Tuesday, September 5, 2023

What Just Happened In Niger? - Details, Analysis, And Solutions

Brandon Turbeville
September 5, 2023

On July 26, 2023, Niger's President, Mohamed Bazoum was overthrown in a coup. Presidential Guard Commander General Abdourahamane Tchiani subsequently proclaimed himself leader of the new military-led government. Immediately after Bazoum was removed from office, Tchiani's government closed the borders, declared a curfew, and suspended operations of various state institutions. For a country that scarcely makes the news at any time, Niger was suddenly front and center, revealing the true nature of its importance, at least in terms of its significance, geographically speaking. The French stand to lose the most, as France has been rapidly losing influence in Africa over the last several years. Western interests, as they stand, appear to be on the losing end of the coup while Russia and Wagner Group appear to be poised to, at the very least, capitalize on it. The coup also threatens to draw the region of West Africa into a multi-national conflict.

To be clear, the events still currently unfolding on the ground in Niger are not yet fully clear. While mainstream media outlets are trying to point the finger at  Russia, the alternative media is attempting to  blame the United States. Both suggestions may have merit, as does the possibility that the coup was simply a result of government mismanagement, corruption, and ineptitude, or at least the perception of it. It is also possible that the coup came as a result of internal squabbles between government members. Regardless, before knee-jerk reactions and embedded positions cloud judgement, the events in Niger must be examined closely.

The Initial Events

On July 26, 2023, Niger's Presidency tweeted that the Presidential Guards, commanded by General Abdourahamane Tchiani was engaging in an "anti-Republican demonstration." It noted that Tchiani's forces were unable to obtain the support of other security forces. It stated that the President (Barzoum) was well, since reports had emerged that he was being held inside the Presidential Palace in Niamey.

Later, Interior Minister Hamadou Souley was also arrested and held in the palace. About twenty members of the Presidential Guard were seen outside the palace later in the day. Bazoum's wife, Hadiza and his son, Salem, were also detained with him at the palace.

That morning, the palace and the ministries adjacent to it were blocked off by military vehicles and the palace staff were not allowed to access their offices. It was reported that up to 400 civilians who supported Bazoum approached the palace but were dispersed by the Presidential Guard. Some reports suggest the Guards fired at the civilians but the Guards deny doing so. There was no evidence provided either way. Likewise, the Presidency claimed that there were protests all over the world at the country's overseas diplomatic missions in support of Bazoum, but no evidence was provided. In response, Niger's Armed Forces surrounded the Presidential Palace in apparent support of Bazoum, also issuing a statement that they had secured "major strategic points" in the country. BBC then reported loyalist forces had surrounded the state broadcaster ORTN as the US Embassy warned against travel along the Boulevard de la Republique.

In the evening, Air Force Colonel-Major Amadou Abdramane appeared on state television channel Tele Sahel and claimed that President Barzoum had been removed from power. He then announced the creation of the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland. Abdramane was flanked by nine other officers wearing uniforms, each representing different branches of the security forces. He stated that the Defense and Security forces had decided to overthrow the regime "due to the deteriorating security situation and bad governance." He also stated that the country's Constitution was officially dissolved, the suspension of state institutions, and the closure of the country's borders. In addition, he announced a nationwide curfew and warned against foreign intervention. The curfew was eventually lifted on August 4.

The next day, Bazoum indicated he had no intentions to step down and his Foreign Minister Hassoumi Massaoudou told France 24 that Niger's "legal and legitimate power" remained with Bazoum. Massaoudou then declared himself acting head of state and called on all "democrats" to "make this adventure fail."

Bazoum has yet to officially resign yet, despite being held by the new government, has been able to contact world leaders such as French President Macron, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, AU Commissioner Moussa Faki, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. But the coup leaders have stressed Bazoum is being treated well and that he is being provided medical care. Bazoum and his supporters insist power has been cut to his residence and he is being denied medical care.

On July 27, Niger's Army Chief of Staff General Abdou Sidikou Issa declared his support for the coup, saying there was a need to "preserve the physical integrity" of the president and his family as well as a need to avoid "a deadly confrontation that could create a bloodbath and affect the security of the population." Shortly thereafter, Abdramane announced the suspension of all activities by political parties in the country until further notice. He also reprimanded France for violating Niger's airspace which the coup leaders had closed immediately after taking power. France defied this order and landed a military plane at an air base.

