Boko Haram Atrocities 2012 – August 2014

Boko Haram Atrocities 2012 – August 2014

by

Howard Adelman

As the 14 February elections approach in Nigeria, Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, a city with a population of at least two million, is once again under siege for the third time in four weeks. The last assault was on 24 January. As in the last two attacks, BH fighters first arrive in the night wearing full-face turbans showing only their eyes, each time from a different direction, but each time on motorcycles and pickup trucks as they shoot their way into the city and shout, “Allahu akbar.” They lock the girls and young women in several houses so they may later choose “wives” from among them instead of kidnapping them all as in April 2013. They also start their campaign of terror by beheading any they consider to be apostates and shoot young men who refuse to join their cause. As you will see from the documentation of the atrocities in 2012, as bad as the situation was then, the targeting of civilian populations has grown enormously since.

Even though BH makes some effort at proselytizing and redistributes some of the food BH fighters have looted, BH is not primarily out to win hearts and minds, just accomplices in its politics of fear and intimidation. Maiduguri is already packed with tens of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who fled the surrounding countryside overrun by BH primarily in 2014 and its version of terror in the name of justice and faith. The IDPs either live with relatives or are scattered among the 16 IDP camps which bear no resemblance to UNHCR relatively well-ordered camps and, at least, minimally fed refugees.

I expect that BH will be pushed back once again from Maiduguru by the Nigerian Army by soldiers who can only expect execution if they fall into the hands of BH. The armies of Chad and Cameroon have won decisive victories when BH tried to expand in those countries last week. If Chad and Cameroon can do it, why not Nigeria which has the third largest army in Africa and certainly the biggest in West Africa? In 2014, Nigeria ranked 21 among economies in the world and currently beats South Africa for first place in Africa with a GDP of $500 billion.

Whereas Nigerian peacekeeping forces were among the most effective in the world in 1990s, this is no longer true. The operations under ECOWAS authority in Sierra Leone and Liberia that began in 1990 could not be duplicated today. Nigerian forces were almost useless in fighting al-Qaeda-linked forces in Mali in 2013. Yet the army absorbed almost six billion n US dollarsof the 2014 Nigerian budget. The strategy of starving the army by tolerating and even enhancing corruption to prevent a military coup has backfired. The army suffers from a lack of and poorly maintained equipment, low operational readiness, inadequate training, and low military morale, all made worse by poor salaries and conditions for the regular grunts, quite aside from the ethnic divisions and regional loyalties that plague Nigeria’s constant efforts to maintain an army loyal to the federal government.

How does one explain the military deterioration in Nigeria? The simple answer is corruption. The ships of its navy and the aircraft of its air force are, for the most part, inoperative. Most of their ground troops have little capacity to launch offensive operations, though that has significantly improved in the last 20 months. This also explains the decline in American cooperation with the Nigerian armed forces. On the other hand, it is very difficult to deal with an enemy that can launch attacks from many locations across a very large country, for the attacks are not limited to the three northern states. One noticeable pattern after 2012 was the increasing capability of the police and the military to bring the war back to Boko Haram. There have been startling successes in one area – far fewer police stations and army barracks have been attacked – but more civilians have been targeted and territory has been captured and held.

It is not clear whether the reason lay in BH strategy or is to found in far greater intimidation and exclusive targeting of civilians with the clear intent of holding and capturing villages and towns in Borno State. Thus, although military attacks against the police initially escalated in 2012, by 2014 they had fallen off drastically. The police and security forces began aggressively to fight and take the war into BH enclaves and so-called safe houses. Select political leaders were assassinated by BH, but fewer of them and hardly any in 2013 and 2014. Increased numbers of churches continued to be attacked in 2012, but these attacks fell off as BH focused its militancy against whole villages and used suicide bombers and explosives to cause many more casualties.

