Type Here to Get Search Results !

Niger rejects rules-based order


The July 26 coup in the West African state of Niger and the Russia-Africa summit held the following day in St. Petersburg are part of the context of the multipolarity of the world order. Seemingly unrelated, these events nonetheless reflect the mood of our age of transformation.

First, the big picture: the Russia-hosted Africa summit on July 27-28 represents a major challenge for the West, which has instinctively sought to downplay the event after failing to make pressure against the meeting between sovereign African countries and Russian leaders. 49 African countries sent their delegations to St. Petersburg, and 17 heads of state visited Russia in person to discuss political, humanitarian and economic issues. For the host country, which is in the midst of war, this is a remarkable diplomatic success.

The summit was an essentially political event. Its leitmotif was the juxtaposition of Russia's longstanding support for Africans resisting imperialism and the predatory nature of Western neocolonialism. This works perfectly for today's Russia, which does not have a colonial history of exploiting and plundering Africa.

While every now and then colonial-era skeletons emerge from Western closets, dating back to the infamous African slave trade, Russia taps into the Soviet legacy of being on the “right side of history,” ranging even so far as to resurrect the full name of the Patrice Lumumba Peoples' Friendship Russian University in Moscow. 

But it wasn't just politics. Summit deliberations on Russia-Africa partnership helping the continent achieve “food sovereignty”, alternatives to the grain deal, new logistics corridors for Russian food and fertilizers, strengthening trade cooperation , economic, cultural, educational, scientific and security, Africa's potential membership of the international North-South transport corridor, Russia's participation in African infrastructure projects, the action plan of the Russia-Africa partnership forum by 2026, testify to quantifiable results. 

Let's come to Niger. The latest developments in Niger underline the leitmotif of the Russia-Africa summit. Russia's prognosis on the African crisis is confirmed – the continuing ravages of Western imperialism. This is apparent from reports of Russian flags seen during protests in Niamey, the capital of Niger.

The rebels who took power were quick to denounce Niger's military-technical cooperation agreements with France, which was followed by a demand for the withdrawal of French troops within 30 days. For its part, France declaredfirmly and resolutely"in favor of foreign military intervention"to quell the coup attempt". The French authorities have made it clear that they have no plans to withdraw their armed contingent of 1500 people who are in Niger "at the request of the legitimate authorities of the country on the basis of signed agreements».

France's position is not surprising: Paris does not want to lose its position in the Sahel region and its source of cheap resources, in particular uranium. But France miscalculated in thinking that the coup lacked the support of the Nigerien military or a social base, and that all that was needed to roll it back was a limited show of force that would compel the elite presidential guard to enter into direct negotiations with France.  

France and the United States coordinate their actions with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). ECOWAS first launched a few saber blows, but it calmed down. His intervention deadline has passed. ECOWAS simply lacks a mechanism to quickly assemble troops and coordinate hostilities, and Nigeria, its great power, already has a lot to do with internal security. Nigerian public opinion fears a backlash – Niger is a large country which has a porous border of 1500 kilometers with Nigeria. An unspoken truth is that Nigeria has little interest in bolstering the French military presence in Niger or in siding with France, which is hugely unpopular across the Sahel. 

The mother of all surprises is that the military coup enjoys a wave of popular support. Under these conditions, it is very likely that French troops will be forced to leave Niger, its former colony. Niger is a victim of neocolonial exploitation. Under the guise of fighting terrorism, which is, ironically, a spin-off from the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya led by none other than France in the Sahel region, France has ruthlessly exploited the mineral resources of the Niger. 

A renowned Nigerian poet and literary critic, Professor Osundare, wrote last week: “Examine the cause, course and symptoms of the current resurgence of military coups in West Africa. Find a cure for this pandemic. Most importantly, find a cure for the scourge of political and socio-economic injustices responsible for the inevitability of its recurrence. Remember the brutal anarchy that currently reigns in Libya and the innumerable repercussions of the destabilization of this once flourishing country on the West African region».

The only regional state that can afford an effective military intervention in Niger is Algeria. But Algeria has no experience in conducting such operations on a regional scale and has no intention of deviating from its consistent policy of non-interference in the internal politics of a sovereign country. Algeria has warned against any outside military intervention in Niger. Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said:External military intervention in Niger is a direct threat to Algeria and we totally and categorically reject it…Problems must be resolved peacefully».  

Basically, without a doubt, the coup d'etat in the Republic of Niger boils down to a struggle between Nigeriens and the colonial powers. Certainly, the growing trend of multipolarity in the world order encourages African countries to rid themselves of neocolonialism. It's a thing. On the other hand, the great powers are forced to negotiate rather than dictate.

Interestingly, Washington has shown relative restraint. The “values” advocated by President Biden are a far cry from the diktat of “rules-based order” – despite the US reportedly having three military bases in Niger. In the multipolar context, African countries are gaining space to negotiate. Russian activism will stimulate this process. China also has economic interests in Niger.

Notably, coup leader Abdourahamane Tchiani said that "the French have no objective reason to leave Nigerindicating that a fair and equitable relationship is possible. Russia was cautious in saying that the main task right now was "prevent a further deterioration of the situation in the country". Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said:We consider it urgent to organize a national dialogue to restore civil peace, ensure law and order…we believe that the threat of the use of force against a sovereign State will not help to defuse tensions and resolve the situation in the country».

It is clear that Niamey will not give in to pressure from foreigners. "The Nigerien armed forces and all our defense and security forces, with the unwavering support of our people, are ready to defend the integrity of our territory.a junta representative said in a statement. A delegation from Niamey traveled to Mali to ask Wagner's Russian-affiliated fighters to join the fight in the event of a Western-backed intervention.

We should not expect a quick resolution of the crisis around Niger. Niger is a key state in the fight against the jihadist network and is strategically and structurally linked to neighboring Mali. Moreover, the situation in the Sahel region is worsening. This has profound implications for the crisis of the state in West Africa as a whole.

American exceptionalism is not a universal panacea for existing ills. The Pentagon has helped train at least one of the coup leaders in Niger – and those in Mali and Burkina Faso, who have pledged to come to Niger's defense. Yet, visiting Niamey on Monday, Acting US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland lso deplored that the putschists refused to allow him to meet ousted President Mohamed Bazoum and that they were unresponsive to US calls for a return of the country to civilian rule.

Nuland's mission was to dissuade the putschists from engaging with the Wagner group, but she was not certain to succeed. Nuland was not allowed to meet General Tchiani.

Post a Comment

* Please Don't Spam Here. All the Comments are Reviewed by Admin.

Top Post Ad

Below Post Ad

Cloud hosting starting at $49.95,24/7 premium technical support, cPanel,WHM, SSH access