The new Nigerien government then revoked military cooperation with France which has approximately 1,000 to 1,500 troops stationed in the country. However, France declined to remove those troops stating that France does not recognize the coup leaders as the legitimate government of Niger.

The same day, a pro-coup demonstration took place with about 1,000 supporters flying Russian flags, and calling for the entrance and support of Russia and/or the Wagner Group. These demonstrators chanted anti-French slogans and threw rocks at the car of a politician who passed by. They denounced France in general as well as "other foreign bases." At the same time, other demonstrators gathered in support of Bazoum though this demonstrations was noticeably smaller.

Other demonstrators gathered outside Bazoum's PNDS-Tarayya party and threw stones at vehicles and setting them on fire. They then ransacked and burned the building before police arrived to disperse the riot with tear gas. Demonstrations then occurred in front of the National Assembly which led to the Interior Ministry banning all demonstrations immediately. Civil servants were then told to stay home.

On July 28, General Abdourahamane Tchiani declared himself to be the President of the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland in a televised address. He stated that the coup was initiated to avoid "the gradual and inevitable demise" of Niger and said that Bazoum had tried to hide "the harsh reality" of the situation. He described the country's state as being a "pile of dead, displaced, humiliation and frustration." He referenced the previous government's ineffectiveness and lack of collaboration with Mali and Burkina Faso in regards to the security crisis and the task of combatting Islamic terrorism.

Tchiani's position as head of state was confirmed by Colonel Abdramane, who also accused Bazoum's government of plotting against the new government while hiding away in foreign embassies. In other words, treason.

ECOWAS/US/France Reaction

The international reaction to the Niger coup was quite telling. France, notably, was quite shaken by the open revulsion toward the French presence in the country. Fresh on the heels of being kicked out of Burkina Faso and Mali, both as a result of military coups, the French are not only being forced to reckon with the end of even the ghost of its empire, but also the hatred and resentment much of Africa has for its former exploitative colonizers. As the French economy continues to spiral downward and cultural cohesion is falling apart due to "multiculturalism," mass immigration, and a direct assault on French culture through globalist forces, the loss of the ability to even station a few thousand troops in the former colonies is just one more nail in the coffin of the formerly powerful French empire.

The United States, for its part, remained largely quiet in the days after the coup. However, Victoria Nuland seemed genuinely perplexed that an impoverished vassal nation like Niger would not only have the gall to suggest foreign powers leave its soil, but also that it was not willing to be dictated to by the United States. “These conversations were extremely frank and at times quite difficult because, again, we are pushing for a negotiated solution. It was not easy to get traction there. They are quite firm in their view of how they want to proceed,” she said

While the United States did not openly call the coup what it was - a coup - it was most likely out of an attempt to salvage the vestiges American influence that such a declaration was not made. If the US government declares a coup has taken place, American aid to Niger, by US law, must be cut, thus ending the carrot of American diplomacy and influence in the country.

ECOWAS (Economic Community Of West African States) had a much stronger reaction, however. On July 30, ECOWAS gave Niger's coup leaders one week to place Barzoum back in power or face international sanctions and possibly even the use of force by ECOWAS members. That same day, ECOWAS said it would enforce a no-fly zone over the country for commercial flights and close all borders with Niger, a landlocked nation. A series of sanctions were also announced which included suspending all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS members and Niger. It also included the freezing of assets and travel restrictions for military personnel who were involved in the coup. The Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) cancelled a a planned 30 billion CFA Franc bond issuance by Niger.

Niger ignored ECOWAS' deadline and, as a result, ECOWAS ordered the "immediate activation" of the threatened "intervention force" while stating it still supported a peaceful resolution to the crisis. ECOWAS extended that deadline to August 18.

As for the France and the rest of Europe, the EU and France withheld financial and development aid to Niger. France simply refused to remove its troops from Nigerien soil despite the fact that the new government of Niger cancelled the agreement of military cooperation between the two countries. France argued that the new leaders were not the legitimate government of Niger.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Russian private military contracting firm, Wagner Group, praised the coup, labeling it as part of Niger's fight against its colonizers. Vladmir Putin, however, through spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, called the coup a "serious concern" and called for all sides to "show restraint" and for the "fastest possible return to legal order." Putin also criticized the calls for intervention by foreign states.