Far fewer Muslim clerics are now being killed, and BH explicitly announced that it had not been responsible for the attack on the mosque in Kano in June of 2012. The attacks on churches had a double effect, not only killing parishioners of what BH regards as an apostate faith, but provoking mob retaliatory attacks in several cases against Muslim bystanders, thereby deepening the rift between Muslims and Christians even further. But these types of attacks decreased considerably by 2014. Police stations were always attacked in conjunction with an effort to rob a bank, but BH seems to have acquired more sophisticated military equipment and explosives from the spate of attacks on the police and the military in 2012 so that by mid-July they could concentrate on attacking and capturing villages in Borno State. Attacks on civilians continued, primarily against targets seen to be bringing western values into northern Nigeria – pubs, construction sites, schools and even the newspaper, The Day in April 2012. 2                                                                                                                                                                                  Though the military counter-attacks against BH have significantly improved, the prognosis remains depressing as the military failed to capture a few key bases that BH had captured. The advance of BH over the last three years began with the coordinated 2012 attack in Kano against 8 different security facilities (the regional police headquarters, 2 police stations, local headquarters of state security, home of a police official, state police command headquarters), even though the strength of BH is also its greatest weakness. For BH is very decentralized and lacks a forceful unified command structure. However, BH has demonstrated that it is very capable of coordinated assaults. In 2014, it has also shown that it can concentrate sufficient forces to capture towns and villages, especially in Borno State with a highly increased lethality of civilians. Since 2012, the Nigerian army, police and security forces made a concerted effort to take the battle into the warrens where BH murderers and bombers take refuge in the cities. However, the Nigerian security forces have been unable to launch a consistent assault to retake territory captured by BH.

There has been a countervailing interpretation that the primary issue is not military but political. The political issue is not the gain in popular support for BH – which has undoubtedly lost ground. The growing strength and horror of BH has become a prime election issue in this election year in 2015 for a number of very different reasons, quite aside from the likelihood that the recent increase in the number of attacks, their main targets and heightened lethality seem to indicate that disrupting the election and delegitimizing the results may be the main strategy in the recent pattern of BH attacks.

Note the following:

  • Of the 174 million population (Lagos alone has an estimated population of 25 million), and the estimated expected vote of over 40 million, of the 5.6 million population in the three northeastern states, 1.5 million eligible voters reside in Borno, Yobe and Adanowa
  • Of those,18% have been displaced, and Nigerian law requires that voters must cast their ballots in their home constituencies
  • Thus, even though the Independent National Election Commission insists that the vote will go ahead in the northeast as planned, and even assuming that they are true to their word in spite of the increasing rate of BH assaults, to get elected, a presidential candidate must win 25% of the votes in at least two-thirds (12) states to be declared a winner;
  • This suggests that the violence is intended to delegitimize the election, assuming Goodluck Jonathan can win more votes than his rival, Muhammadu Buhani;
  • Further, if the election is contested afterwards over a protracted period, BH will be the only winner.

Below, please find the tables of atrocities for 2012, 2013 and until the end of July 2014. I am grateful to Ioannis Mantzikos, a PhD candidate at the University of Free State in South Africa, who compiled the original uncategorized list and published the compilation in the December issue of Perspectives on Terrorism Volume 8, Issue 6. The categorization and interpretation of trends is solely my responsibility.

 

MUSLIM RELIGIOUS LEADERS

 

DATE LOCATION TARGET RESULT DEAD
2012
22 June Kano Mosque – aborted 4 arrested
2 July Maiduguri Mosque under construction Construction workers killed 9

POLITICAL TARGETS: attacks against politicians, traditional leaders and civil servants

DATE LOCATION PERSON STATUS KILLED
2012
7 Feb. Kaduna Hon. Auwalu Ali Tafoki, former Chairman of the Kaduna South Local Area Bomb discovered and dismantled
9 March Gombe State Traditional ruler Shot 1
12 April Abuja Threat by BH to overthrow government in 3 months U.S. State Department travel alert
21 June U.S. Abubakar Shekau, Abubakar

