed forces, intelligence services and law enforcement agencies is “good”, they will continue to slide deeper into chaos. I have yet to see one foreign PMC that has achieved a semblance of mission-success. We only need to look at their behaviour and lack of any concrete results – as we have witnessed – in Africa. In most instances, their “assistance” is akin to sticking a non-stickable band-aid onto a sucking chest wound.

      I have said before – and I say it again – I am not anti-West but I am anti-chaos and to some, importing chaos is the approach they have chosen to keep Africa on its knees. What we witness is not a “black against white” or a “government against government” onslaught in Africa but attempts to turn African against African.

      Looking at Mali: it is said –

      1. The enemy is in possession of sophisticated weapons. Where did these weapons come from? Who provided (directly and indirectly) these weapons to the enemy? Who aided and abetted the enemy to victory in Libya?
      2. The Malian armed forces are unable to resist the enemy onslaught. Who trained the Malian soldiers? Who assisted with their strategy development? Who trained their Rapid Intervention Force?
      3. Their equipment is sub-standard. Who sold them equipment? This can go on and on…

      I get really angry when I see governments being hoodwinked and then when the paw-paw hits the fan, those very governments are blamed. Of course, there have been problems within the Malian government for years – allegations of crime, corruption, etc, etc, but these allegations were never actioned by those given free “aid” and selling weapons to them.

      How can Africa, as the wealthiest continent in terms of resources, be kept on its knees, holding out the beggar bowl and dancing to a tune it never even helped compose?



  25. Finally MEN are heeding to the call of Mother Africa. Eben,Lourens and Pro Patria…welcome to beegeagle’s blog. I have always said that i do not believe that the West truly wants Africa to rise. I say this with no malice but with strategic intent. I believe that we as African have it in us to make our various Nations proud. We have Africans excelling in every field known to man..from Military to Science. Our major challenge would be to deal with our African brothers who are being used by the West to sow seeds of distrust amongst us. They have sold their birthright for a pot of porridge.
    A lot of them are being used as fifth columnist. I am glad to hear that Eben and co have set up shop. It would be a monumental loss to allow such skill and experience go untapped.

    My own 5 kobo….

    We do not need foreign assistance to train African armies….They never commit…what i mean bu commit is they never give their all to the armies they train. There is no connection between the trainer and trainee…It is more of a “marking time training”. Most of the trainers just want to quickly finish up and go back to the comfort of their life in their country. How many western training have the Malians received? Where has it gotten them? The so called EU training would still be a failure…As Eben said….wars have to be won by the National Armies…This alone can bring a sense of unity and believe in the country. Anything apart from these would leave room for the craving of the “security” of Western military bases in Africa. For how long would the West continue to train African armies? IT HAS NOT DONE ANYTHING TO BETTER OUT LOT GUYS!!!!!

    Pecaavi can preach on about the usefullness of foreign PMC’s but i would never buy that crap. If Western solutions solved Western problems..then by God only African solutions would solve Africa’s problems…Its not rocket science….

    • Eeben says:

      Thank you, Optimusprime007.

      Why would these foreign PMCs commit? After all, when the conflict is over, their contract ends. That means their income is stopped. Why would they want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg?

      Ironically in EO’s days, the first to complain about our successes were some NGOs? Why? The same reason as above – when it all ends, they have no role to play and no role means no money. No money and no role also means no influence.



    • peccavi says:

      @Optimusprime007: Since when did I preach about the usefulness of foreign PMC’s?

      • Oga Peccavi…Sorry if i misquoted you….maybe i assumed your support for the Americans training the Malian Army as supporting PMCs (Thats what i see them as….maybe we should change it from PMC to FGMC..Foreign Government Military Contractors).
        People remind me….Was it not the Americans/West that trained the Malian Army pre Jihadist war? If yes, what did they forget to do the first time? I dont like all these foreign handouts…it stinks…to the high heavens. I have not even heard them apologizing..cause i believe they caused this present situation..How? If they had properly trained the Malian Army, they would have stopped the Jihadist from taking over half of their country. The bulk of the blame falls on them.

        I strongly am against another round of trainign from the West and i certainly dont think its going to be free. I would advice that the Malian Army seek the likes of Eben and co. to draw up a training program for them.Short term and Long term….that would startegically fit into their goals as a Nation. They would seat with them on a table as “brothers” and come up with something useful and productive(unlike the yesmasah which would be what they wud get from the west). If these so called aids were working Africa wont be in the situation we are today.
        So Peccavi no vex say i quote u wrong……my 50 kobos

  26. Guys….lets judge people by Actions….not what they say…Robert Greene

  27. Lourens says:

    Optimusprime007, I fully agree with you, with regards foreign training. Like my colleague, Pro Patria rightly mentioned as well – Western PMC’s support their government’s foreign policy. In fact, they really have no choice in the matter, and I will tell you why. Any US PMC for example, must have the permission of the State Department to deal with any foreign government. They are under no circumstances allowed to deal directly with a foreign government, and then whatever assistance is given will be dictated by the State Department.
    To be honest, I can’t see that any foreign PMC can really be useful in Africa. The word PMC is supposed to mean PRIVATE military company. The first word is PRIVATE. I know they are not private companies, because they are not allowed to be. The only private part, I suppose, is when they contract to a private business/corporate client with regards to close protection services, but any military type contract with another country, I guarantee you is far from “private”.