Burkina Faso and Mali, however, expressed support for Niger's coup and threatened to use force of their own in order to defend Niger in case of an ECOWAS military intervention.

On August 24, Niger authorized Mali and Burkina Faso's armed forces to deploy to its territory in case of attack launched against Niger. The agreement was announced in a joint statement, a clear sign that not only is Niger's new government here to stay but that it plans to continue to resist Western, Asian, and African international efforts to remove it and violate Nigerien national sovereignty.

"The Burkinabe and Malian Ministers ... reiterated their rejection of an armed intervention against the people of Niger which will be considered as a declaration of war," the statement said.

Threat of Regional War - Will Sahel Become The African Front In West vs Russia/China?

The threat made by ECOWAS toward Niger is, in actuality, a threat to the entire continent of Africa. A war between ECOWAS would pit Benin, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bassau, Togo, Nigeria, Sierre Leon, Senegal, and Cabo Verde directly at war with Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso.

An armed conflict between this many powers would see the initiation of an immediate regional war in a region and a continent that is already reeling from multiple armed conflicts that have taken place in the past and many that are still ongoing. In some areas, conflict has waned but it is still latent, as religious, ethnic, tribal, or political differences compounded by foreign interests and foreign influence are a powder keg waiting for the strike of a match.

Thus ECOWAS is threatening to take the entire West African region to immediate war. But it may not stop there. It is also possible that such a war will draw in other African nations, particularly those of the Sahel but also those outside of the Sahel or West Africa. Such a conflict could potentially spill over the borders of warring countries to involve countries across the entire continent, risking what would essentially be a continent wide war.

African forces are not the only potential participants, however. For instance, Russian interests have capitalized on the Mali and Burkina Faso coups, with Wagner Group moving in to provide "security" and take the lead in fighting Islamic extremist terrorist organizations. 


Fighting terrorism has long been a goal of Russia's, mainly to combat the use of such extremism by the West to justify military invasions of sovereign nations, "conveniently" those that Russia considers allies or where Russia maintains influence. Moreover, Russia is aware of the West's attempt to implement the Brzezinski plan of "federalizing" Russia and, for that reason, it views combatting terrorism an extension of the national defense against the West's proxy armies.

Globalist think tank, Carnegie Endowment For International Peace published an article by Paul Stronski entitled, "Russia's Growing Footprint In Africa's Sahel Region," where Stronski laid out how Russia is capitalizing on Western failures in the Sahel in regards to international aid, diplomacy, exploitation, and terrorism. He writes,
So far, Russia has invested minimal time and funding in Africa. But it is still steadily making inroads in various countries. Its presence delivers good publicity that undermines Western attempts to isolate Russia. To be sure, Russia’s track record is mixed. It has had most success in internationally isolated and deeply troubled Sahelian states, and it has struggled to make inroads in several African democracies.

Nevertheless, Moscow has proven that it knows how to take advantage of governance shortfalls, instability, and security vacuums in Africa.

For example, after brokering an exemption to the UN Security Council’s embargo on supplying arms to the Central African Republic (CAR) in 2017, Moscow quickly sent weapons and military trainers from the Wagner Group to that country. Prior to the Russians’ arrival, CAR had been under France’s strong political and military influence for decades, although that relationship failed to help Bangui make significant progress in terms of stability, security, and economic development. Moscow exploited Paris’s decision to withdraw its forces from CAR in 2017 at a time when armed groups remained active and held large parts of territory. However, Wagner support since France’s pullout has helped consolidate the current CAR government and prevented rebel groups from extending their control. Wagner’s entry into CAR was clearly an opportunistic move by Russia to exploit France’s failures and the favorable context for a new security interlocutor. Today, Wagner is the Kremlin’s most important proxy in CAR; it provides security for the government, facilitates Russian political and diplomatic influence, and has gained access to lucrative mining assets. Despite Russia’s increased presence, large-scale violence continues in CAR and the humanitarian situation for vulnerable civilians remains dire.

Moscow is now taking advantage of a similar alignment of opportunities in the Sahel. It has embraced the military regimes in both Mali and Burkina Faso, providing them with security assistance, diplomatic backing, and information operations support. Russian military advisers arrived in Mali in late 2021 after the country’s second military coup. Primarily through the Wagner Group, Moscow has provided the country with a four-hundred-strong contingent of mercenaries to combat jihadist groups. In mid-2022, it delivered arms shipments. However, Mali’s security situation continues to deteriorate, and the insurgency is spreading.