Adam Kambar, & Khalid al-Barnawi

Declared specially designated global terrorists
Habib Bama (Mamman) Shot when arrested 1
3 August Potiskum Muslim traditional leader Escapes suicide bomber 0

Military and Police Targets

DATE LOCATION TARGET METHOD NUMBER
2012 Dead
17 Jan. Maiduguri Military checkpoint Assault 2 soldiers + 2 BH
Army outpost 2
Borno State BH hideout 6 arrested
20 Jan. Kano 8 government security buildings 5 suicide bomber; 20 explosions ???
24 Jan Kano Response to above by JTF 158 arrests 10 cars of explosives 300 IEDs
28 Jan Maiduguri 11 BH
15 Feb Koton-Karle, Kogi State Prison attack by 20 gunmen 119 freed inmates 14
3 March In prison Tiemkenfa Francis Osvwo fumigation 1 BH
7 March Ashaka, Gombe State Police station 7
10 March Bulabilin Ngaura, Borno Police station Gunmen 1
Maidiguri Repelled assault 11 arrested 1 BH
12 March Military patrol Gunmen 5
21 March Tudun Wala 100 km from Abuja Divisional Police Office Explosives failed
31 March Kogi Raid of bomb factory shootout 10
25 April Kano State Raid on bomb factory
30 April Taraba State Senior Police official convoy – survived Suicide bomber 11
4 May Borno State Prison 2 guards
6 May Kano Shootout 4 BH
11 May Kano Suleiman Mohammed + wife + 5 kids Arrest of BH Kano head
12 May Borno State Police station Burned 2 police
13 May Kano Shootout 6 officers
19 May Jos BH enclave destroyed ???
22 May Abuja Security officials foil police station & radio
5 June Kano Abubakar Saleh Ningi, former department chief MC 3 incl. driver & bodyguard
5 -6 June Maiduguri JTF operation 16 BH
8 June Borno State JTF operation Car with explosives 4 + 7
23 June Kano BH hideout Shootout 4 BH
24 June Yobe Prison 40 inmates freed 2 BH
26 June Wukari, Taraba State Regional police headquarters Gunmen 3 police
26-27 June Kano Dalo police division 30 BH with guns 10 BH; I police
30 June Damaturu, Yobe Pre-emptive offensive by police 10 BH       1 police
30 July Sokoto Two police stations Suicide bomber 2
19 Aug. Damagun, Yobe Police station Blown up ???

BUSINESSES

2012 LOCATION TARGET Method KILLED
22 Jan. Tafawa Balewa Bank – foiled
2 March Trader and tailor Knife attack 2
8 March Birnin Kebbi

BH denies it attacked

Italian and British engineer kidnapped 2
21 March 100 km from Abuja Bank – foiled 2 arrested 9 BH
30 March Maiduguri Police station + bank 4
7 Nov. Benishek outside Maiduguri Chinese construction workers attack 2

CHRISTIANS

DATE LOCATION INSTITUTION PEOPLE METHOD NUMBERS
2012 Dead Inj.
Gombe State Church Parishioners Assault 3-6
6 Jan Yola Church Parishioners Assault 8
26 Feb Jos, Plateau State Church Parishioners Suicide bomber 6
11 March Jos Church Parishioners Suicide bomber 3
Reprisal attacks 10
8 April Kaduna Churh Easter parishioners Explosives 38
3 June Yelwa, Bauchi State Church Parishioners Suicide bomber 12
10 June Jos Church Suicide bomber 0 41
bystanders Retaliation Mob 2
Biu 5 gunmen 1 3
17 June Zaire & Kaduna

Kaduna State

3 churches Car bombs
19 Aug. Damagun, Yobe Church building Blown up ???
23 Sept. Bauchi Church Female worshipper Suicide bomber 1
28 Oct. Kaduna Church parishioners Suicide bomber 10 145

Note that in 2012, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) ran an ad campaign on 100 buses in New York publicizing the savagery of BH and the targeting of Christians specifically. “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support the Nigerian Christians. Defeat jihad.” Mostly because of the phrasing, the ads were criticized as “anti-Muslim” “hate” ads.

