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Niger will remain the “weakest link” to comprehensive military-economic integration within the Sahelian Alliance so long as it continues hosting the US two drone bases there. Its interim authorities aren’t “Trojan Horses” like some might wildly speculate, but are simply ensuring their country’s national interests as they sincerely understand them to be given the very difficult circumstances that they found themselves in after ECOWAS threatened to invade.
Axar.az reports this was stated by American political expert Andrew Korybko.
The interim military-led governments of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger signed the Liptako-Gourma Charter in Bamako on Saturday that provides for mutual security and closer economic cooperation. This development will reshape regional military-strategic dynamics since it represents the creation of a sub-bloc within ECOWAS among three of the four countries whose participation in the latter was suspended in recent years. Guinea isn’t part of this “Sahelian Alliance” but it could possibly join in the future.
The most immediate effect is that ECOWAS will now think twice before launching a French-backed Nigerian-led invasion of Niger since that would instantly lead to a wider war with the Sahelian Alliance. In the event that this worst-case scenario is deterred, then those three newly allied countries will be able to focus more on helping one another deal with unconventional security threats. They’re each fighting jihadists, while Mali is also struggling to deal with a renewed Tuareg insurgency.
About that, rebels recently seized a northern town and are poised to make further gains in violation of the 2015 peace agreement that each side accuses the other of violating. Russia is Mali’s preferred security partner nowadays so Moscow is expected to assist Bamako in managing this crisis. Interim Burkinabe President Ibrahim Traore confirmed last month that he discussed military cooperation with a visiting Russian delegation so their strategic alliance might expand in that direction too.
In that case, the Kremlin would end up playing a multinational anti-terrorist role in West Africa and thus de facto replace France’s traditional responsibilities in the region, albeit as a truly equal partner of those two as opposed to the hegemon-proxy relationship that characterized Paris’ ties with them. Two out of the Sahelian Alliance’s members would therefore become Russia’s military allies, but this sub-bloc as a whole might not formally partner with Moscow due to the US’ continued military presence in Niger.
2023.09.18 / 11:12