The government in Mali does not officially recognize Wagner’s presence in the country, but growing evidence of Russian mercenary activities and atrocities has made clear that Wagner or a similar Russian group is active there. In spring 2022, Wagner and local military forces orchestrated an anti-terror operation in the country that killed about four hundred civilians. Civilian casualties in the country have risen disproportionately since Wagner’s arrival, following clear patterns of the group’s violence against local populations in CAR, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine.

U.S. officials have expressed concern that Wagner seeks to replicate this modus operandi in Burkina Faso, where anti-French and pro-Russian sentiment have grown over the past five months. With France having pulled its remaining troops from the country by late February 2023, Burkina Faso is left with a choice. Will Ouagadougou establish a privileged relationship with Russia in which the Wagner Group is the key component of Russian activities? The mercenary group is certainly counting on that, looking for new opportunities and incentives to promote its services. Today, the extent of Russian activities in Burkina Faso remains unclear, but Ghana’s president has expressed alarm that Wagner forces are operating in the country.

In addition, African, European, and U.S. officials have warned that the Wagner Group is expanding into Chad. Located in a strategic position in the center of the Sahel, Chad has relatively open borders with CAR, Libya, and Sudan, where Russian mercenaries are also active. Wagner has purportedly provided material and operational support to local rebels seeking to destabilize and possibly oust the government of Chad’s interim president, Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno.

U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Richard M. Mills recently raised concern that Russian mercenary activities stoke human suffering in the Sahel without addressing the true causes of instability: poor governance, broken institutions, years of displacement, and the proliferation of armed groups. He argued that greater international focus should be on mitigating the Sahel’s growing humanitarian catastrophe, addressing governance shortfalls, and preventing the spread of instability to other parts of the region or neighboring countries. Indeed, neighboring African and Western countries have yet to invest the political, economic, and military resources that might disrupt Russia’s toehold.

While aligning with military regimes in Africa hardly enhances Russia’s power over the long term, it is certainly useful for unnerving countries including the United States, France, and some of the Sahel’s neighbors. Wagner’s head, Yevgeny Prigozhin, presumably relishes the commercial benefits generated by the group’s mercenary activities in Africa. But the real gains that he stands to earn are tied to the unique role that Wagner is playing in Ukraine, which helps Prigozhin bolster his financial and political position at home amid infighting among Russian elites.
Despite Carnegie's being part of the western NGO apparatus, one can scarcely argue with Stronski's points. Indeed, the above selected quote explains the Russian position well - one that has recognized the geopolitical game and the importance of countering Western positioning on the geopolitical chessboard and an attempt to achieve a solid position for Russia for the purposes of stabilization as well as defensive or offensive economic or military actions. 


China also has deep interests Niger, as well as in Mali and Burkina Faso. In Niger, China is actually ranked as the second largest investor in the country after France, its former colonial power. "China's total foreign direct investment (FDI) into Niger stood at $2.68 billion as at the end of 2020, according to the U.S. Embassy in Niger." writes Andrew Hayley of Reuters.

In regards to China's oil interests, Hayley continues, 
Niger became an oil producer in 2011 when the Agadem oilfield, a joint venture between the government and PetroChina (601857.SS), started production.

PetroChina entered a production sharing agreement in 2008 with the Nigerien government to develop the field, located some 1,600km (1,000 miles) east of the capital Niamey, with estimated reserves of 650 million barrels.

As part of the deal, PetroChina invested in the construction of the SORAZ refinery, located 460km away in the southern city of Zinder, near the border with Nigeria. PetroChina holds a 60% stake in the refinery, which has a capacity of 20,000 barrels per day (bpd) and mostly supplies the Nigerien domestic fuel market. The remaining share is held by the Nigerien government.

In September 2019, PetroChina entered into another agreement with the Nigerien government to lay a 2,000-km (1,200 miles) pipeline between the Agadem field and the Beninese port city of Cotonou.

The pipeline investment is twinned with a second phase of development of the Agadem field. Taken together, total investment into the pipeline and second phase development is expected to reach $4 billion, according to China's Ministry of Commerce.

The pipeline, the longest of its kind in Africa, is planned to mitigate the security and logistical challenges of exporting crude from the troubled area, and designed to carry 90,000 barrels per day, according to China's Ministry of Commerce.

