By Marc Ramsingh
On July 26, 2023, General Abdourahmane Tchiani, a commander of Nigers presidential guard, began a coup to overthrow the sitting government and placed President Mohamed Bazoum under military-enforced house arrest. This is widely considered a very unpopular move that drew criticism from most of Europe, including France and the Economic Community of West African states, who declared a request to the fraudulent government.
A region plagued with turmoil
Even before the current coup, Niger was in turmoil. The country has found itself to be the battleground for several fights against major terrorist groups such as Isis and Al Qaeda straining the land and its resources. Such turmoil in Africa is arguably not unusual; however, Niger’s resiliency to hold its democratic government for as long as it has been is an achievement. Several other former African nations’ democratically elected governments were previously toppled via Russian and Chinese funding, so it is very likely that the current coup against the government of Niger can be tied to Chinese & Russian investment — Chinese infrastructure investment is already present in the country as several countries in the region fight for power.
It is also very likely that the military leadership of Niger had never fully bought into the idea of democracy to begin with, so the threat of a coup was always present in the country. The democratic government of Niger could never fully establish itself as it should.
Failures of organizations built to stimulate economic growth in West Africa, such as The Economic Community of West African states and the African Union (both of which Niger has membership), failed to take action and deny appeasement at its source. This allowed several other Russian & Chinese-backed coups against countries in the region to have success, including Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea.
NATO’s next steps
The future of Niger and Africa will involve NATO countries, including the United States — and its adversaries.
In the position of wanting expansion and influence across the globe over the previous decade, China has been funding several infrastructure projects in Africa via loans and gifts to countries (including Niger) allowing China to gain traction in Africa. The developing continent of Africa is key in its future competition with the U.S.
Russian influence and the Wagner group are also tied to the coup in Niger, both of which provided the Junta group with resources before the eventual coup.
The Economic Community of West African States failed to give the fraudulent government of Niger the option of five days to reinstate the current president and government or military intervention. This is a significant move by ECOWAS, even in its failure, given its lack of intervention in the past. The United States has also said that they support the democracy-defending actions of the ECOWAS.
The countries of Burkina Faso and Mali-two countries that have been up old by anti-democratic forces-have pledged to defend the opposing Junta forces.
Given that the President of Niger has asked for the United States’ support in restoring its democracy there will likely be more welcomed American influence in the region sooner than expected. The United States already has operations & plans to stimulate Africa economically, including providing security to certain countries that are fighting terrorist groups all across the continent.
Given that the current coup did not back down to the ECOWAS deadline, there will likely be a push for military intervention by ECOWAS and its allies against the fraudulent government backed by the United States and France.
Photo Courtesy // Stringer/AFP/Getty Images