CIVILIAN TARGETS

DATE LOCATION TARGET METHOD DEAD & INJURED  
2012
4 Jan. Dalla, Maiduguri Teacher & son Home 2 + 2BH
10 Jan Damaturu, Yobe State Beergarden 8
13 Jan Yola, Adamawa State Pub 2 + 1
Gombe, Gombe State Pub 2 + 1
1 Feb. Maiduguri 30 so-called informers Targeted 7
2 March 4:mother son + 2
4 April Maiduguri Market Gunmen 7
26 April Abuja Off ices of newspaper The Day Suicide attack 4
Kaduna Housing complex with Damugun offices Car bomb
25 June Baluchi Cluster of bars IED Explosive 0 + 9
4 July Abuja Shopping mall explosion 0
19 Aug. Damagun, Yobe School Blown up
16 Sept. Bauchi Ludo game players Shot 6 + 9
18 Oct Potiskum Guns + bomb 23

2013 Charts of Boko Haram atrocities

Military and Police Targets

2013 LOCATION TARGET METHOD DEAD + Inj
15 March Gwoza Prison – 170 inmates freed assault 1 civilian
22 March Ganye, Adamawa State Jail, police stn. & bank 127 inmates freed assault 25
11 April Babban Gida, Yobe State Police station shootout 4 police       5 BH
12-16 Baga JTF operation vs BH firefight 187
7 May Bama Security forces –       105 inmates freed assault 55
13 May Borno & Yobe “massive” troop deployment State of emergency Phone signals shut
11 Sept. Ga’anda Village, Adamawa State Police stations Rocket grenades 2 police + 1
24 Oct. Damaturu, Yobe Military barracks and police facilities assault 21 in total 21-70 BH
23 Nov. Gwoza BH hideouts N. military 40 BH
2 Dec. Maiduguru Air force base, military barracks 200 gunmen ???

 

POLITICAL TARGETS

2013 LOCATION PERSON STATUS KILLED
15 March Kano Senior judicial figure
3 May Maiduguri Ali Monguno, former Nigerian oil minister kidnap

 

CHRISTIANS

2013 LOCATION INSTITUTION PEOPLE METHOD NUMBERS
13 Nov Nguetchéwé, Cameroon French Catholic priest kidnap Dead Inj.

 

CIVILIAN TARGETS

2013 LOCATION TARGET METHOD DEAD & INJURED  
22-24 Jan. Maiduguri Many ???
8 Feb. Kano 2 polio clinics gunmen 10 workers
10 Feb. Potiskum, Yobe doctors North Korean assassinys 3
16 Feb Jama’are Construction workers kidnap 7
19 Feb. Cameroon French family of 7 kidnap Video 25 February
5 March Video beheading Alleged informant beheading 1
18 March Kano Bus station Suicide bomber 41
17 June Damaturu Student dormitory attack 7 students 2 teachers
6 July Mamudo, Yobe Secondary school dormitories set on fire attack 41 students 1 teacher
31 Aug. Yaguwa Village, Damboa, Borno BH hideout by nomadic herders in revenge attack 12 nomads + original 2
17 Sept. Benisheik, Borno Town attack 142
29 Sept. Gujba, Yobe school dorm College of Agriculture attack 40 students
4 Nov. Bama, Borno 300 homes burned assault 27
23 Nov. Sandiya Village 85km from Maiduguru Some homes burned assault 12

BUSINESSES

2013 LOCATION TARGET Method KILLED
27 July Dawashe near Baga, Borno Fishers & traders Reprisal attack 20 +

2014 Boko Haram Atrocities

Military and Police Targets

2014 LOCATION TARGET METHOD DEAD & INJ.
14 March Maiduguru Giwa Military barracks & state security hdqt. 200 BH assault fails
8 July Damboa Military base N. army assault BH counterattack 15 soldiers
24 July Cameroon military Cross-border raid 2 soldiers