The project was 63% complete as of February this year, according to a PetroChina statement.

PetroChina did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment.

In May this year, state oil and gas major Sinopec (600028.SS) entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Nigerien government paving the way for further potential cooperation between Beijing and Niamey in oil and gas.
Like the United States, China is also interested in Niger's Uranium resources. Hayley continues,
In 2007, state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) (601985.SS) entered a joint venture with the Nigerien government to develop the Azelik uranium mine in the centre of the country.

CNNC owns 37.2% of the project, with a further 24.8% owned by Chinese investment entity ZXJOY Invest, according to a 2010 filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

The Nigerien government received a 650 million yuan ($90.93 million) loan from Chinese state-owned Eximbank to support development of the project in 2009.

The mine has estimated total reserves of 11,227 metric tons, and annual production capacity of 700 tons, according to the filing. The project was halted in 2015 due to unfavourable market conditions.

Niger, which has Africa's highest-grade uranium ores, produced 2,020 metric tons of uranium in 2022, about 5% of world mining output, according to the World Nuclear Association.
Although China's relationship with Burkina Faso has been inconsistent to say the least, with Burkina Faso at one point in 2018 breaking off its relations with China and reinstating them two days later, China nonetheless has continued to move toward influence in the African nation. It has not only become interested in "security" concerns but also in adding Burkina Faso to its Belt Road Initiative.

Likewise China's interests in Mali center around the potential for greater access to natural resources but also perhaps for a few more reasons. Not only does Mali provide China with access to rare and protected items like Rosewood lumber and other natural resources (wood, wood and charcoal, oil, seed, grain, fruits, cotton, ore slag, ash, and aluminum etc.), it also provides the burgeoning Chinese with greater influence at the United Nations, and combat experience.

This much was stated by the Netherlands Institute of International Relations (Clingendael) in a seminar entitled "China's Role In Peacekeeping and Counter Terrorism In Mali," in 2015. The organization's website stated,
Why has China sent a force protection unit to Mali? In general, explanations for Chinese involvement in Africa revolve around four main points: securing natural resources, facilitating export, gaining military experience and taking an increasingly responsible role as a global stakeholder. It is therefore interesting to note that Mali is of limited interest for China with regard to the former two motives. Participants of the Seminar pointed to the relatively low-risk potential for China to gain military experience and expand their existing sphere of influence in Africa under a UN mandate. Even though Mali has relatively little to offer China in terms of natural resources or export market, the MINUSMA mission in Mali can be seen as a cautious way of responding to the growing responsibilities of China in international affairs (Xi Jinping's “great power diplomacy”). The fact that China is currently the largest contributor to UN peacekeeping among the permanent members of the Security Council (SC) also reflects that China perceives the UN in general and the SC in particular as the guarantors of international order. There was some discussion during the Seminar regarding the question whether China would make use of Chinese troops deployed under UN command to protect its own interests in Africa even if these would clash with the UN mandate.
Western Interests

China and Russia are by no means the only countries that have interests in Niger. The economic factor of course exists every bit as much with the United States as it does with Russia and China. In fact, it should be noted that there are multiple American companies at work in Niger in both the mining and energy sectors. It should also be noted that the United States is a larger importer of Nigerien goods than China, despite the understood interest that China has in Niger.

Still, for the US, its official statements suggest that its interests lie mostly in "fighting terrorism" in West Africa and thus a justification for the deployment of American and French troops to Niger. However, the US is only fighting terrorist organizations that itself has helped create, fund, and direct in West Africa as well as across the globe. More on this later.

France, however, is the country whose interests are most solidly tied to Niger. Despite its stated aims of "fighting terrorism" in Niger (thus justifying its own troop deployment to the country), France depends on Niger for around 20% of the uranium it uses to fuel its extensive nuclear power system. This makes Niger a vitally important trade partner and one that has a direct effect on the French people and their daily lives.

Whose Interests Matter More?

With globalism tragically having become the order of the day in the world economy, suffice it to say that all three foreign powers (considering the United States and Europe as one entity - the "West") have important interests in Niger. But whose interests matter more? Russia and China both can only win with greater influence in Niger, whether it be military, economic, or political or, more likely, a combination of all three.

The clear loser in the Nigerien coup, of course, is the West. More specifically, France.

