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None Of Nigeria’s Objective National Interests Are Served By Invading Niger
Although it’s everyone’s right to think whatever they want about the merits of Niger’s regime change, there are no plausible grounds for considering it a threat to Nigeria’s objective national interests. To the contrary, the aforesaid would arguably be advanced if the junta succeeds in improving the economic and security situation.
West African military chiefs met in the Nigerian capital of Abuja on Wednesday to discuss ECOWAS’ potential NATO-backed invasion of Niger, but they stressed that this scenario is supposedly only a “last resort”. Their rhetoric aside, the reality is that “West Africa Is Gearing Up For A Regional War” between NATO-backed ECOWAS and the informally Russian-backed de facto Burkinabe-Malian federation, which recently said that an invasion of Niger would be regarded as an act of war against them both.
None of Nigeria’s objective national interests are served by invading Niger. Rather, only NATO’s subjective interests would be advanced in that scenario, and particularly France’s. This Western European Great Power is struggling to retain its neocolonial influence in the countries that it used to rule. Niger’s patriotic military coup risks leading to France’s expulsion from its last regional bastion after Mali and Burkina Faso kicked its troops out of their countries.
Moreover, France is largely dependent on Nigerien uranium for fueling its nuclear power plants that generate the majority of its electricity. Taken together, this major NATO member has self-interested military, economic, and strategic reasons for tasking Nigeria with leading an ECOWAS invasion of that country aimed at reinstalling its ousted leader on the pretext of defending democracy. In pursuit of that goal, the Mainstream Media (MSM) is spinning the narrative that Nigeria would gain from this as well.
Voice of America, The Economist, and the Associated Press all recently claimed that Niger is now a global epicenter of terrorism, which isn’t true but is intended to mislead the public into thinking that Nigeria’s potentially impending invasion of that country is supposedly in the world’s interests. This information warfare narrative asks those who fall for it to assume that everyone has hitherto ignored this allegedly imminent threat to them all, which isn’t rational to imagine.
Additionally, some of those MSM outlets are also implying that peaceful pro-democracy protesters will suddenly become so radicalized by only a week of military rule that they’ll transform en masse into violent extremists, but this also doesn’t make any sense. Even so, these false claims are being repeated ad nauseum in an attempt to convince average people that there’s some degree of credence to them by dint of so many “experts” and officials warning about these dangers, though it’s all just a psy-op.
The public isn’t being properly informed of the Nigerien junta’s justification for seizing power. They declared that the prior regime was removed due to its failure to improve their country’s economic and security conditions. Additionally, not enough attention is being given to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre words that “We have not seen indications of Russian or Wagner involvement” nor to National Security Council spokesman John Kirby’s confirmation of her assessment a few days later.
Instead, people are being made to think that some power-hungry military officials overthrew one of the Global South’s democratic icons with Russian support in order to spread terrorism across the world. This artificially manufactured impression misleads folks into thinking that Nigeria’s potentially impending invasion would be a service to the international community, but Al Jazeera and Politico suggested that newly inaugurated President Bola Tinubu has ulterior motives that have nothing to do with terrorism.
Reading between the lines of their skeptical pieces on this subject, it becomes apparent that he might do the West’s geopolitical bidding in his region in a desperate attempt to distract his compatriots from growing economic and political problems at home. As leading American officials have publicly confirmed, there’s no reason to suspect that Russia or Wagner were behind the Nigerien coup, plus its interim military government declared that it wants to ramp up its antiterrorist operations.
Although it’s everyone’s right to think whatever they want about the merits of this latest regime change, there are no plausible grounds for considering it a threat to Nigeria’s objective national interests. To the contrary, the aforesaid would arguably be advanced if the junta succeeds in improving the economic and security situation. That’s regrettably going to be very difficult, however, after Nigeria just cut off electricity to Niger in compliance with ECOWAS’ sanctions against its northern neighbor.
Only one in seven people there had access to this amenity before that happened, but now even fewer will enjoy its benefits since Nigeria used to provide a whopping 70% of Niger’s electricity. Making matters even worse for its people is Benin’s closure of the border. Niger used to depend on imports from the Atlantic port of Cotonou so now it’s basically cut off from most of the world. Reopening its borders with friendly neighbors won’t help much since those trade routes are threatened by terrorists.
Niger is already the world’s third poorest country but its people’s plight is expected to worsen even further due to that bloc’s sanctions, which could soon create a major socio-economic crisis with very serious humanitarian implications for the region. That cynically seems to be the point, however, since Nigeria might exploit large-scale refugee flows as the national security pretext for invading Niger even though ECOWAS’ crippling sanctions that Abuja itself is leading would be entirely responsible for this.
If Nigeria would have given the Nigerien junta a chance to make good on its promise to improve their country’s economic and security conditions, then it wouldn’t have anything to worry about, which reveals that Tinubu’s policies actually threaten his country’s objective national interests. He likely won’t relent on them though since his country’s Western-aligned military-political elite are intoxicated with the praise that the MSM is heaping on their country for doing that bloc’s bidding in Niger and won’t let him.
A self-fulfilling prophecy is therefore in the process of transpiring whereby Niger is indeed becoming a national security threat to Nigeria but solely due to the latter’s Western-dictated policies catalyzing a humanitarian crisis there that threatens to spill over its borders and prompt an invasion on that basis. Other pretexts will include the discredited anti-Russian and terrorist ones alongside the “rules-based order’s” mantra of defending democracy to complement the core humanitarian intervention claim.
The public should thus expect more fearmongering about all of the above ahead of ECOWAS’ ultimatum for installing the ousted Nigerien leader expiring this Sunday. Although the bloc’s military chiefs stressed that armed force will only be a “last resort”, the humanitarian crisis that their group’s policies are creating could soon lead to this being a fait accompli if a lot of people start flooding into Nigeria. The MSM will then likely spin this to claim that they’re “fleeing their Russian-backed and pro-terrorist junta”.
The narrative stage would therefore be set for justifying the NATO-backed Nigerian-led ECOWAS invasion of Niger on multiple pretexts connected with the “rules-based order’s” worldview, thus enabling the aggressors to reverse the roles of victim and villain to misrepresent themselves as “heroes”. This is nothing but a psy-op though since the only threats that could conceivably emanate from Niger are entirely due to foreign meddling in its internal affairs and would disappear if this interference stopped.