 

POLITICAL TARGETS

2013 LOCATION PERSON STATUS KILLED
23 April Blabili, Borno State politicians ambush 2
25 July Garabula, Borno Alhaji Ibrahim Dawi District leader 13
27 July Kolofata, Cameroon Wife of V-Pres. kidnap 3

 

CHRISTIANS

2013 LOCATION INSTITUTION PEOPLE METHOD NUMBERS
30 July Kwajaffa, Tashan Alade 5 churches

 

CIVILIAN TARGETS

2013 LOCATION TARGET METHOD DEAD & INJURED  
26 Jan. Borno & Adamawa 2 markets assaults 78
11 Feb. Kanduga Burn homes assault 23
15 Feb. Northeastern Nigeria dozens
26 Feb. Buni Yadi Federal college assault 29
14 April Abuja Bus station Suicide bomber 75 +
17 April BH mass weddings on 29 April School dorm kidnap 276 girls
20 April Yana Government school fire 5-year-old
5 May BH video Girls kidnapped To be sold
20 May Jos market Car bombs 118 + 56
1 June Mubi Football stadium bomb 40
14 June Borno 4 villages assault 500
17 June Damaturu Football viewing centre World Cup bomb 21
24 June Borno Systematic abductions Kidnap 60 women 30
3 July Konduga, Borno bomb 5
4 July Maiduguri-Mafa-Dikwa Road motorway ambush 15
6 July Krenuwa Village, border Cameroon Dressed in military uniforms assault 7
11 July Maidugurio Damboa Madafuma Biu Rd Main bridge destroyed
14 July Dille Village Torch houses & 3 churches assault 26
Madafuma Village, Biu, Borno capture assault 9
15 July Damboa, Borno Sambon Gari Village assault 27
17 July Gambou Ngala, Borno Bridge to Cameroon Blown up
18 July Damboa, Borno Burn homes 80
23 July Kaduna Suicide bombers 82
29 July Potiskum 2 bombs Suicide bombers 55

BUSINESSES

2013 LOCATION TARGET Method KILLED
27 July Dawashe near Baga, Borno Fishers & traders Reprisal attack 20 +
16 July Gombi, Adamawa German Kidnap
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VII: Samantha Power: R2P Applied

VII: Samantha Power: R2P Applied

by

Howard Adelman

When Samantha was appointed to chair President Obama’s Atrocities Prevention Board set up to actually prevent mass atrocities and genocide as a core U.S. national security interest and foreign affairs responsibility, the cheerleaders for R2P jumped with joy, “At last,” they screamed, “Something will be done about preventing, or, at the very least, mitigating mass atrocities.” Indeed, Samantha Power credited the administration with “an unprecedented record of actions taken to protect civilians and hold perpetrators of atrocities accountable.” In reality, the false claim of credit and the inability to mitigate let alone prevent atrocities are two sides of the same coin.

What were these claimed unprecedented actions and accomplishments? And did they have anything to do with the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect (R2P)?

In the next series of blogs, I will take up a number of specific issues on which Samantha Power at one time or another claimed credit was due to the administration for “an unprecedented record of accomplishment”. I will see what if any connection there is to R2P and briefly deal with the claims made and whether any credit is warranted in a number of specific cases. Of necessity, I will have to be very brief and succinct on each crisis. Before undertaking the specific case study analysis, including Darfur, South Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Myanmar, I want to raise a number of general faults with R2P and then offer two individual cases – of accountability rather than prevention or intervention as illustrations.