This is assuming that neither the United States or France can readjust their policies to promote their influence in a way that does not exploit or use their militaries to bully and frighten as opposed to incentivize foreign nations to trade with them. This, unfortunately, is a fair assumption given the history of both countries and Western imperialism after 9/11. For France at least, it seems that ship has sailed. Indeed, it seems there is little chance of it coming back around to port any time soon. 

It should be mentioned here, before going any further, however, that the interests who are the most important are those of the Nigerien people, something that goes largely unnoticed in both the mainstream and alternative medias as both sides jockey for their respective teams. Nigeriens have factored unsurprisingly little in this entire discussion and their wellbeing is rarely considered.

Regardless, the Russians and the Chinese have everything to gain in Niger and the West has significant possibility of loss in the situation as it currently stands. 

Who Was Behind The Coup? 

The "West" (United States, France, Europe, etc) - The alternative media, having been traumatized by repeated wars, coups, and destabilizations initiated by the United States or the Collective West, has no doubt sprung into action to point out that the West was behind the Nigerien coup. However, not one shred of credible evidence has been produced to back up that claim. Simply looking at the situation as it stands, neither the United States or especially France have anything to gain by removing the Nigerien government from power. What did Western powers gain by installing a presumed puppet regime that then demands their militaries leave the country? Why would the "people power" protesters supporting the coup be flying Russian flags? Why would the West overthrow a government and replace it with one who makes apparent overtures to Russia? None of these questions can be answered without extraordinary mental gymnastics. 

Russia - This claim has more validity than one might think at first, despite the fact that the mainstream media insinuates Russia's involvement. Russia is certainly the answer to the question of "Who Benefits?" when it applied to foreign powers and their interests. The obvious benefit to Russia for a Frenchless and pro-Russian Niger has lead some to believe that the Russians have learned a thing or two from watching the West over the last forty years. Indeed, it would be silly to believe that the Russians are not taking advantage of the knowledge provided by decades of observing the West overthrowing governments across the world and at least building the capability to project the same amount of influence and social disruption waged by the West for so many years. Indeed, it would be foolish of them not to.

We can add to the evidence that the coup took part during the time of Russia's Russia-Africa summit (where Wagner's Prighozin made an appearance) and reports coming from Western governments that "pro-Russian" Telegram groups were identifying Niger as a potential coup shortly after the coup that took place in Burkina Faso. But we must be careful to point out that identifying a coup is not the same as being behind one.

Both Russia and China benefit immensely from the ouster of France and the United States from Niger, even they don't stand to gain in any other way. Thus, there is at least the possibility of a motive on the part of the Russians.

However, there is no proof of Russia's involvement and, if it were behind the coup and the West was aware of it (as they likely would be), there is little doubt that it would have produced that evidence and used it to continue provoking a third world war with Russia before the ink even dried on the paper.

Niger - The third option is that the Nigerien coup is exactly what it appears to be - a coup by Niger's military leaders who either were afraid of being fired or who were simply sick of corruption, mismanagement, and continued impoverishment by a Western-friendly government. The complaint regarding an ineffectual fight against terrorism by the Nigerien government, France, and the US was one of the principal complaints of the coup leaders and the protests alike. Is it that hard to believe that a coup could be domestically incubated and launched without the approval of any of the world powers? At least at the time of the writing of this article, we cannot discount this possibility. 

On the issue of the "fight against terrorism" in Niger, however, one final word must be said.

The Reason Terrorism In The Sahel Just Won't Go Away - Foreign Interests

Terrorist groups operating in Western Africa, specifically the Sahel region, more specifically in the Mali, Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, continue to operate for one reason and one reason only - geopolitical interests.

By now, it is well known that Islamic Fundamentalist terror is largely controlled and directed by the West and Gulf States. For years, these terrorist groups have popped up when Western militaries needed justification for deployment to areas that otherwise would not have needed or supported Western military activity. The reason for Boko Haram's terror rampages are often simply that the West needs to terrorize the local populations into accepting foreign troops on their soil to "defend" them. However, it is more that the West wishes to deploy troops in areas of strategic and economic interest to protect those interests from both Russia and China. Essentially, three powers are competing for the exploitation of an already impoverished nation or nations. 

As I wrote in 2014,
Boko Haram is increasingly viewed as an readily-available scapegoat that will allow for the greater deployment of U.S. troops on the mineral and oil rich continent of Africa, gradually positioning an invading and occupying force on the ground using both Islamic terrorism and “Humanitarian Intervention” as an excuse.

