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The Nigerien Coup Could Be A Game-Changer In The New Cold War
It’s too early to tell whether the Nigerien junta is multipolar like its neighbors or if it’ll be co-opted by the West to function as a new face for their neo-imperialist system there, but it would be a game-changer in the New Cold War’s African front if this group took a page from its Malian and Burkinabe counterparts.
West Africa’s Latest Regime Change
Members of the Nigerien military claimed on Wednesday to have deposed President Bazoum, which could be a game-changer in the New Cold War. They said that the deteriorating socio-economic and security situations forced them to act, a curfew will be imposed, and the borders will be closed for the time being. Additionally, the junta promised to respect the human rights of those officials who they overthrew and warned foreign powers not to meddle in their country’s affairs.
This regime change closely resembles those in neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso in 2021 and 2022 respectively where members of the military seized power on similar pretexts. Those two’s new leaders weren’t Western puppets like their predecessors but firm believers in multipolarity, which resulted in them standing up to France and comprehensively expanding strategic ties with Russia. Here are some background briefings to bring unaware readers up to speed about recent developments in this region:
* 24 July 2022: “Al Qaeda’s Malian Branch Just Declared War On Russia”
* 2 August 2022: “Mali Reminded Macron That France Has Lost Its Hegemony Over West Africa”
* 4 August 2022: “The US Delusionally Denied That It’s Competing With Russia In Africa”
* 10 August 2022: “The Interim Malian President’s Call With Putin Is Actually A Pretty Big Deal”
* 11 August 2022: “Africa’s Role In The New Cold War”
* 6 October 2022: “Why’s The West So Spooked By Possible Burkinabe-Russian Military Cooperation?”
* 20 October 2022: “Axios Exposed France’s Infowar Against Russia In Africa”
* 7 November 2022: “Analyzing President Putin’s Vision Of Russian-African Relations”
* 22 November 2022: “Mali’s Banning Of All French-Funded NGOs Will Defend Its Democracy From Paris’ Meddling”
* 5 December 2022: “Is France Funneling Ukrainian Arms To West African Terrorists?”
* 31 December 2022: “The Top Five Geostrategic Developments In Africa Last Year”
* 15 February 2023: “Russia’s Newfound Appeal To African Countries Is Actually Quite Easy To Explain”
In short, Wagner helps Russia’s African partners enhance their “Democratic Security”, which refers to the wide range of counter-Hybrid Warfare tactics and strategies to protect their national models of democracy from related (mostly Western-emanating) threats. This in turn strengthens their sovereignty and thus accelerates Africa’s rise as an independent pole in the emerging Multipolar World Order. As could be expected, these processes are being fiercely opposed by France and the US.
Wagner’s Role & Chad’s Importance
Those two are jointly waging proxy wars against Russia in Mali and the Central African Republic (CAR) since these states function as their respective regions’ multipolar cores. The West fears that Niger and Chad, its last strongholds in West and Central Africa correspondingly, could follow in neighboring Mali’s and the CAR’s footsteps to create a multipolar corridor across a broad swath of the continent. Before going any further, the reader should be aware that Wagner still remains in the Kremlin’s good graces:
* 27 June: “Prigozhin Was The West’s ‘Useful Idiot’”
Basically, Wagner has become so indispensable to advancing Russia’s “Democratic Security”-driven strategy in Africa that it would be counterproductive to disband it, hence the need to retain the group’s effectiveness amidst its ongoing restructuring after late June’s failed coup attempt. Having clarified this state of affairs for those observers who might have been misled about its present relationship with the Kremlin and future role in Africa, it’s time to update them about Chad:
To sum it up, Chad is a regional military powerhouse that used to do France’s bidding but has impressively recalibrated its policies over the past year. The interim government woke up to the West’s destabilization plots and refused to fall for their information warfare narratives fearmongering about Russia’s newfound role in neighboring countries. Chad’s geostrategic trajectory accelerates multipolar processes in Central Africa and therefore turns Niger into the last de facto Western stronghold.
The insight shared up until this point was required for the reader to properly understand the potentially game-changing significance of the Nigerien coup in the New Cold War. To briefly review, Russia is accelerating multipolar processes in Africa through Wagner’s “Democratic Security” operations, with Mali and the CAR functioning as the associated cores in their respective regions. France and the US oppose these developments, which is why they’re jointly waging proxy wars against Russia there.
Those two fear that Niger and Chad will follow in their corresponding neighbor’s footsteps, yet the latter has already somewhat done so despite not experiencing a coup as proven by the moves that its interim government began to make over the past year to strengthen its sovereignty. This leaves Niger as the last reliable bastion of Western influence in this broad swath of Africa, yet its traditional role can no longer be taken for granted if the junta emulates the Malian and Burkinabe precedents.
Setting The Stage For A Game-Changer
This country is disproportionately important to France since 62.6% of the latter’s electricity was generated from nuclear power last year, at least one-third of which was fueled by Nigerien uranium. These statistics mean that this West African country’s prime export accounted for roughly 20% of all French electricity in 2022, which is expected to increase even further due to more uranium deals and Paris’ commitment to the “green agenda”.
Furthermore, France recently set up a regional “partnership HQ” in Niger after its forces were expelled from Mali and Burkina Faso, which reinforced its long-standing role there. Over the past half-decade, Italy and Germany deployed troops to this country too to help them stem illegal immigration to the EU, while the US built a major drone base on the pretext of fighting terrorism. All the while, Niger remains one of the poorest places on earth, and terrorist attacks have been picking up pace over the past year.
This context resembles the situations in pre-coup Mali and Burkina Faso, thus extending credence to the explanation put forth by the Nigerien military for its latest coup regarding their desire to reverse the deteriorating socio-economic and security situations. To that end, the region’s newest junta might emulate its two western neighbors by cracking down on foreign media and “NGO” meddling, kicking out French (and possibly all other foreign) troops, and requesting Russia’s “Democratic Security” assistance.
Unlike Mali and Burkina Faso, however, Niger has strategic natural resources that it could consider nationalizing in order to immediately obtain the wealth required to improve its largely impoverished people’s plight. Any moves in that direction would be likely be regarded by France as a potential national security threat, however, so the junta might either be reluctant to do this or could tread cautiously and not seriously deliberate this course of action until after it completes the abovementioned steps.
It’s too early to tell whether the Nigerien junta is multipolar like its neighbors or if it’ll be co-opted by the West to function as a new face for their neo-imperialist system there, but it would be a game-changer in the New Cold War’s African front if this group took a page from its Malian and Burkinabe counterparts. In that event, the West would lose its last stronghold in this broader region, which would unprecedentedly accelerate Africa’s rise as an independent pole in the emerging Multipolar World Order.