As I will try to show in the case studies, when R2P is actually applied to protect populations in peril, such as the Yazidis in Iraq, the motivation has little to do with protecting that very endangered population. And when protecting an actual population as the real aim, as in Libya, the course of events set in motion by the intervention seems to make the situation go awry leading seemingly to many more deaths and atrocities than might otherwise have been the case. When protection or mitigation actually seem possible and could be effective, as in repressing and even eliminating Boko Haram in Nigeria, the conditions for its application are undermined. All of this will emerge in the case study analysis. In this blog, I offer some theoretical reasons why R2P is inherently bankrupt and why this will always be the case. R2P was not only stillborn when the UN endorsed the doctrine universally by effectively gutting its core premise of making sovereignty conditional instead of absolute, but was sterile at its conceptual birth. The genetics of the doctrine doomed it to crashing.

If the dialectics of the analysis of the theory bothers or deters you, wait until you can read the case study analysis. Alternatively, you can skip this blog and go to a second I will write this morning, a brief review of the movie, The Foxcatcher, a movie that presents, but does not go into the mind of a sociopath who could commit mass atrocities.

Part of the problem with R2P is the difficulty of application – the greater the challenges in figuring how to apply the doctrine, the more worthless it appears to become. For its credit depends upon use, but without a proper line of credit, it turns out to be useless, hence contributing to its increasing loss of credibility. And the more it is not used, the more worthless it appears to be. However, these are but the manifestations of the root conceptual flaws in the doctrine. Let’s start with the central premise of the relationship between the sovereign state and its citizens.

In liberal democratic theory, the governors of a state are responsible for its citizenry and accountable to that citizenry for carrying out a state’s responsibilities. ‘Responsibility for’ and ‘accountability to’ are the two intertwined dialectical links between a population and its government. But in R2P, if a state fails in its prime responsibility of protecting its citizens, that responsibility function shifts to the international community which substitutes its own authority for that of the state. State authority is no longer absolute but conditional upon its exercise and removable with failure. The state is reduced to a trustee of the international community. And that international authority that takes over the responsibility for the citizenry is not responsible to that citizenry. So R2P only works if it undermines the principle of democracy. More importantly, when it does not work – which as I will show is the norm – then responsibility itself becomes emptied of any meaning, thereby even more fundamentally undermining the doctrine of responsibility for and to the people.

If we approach the conceptual issue, not from the nature of a democratic state, that is, the collectivity, but from the other pole of the equation in R2P, the rights of a citizen to protection, we get into another dilemma. Citizens not only have rights of free speech, rights of assembly and the other traditional rights necessary for the preservation and enhancement of a democratic polity, but they have a right not to be subject to mass atrocities. This is not just a right not to be tortured or a right to a fair trial or a right to legal representation. The latter are all rights that belong to the individual in a democratic polity. What we have in this case is a collective right, that is, a right of a community within a polity to continue its existence as a community; if the state denies that right by either trying to evict the community to which an individual belongs (ethnic cleansing) or goes even further and tries assiduously to exterminate that group in whole or in part (genocide), then the only way prevention or mitigation can be effected is by granting a group rights. Inherently, however, this puts limitations on individual rights rather than enhancing them.

If an individual has all of the liberal rights, why does he need to be recognized as a member of a group with collective rights? Where is the added value of the collective right to the individual qua individual? Further, one of the paradoxes at the root of the conception of the nation-state is that when a collection of individuals contract among themselves as individuals to transfer all coercive power to the state on condition that their rights are protected, those rights do not include group rights.

The compact between the individuals and the state goes further. The rights to determine who belongs to the state, that is, who can be its members, is transferred to the state. So if a state wants to abrogate the rights of a group, the only way to protect those rights is to insist they belong to every individual member of the state. But group rights only belong to a group and its members within the state, not to all members of the state itself. So if groups within a state are to have specific group rights – such as aboriginal peoples within Canada concerning the rights of a community to exclude non-aboriginal members or revoke the rights of individuals in that group when they marry non-aboriginals – then it is the group, not the state who defines who is a member of that group. If the state assumes responsibility for that decision – as was done in the Holocaust, in the Rwanda genocide and in some cases of aboriginal rights -, then the very idea of a self-perpetuating collectivity with rights within the state is undermined. The fact is, the issue of collective rights is the Achilles heel of a democratic liberal state. Insisting that a state cannot mistreat any of its minorities and, if it does, the collectivity of all states will take over the responsibility, means only that the irresponsibility only gets writ large and exposed for what it is.