Such a commitment should immediately remind observers of the justification of the deployment of military aircraft and special operations forces to Uganda under the cleverly manipulated pretense of hunting for the phantom and possibly dead Joseph Kony.
M62 Movement

It is worth noting that the new Nigerien government has recently released Abdoulaye Seydou, who leads an activist group which supports the current government. The group is called the M62 Movement. Seydou has been in jail for seven months due to a case involving an Nigerien army air strike on suspected jihadists in southern Niger.

"The Niamey Court of Appeal has cancelled the decision of the High Court... which had sentenced our comrade Abdoulaye Seydou to nine months in prison", said M62 secretary general Sanoussi Mahaman.

"We have always said that Abdoulaye Seydou's detention is an arbitrary decision... orchestrated from start to finish".

The M62 Movement, established around one year ago, is essentially a coalition of 10 NGOs who are opposed to the presence of the French military in Niger. It has been clear in its support of the coup leaders.

The Way Forward

Regardless of who was behind the Nigerien coup, there is only one sensible way of moving forward for the United States if it wants protect its interests and prevent itself from becoming overtaken and outmaneuvered by Russia and China.

The United States must abandon Globalism and "Free Trade" as an ideology. - The United States, having embraced Globalism and "Free Trade," has seen its economic standing become a shell of its former self, dependent on other nations, some of them hostile to it, for vital commodities and goods. The US must depart from this foolhardy adventure and return to "America First" policies, including Protective Tariffs and Fair Trade. 

The United States must abandon the use of Islamic terror as a method of war, international relations, or influence. - It is high time the United States became a genuine and reliable partner in the fight against terrorism, not a power who funds, arms, herds, and directs terrorist groups for geopolitical reasons. 

The US must negotiate with Niger on multiple fronts. 

Niger should receive:
  • The United States as a reliable and legitimate partner in the fight against terrorism. This will include temporary and limited operations (at the permission of Niger's government) against terror groups, intelligence, training and weaponry so that Nigerien forces can take over the fighting themselves within a matter of six months. 
  • Continued trade and investment on the part of the United States. 
  • Marshall Plan for Niger, helping to develop and implement clean water systems, roads, infrastructure, housing, technology, engineering, irrigation, and industry. Instead of direct financial contributions, the US will offer equipment and concrete goods as well as the expertise as needed for proper implementation.  
  • A recognition of the military leaders as the legitimate government of Niger. 
  • A negotiated end to the conflict between Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali and ECOWAS nations. There must be no "intervention." Sanctions must be removed.
United States should receive:
  • An agreement that Niger will continue to be a reliable partner in the fight against terrorism. 
  • An agreement that American companies can continue to operate pursuant to the laws of Niger.
  • An agreement that neither Russia or China will establish military installations in Niger. 
  • An agreement to prioritize preferred relations (economic, military, political) with the United States over non-African nations. 
  • Marshall Plan for Niger as described above will ensure that the money will not be spent, wasted, or distributed in a corrupt fashion. By providing goods made in the United States, such a program will also aid in rejuvenating American industry and domestic production while solidifying America as a partner that sponsors development and progress, not war or debt diplomacy, and thus ensures the US a one up on its competitors. 

At the end of the day, we simply do not know who was behind the coup in Niger. But we do know that both France and the West in general have lost a foothold there while the Russians and, presumably, the Chinese, have likely gained one. The new Nigerien government has yet to show its hand as to which direction it will lean in regards to international relations with any of these powers but one thing is for sure - the new government in Niamey will have its work cut out for it if its true goal is the best for the people of Niger. It will effectively be torn at all ends by the three competing superpowers for its resources and strategic significance.

Thus, while many may see Niger and just another African playground for foreign superpowers, it could very well determine which direction the pendulum of world power will swing.

Brandon Turbeville is a journalist and author. He is the author of fourteen books, including Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President, and Resisting The Empire: The Plan To Destroy Syria And How The Future Of The World Depends On The Outcome as The War Continues Vol. 1 and 2. Turbeville has published over 2500 articles on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, civil liberties and, most notably, geopolitics and the Syrian crisis. He has also released a book of poetry, Dance, Amputee. Brandon also hosted a radio show for three years which was called Truth on The Tracks.  His website is BrandonTurbeville.com. You can contact him through his website. 

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