    We have some South African friends who were working under contract for a “Western PMC” in Iraq. They had to train the Iraqi government minister’s personal protection teams just after the first election; I think it was in 2004.
    One of the guys told me that they received the training manuals from the company, and after they looked it over, told the company that the manuals are basically of little value, and that they can supplement the training with tactics and techniques that will work for the current environment etc. They nearly all got fired, and had to sign a document stating that they will not deviate from the given manuals. They honestly told me that if any of those ministers got into trouble, they were sure the teams would not be able to protect them.

    Eeben mentioned in a posting that we actually deploy with the men we trained to the operational area as “mentors” to assist and evaluate them. We have 100% confidence in those men and are not afraid to deploy with them, because we know they have been trained to the same standard as what we are. Unlike the foreign trainers, we have no training secrets, and that’s why we are willing to deploy with our men. Maybe that’s why they dont…?
    I wonder how many foreign military trainers and PMC’s are willing to do that? How many of them are willing to eat the same food as the men they train, stay in the same bases etc. I bet probably none.

  28. Lourens says:

    My apologies – optimusprime007, thank you for welcoming us to Beegeagle’s blog. Its nice to share ideas with like minded people.

    Best Regards

  29. peccavi says:

    @ Eeben, Lourens and ProPatria: well you see the folly of incorrect threat assessment! Nigeria’s biggest threat is not a conventional mechanised enemy but terrorists and local militants.
    It is indeed to the credit of the SADF and the white population of SA that the country transitioned as it did, this again shows the value of professionalism in an armed force suborned to a civilian power.
    Like I always have argued PMC’s, like APCS or artillery are a valuable tool but next to useless if you don’t know why you have them or what to do with them when you get them.
    Unfortunately the Iraq and Afghanistan conflict and wholesale privatisation of key military tasks has led to a nightmare world of really crazy people out there. Its much better now but early days Iraq was a disaster for and by these people and the exploits of Simon Mann and co (however much I wish he had knocked off Obiang) again don’t help.
    Would a dedicated PMC force of ‘first responders’ to the UN be a more efficient and cost effective way of responding t crisis? I would say yes but the devil would be in the detail.
    Would it be a standing force or a forcer activated as and when?
    Again just like you I met people training the Iraqi police, using manuals drawn up from the Balkans complete with tips for cultural sensitivity amongst Croats, Serbs and Bosniaks and winter operating procedures! To be honest Iraq is a classic example of how to do everything wrong on every level.
    And you are so right on Mali, control of the air means nothing, its all about the ground game and the French I think have found the Malians to be even less reliable than thought hence the emphasis on getting EU in to train them up and on ECOWAS to boost force numbers. The French fortunately are much more realistic than the US and much less beholden to media and ideology but I think they have stirred up a hornets nest they will struggle to extricate themselves from without some fancy footwork

    • Eeben says:

      Absolutely so, Peccavi! I also wonder if a threat assessment was even considered, let alone done.

      Again, I agree with you. The threat to Nigeria and indeed many countries is not a full-scale conventional onslaught but rather an offensive that includes guerrilla tactics coupled to mobility and manoeuvre. We have been preaching this for a long time but to no avail.

      PMCs can be a valuable tool but it depends on their track record and their motivation. If it is purely to gain some form of employment at the expense of others, then I would say “No”.

      I do not believe a PMC could work effectively alongside the UN. Whereas I used to believe this was possible, I no longer do. The UN are in this for themselves and no one else. Additionally, how would they select a PMC to work alongside the UN? Would it be a PMC that adheres to the belief that it must respect the human rights of the enemy, regardless? Must their aim be to run away when an enemy advances? I do not believe the UN has even the remotest credibility after the manner in which they have conducted themselves.

      Personally, I have no faith in the UN. They have lied, raped, pillaged and run away for the enemy, abandoning the populace to the atrocities of the enemy and – when we were in SL – fed the LRA on many occasions. We need to establish a continental force that can deploy rapidly, locate and annihilate the enemy before any talks of peace follow.

      At present, our governments are never negotiating from a position of strength. Indeed, if the enemy is not so destroyed as being no longer a threat, time to negotiate is merely used by the enemy to rearm and rebuild their forces. I say a definite NO to this.



  30. Lourens says:

    I agree on comments about the UN. There is not one country in Africa where they bettered, or in fact protected the lives of civilians. On more than one occasion they actually stood by and watched as rebels killed civilians in the DRC and SL.
    Please have a look at the following link – you can’t get a better explanation on the UN than this.


  31. Eeben Barlow says:

    No offence was taken, Doziex. As previously mentioned, it was to illustrate a point. Of course, those who started the rumour about EO and minerals were the very people who were conducting illegal buying and selling of minerals!! They knew we were about to collapse their illegal empires.

    The more I dig, the more complex the Mali situation becomes. We (STTEP) warned them twice of what was coming but those warnings were ignored. Had they required our services, of course it would have cost them but then again, we are not a “save the planet for free” company. But, we have never tried to extort a government or place them in a long-term predicament. That said, I wonder what debt they will be left with whenever – if ever – peace breaks out.



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