Senegal is on alert to lead a possible military intervention in Gambia if Gambian President Yahya Jammeh refuses to step down, the chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said, BBC reported Dec. 23. ECOWAS head Marcel Alain de Souza said standby forces from Senegal are prepared to ensure the will of the people in Gambia, where Jammeh lost to opposition candidate Adama Barrow in the country's Dec. 1 presidential election. Jammeh initially said he accepted the vote but then later backtracked, bringing about a potentially destabilizing political stalemate. The ruling party has appealed to the country's supreme court, which is set to hear the case Jan. 10. Despite the chairman's comments, ECOWAS is leaving the door open for a peaceful resolution to the dispute. The threat of a military intervention should be seen as a precautionary alert and as leverage for negotiations to find a non-interventionist solution.