So what has actually happened? The Obama regime has sincerely bought into the principle that the U.S. does have a responsibility when minorities are persecuted. And, unlike the United Nations, it is not just a rhetorical buy-in. As stated above, Obama issued a directive that “the prevention of mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest of the United States.” But then the most powerful state in the world showed that it could not possibly implement that responsibility – not only for all the minorities being afflicted with atrocities, but surprisingly, not one single one – except when the real and deep motivation is the old fashioned self-interest of the state.

So the issue is not even which group, among all those persecuted, a state should protect. Nor is the issue simply when to apply the doctrine of protection, let alone adopt the last resort of coercive intervention. The inherent incapacity of the most powerful state to protect any group outside its own jurisdiction based on R2P, which requires collective authorization via the United Nations before any action based on R2P is legitimized, undermines both the sovereignty of the state as well as the potency of that sovereignty. Does the endorsement by the UN authorizing military force help, as when the U.N. Security Council authorized military force to protect “civilians and civilian-populated areas” in Libya? R2P does offer permission to a state to act on behalf of the international community, which may provide temporary protection and which can prevent some murders from proceeding, but what happens next? Unless the intervening state or group of states is willing to assume full responsibility for those endangered citizens and not simply provide protection in an acute crisis, then the violence simply recurs in a different form.

Further, if a country decides to become involved, the intervener has to either take full control (unlikely) or to support one side in the struggle, presumably representing those persecuted. Then the persecuted are empowered to destroy their enemies – which inherently means the other side, the persecutors. They take control and sometimes even become the persecutors. Those states which have an interest against that group that have gained power become highly critical of the intervening state as behaving like an imperial power, not as a saviour of minorities. The intervener is no longer the representative of the world community, but only a section of it intent on victory. R2P just becomes a cover for an exercise in imperial power. At the same time, the intervener becomes a producer of victims as well as a protector of victims.

One result is that altruism is depreciated and devalued. Force in the service of altruism is an oxymoron. What is more, the altruism only seems to work when it is intermixed with the self-interest of the intervening state that drives the intervener to assume the full responsibility required to complete the task at hand. Of course, that only further undermines the moral status of R2P. Since the ostensible success, protecting civilians, is difficult to assess and measure, but the body counts, the civilians killed, those wounded as “collateral damage,” are quantifiable – the empirical evidence seems evident for all to see. The cure may be worse than the disease.

What is more, when a state assumes the responsibility for its members, for its citizens, this is an ongoing and continuing duty, not one that ever ends. But intervention inherently demands and requires an exit. Yet there never is an appropriate time to leave by the very nature of the problem. In reality, an intervener leaves when the government of the state within which the intervention takes place insists once again on assuming responsibility, thereby both undermining the R2P doctrine, which is based on the presumption that the will of an individual state is trumped by that of the international community.

Further, the resentment and internal discord within the intervening state are enhanced. A state assumes responsibility for its own citizens, not in gratitude for the “international” community acting as a temporary protector, but because the country has become tired and even resentful of the so-called protector. On the other side, the citizens of the intervener sooner rather than later grow tired of the burden and resentful in turn of the lack of appreciation of those who they sacrificed to protect. Alternatively, the situation gets worse, and the intervener is required to increase its commitment, the self-sacrifice of its citizens and the cost of its project, which in turn enhances the resentment of at least part of the citizenry of the intervening state and exacerbates the divisions and schisms within.

As we shall see, none of these paradoxes and dilemmas has even touched the problem that neither the strongest state in the world and certainly not the international community can possibly assume the responsibility for even a small portion of the atrocities taking place in various parts of the world. So the international community and the intervening state(s) come across as hypocrites incapable of living up to the promises they have ostensibly made.

One of the results of all these inherent failures is a propensity to boast about relatively tiny and insignificant accomplishments, even when one had hardly anything to do with responsibility for them. Before I begin the series of case study analyses, let me offer an example of one case that is neither about prevention nor intervention, but about accountability. The Obama administration supported the arrest of Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić and boasted about it. What did that support amount to?

Samantha claimed this credit among a long list justifying her successes as the chair of President Obama’s Atrocities Prevention Board set up in 2011. It is true that the R2P doctrine is not only about prevention, but also includes punishment of those guilty of crimes against humanity and genocide. But that is not what is novel about R2P. As President Obama said himself on 2 April 2013 upon learning of the arrest of the Butcher of Bosnia, Ratko Mladić: “Fifteen years ago, Ratko Mladić ordered the systematic execution of some 8,000 unarmed men and boys in Srebrenica. Today, he is behind bars. I applaud President Tadic and the Government of Serbia on their determined efforts to ensure that Mladić was found and that he faces justice. We look forward to his expeditious transfer to The Hague…From Nuremberg to the present, the United States has long viewed justice for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide as both a moral imperative and an essential element of stability and peace. In Bosnia, the United States – our troops and our diplomats – led the international effort to end ethnic cleansing and bring a lasting peace. On this important day, we recommit ourselves to supporting ongoing reconciliation efforts in the Balkans and to working to prevent future atrocities. Those who have committed crimes against humanity and genocide will not escape judgment.”

That is a fair and judicious statement. Obama gave credit where credit was due for the arrest – to President Tadic and the Government of Serbia that first gradually asserted control over the Serbian military. The effort was helped both by EU pressure requiring the arrest of the wanted war criminals as a condition for the entry of Serbia into the EU and the British military and British politicians, particularly Paddy Ashdown when United Nations High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2004. Obama did not link the arrest with R2P, but with a long American bipartisan tradition going back to the Nuremberg trials after WWII. He also gave credit to the Clinton administration for its leading role in the intervention in the former Yugoslavia and for forging the peace agreement. The only credit he gave his own administration was for a recommitment to supporting ongoing reconciliation efforts in the Balkans and his government’s work to prevent future atrocities. None of this had anything to do with the arrest of Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić.

Even the rewards offered for information leading to his arrest, initially €1 million by the Serbian government, upped in 2010 to €10 million, and $5 million dollars offered by the American government, subsequently supplemented by an offer of €1 million by the U.S. embassy in Belgrade just for information on his location, had nothing to do with those arrests. Initially Mladić was protected by the governments of Serbia and Republika Srpska, then after 2002 by the Serbian army and the army of Republika Srpska, then by paramilitary extremist organizations similar to the ones that helped Nazi war criminals escape Germany after WWII, and finally only by members of his own family. Neither strenuous UN and NATO efforts nor offers of bounties led to his arrest – just good police work and serendipity.

Goran Hadžić was the last fugitive war criminal wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and he was arrested by Serbian police just over a month after Ratko Mladić near the village of Krušedol, where he had been hiding since his indictment by the ICTY. He had tried to sell a stolen Modigliani painting and police tracked him down. America had no more to do with this arrest than with the capture of Ratko Mladić. President Obama’s statement on Goran Hadžić’s arrest was in the same vein as the previous one, with one exception. “Over the course of its 18-year history, the United States has been and remains a steadfast supporter of the ICTY and its critically important work.” A smidgeon of credit was taken for supporting the ICTY. Was this what Samantha Power was declaring as an example of an “unprecedented action”?

My country may have been the sponsor and midwife of R2P. I continue to believe in military intervention – when possible and when needed. But the overarching doctrine supposedly providing a rationale for such actions is a far greater hindrance than help. It is much better to establish practices than to proceed from an abstract principle, especially one so terribly flawed.