The New World War III ‘We’ Have Been Waiting For

A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III taking off from the base in 2021
A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III taking off from the base in 2021 Wikipedia
Forget the Russia-Ukraine War; here is the new proxy, ‘World War III’ in Niger.

I am African, and here is what I have known since I came to this world:

War is profitable, peace is not

But isn’t this the beauty of living? Well, let’s forget the Russia-Ukraine war for a second. The attention is shifting. When I earlier said that attention is shifting to this African continent, it seems I wasn’t wrong. It seems the Western Imperialists need more money from their taxpayers to bring war to Africa.

Well, Niger is potentially becoming the new kitty for a new war

  • 2020: COVID-19 War
  • 2021: U.S. Military Withdrawal from Afghanistan
  • 2022: Russia-Ukraine War
  • 2024: Niger War

We will call the latter the Franco-Niger War or the US-Niger War. Or does US-Russia sound better? It seems the world needs to be busy with something. Busy that the defence ministry has become the new profitable scheme. I would have actually considered this a career shift early enough. However, where there is a will, there is a war.

Well, how did this even start, or what is going on in Niger?

On July 26, 2023, a coup d’état occurred in Niger, and democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger was ousted and detained by the presidential guard. The coup was planned and executed by the Niger military junta, with the guard commander leading the ousting. The presidential guard refused to release the president, and the army gave him an ultimatum. Presidential Guard Commander General Abdourahamane Tchiani proclaimed himself the leader of a new military junta. Read More here. President Mohamed Bazoum detained by the presidential guard

United States Interests and involvement in Niger

The US Defence Department has stated that the military in Junta has suspended all military flights in and out of the Agadez in Central Niger. It is the fifth-largest city in the country and has over 100,000 residents. The suspended military flights are in and out of Air Base 201. It is officially known as Base Aerienne 201 This airbase is a massive base for drone operations. It was done by the 409th Air Expeditionary Group of the U.S. Air Force and cost upwards of $100 Million.

It is considered the largest construction project LCP to be completed by the Air Force. The project commenced on April 19, 2016. Reconnaissance (ISR) Flights by MQ-9 “Reaper” Drones began at the Base in 2019 and are considered extremely important to Counterterrorism Operations in Africa. This also includes intelligence and surveillance.

An aerial view of Air Base 201 in Niger. Source, Twitter.

ECOWAS and AU Threaten Military Involvement

African nations under the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) umbrella have imposed sanctions and even threatened military action. The West African leaders, with support from the AU, threatened this action against the Niger Junta, which had seized power from President Mohammed Bazoum, a legitimately elected president, in a coup. The bloc stated that unless the elected president was reinstated within a week, they would likely intervene and engage in a military action.

This demand was issued after a crisis summit in Nigeria, echoing the calls of both France and the United States of America. The two countries stated that they will cut aid and military ties with Niger unless Mohamed Bazoum is restored to power.

Events in Niger

On Sunday, many civilian supporters burned French flags outside the French Embassy in the capital, Niamey. They were also praising the Russian flags, and some of them even wore clothes themed on the flag. They called for the withdrawal of French troops, and this prompted President Emmanuel Macron of France to issue a stern warning on the matter. He threatened that there would be a military intervention in cases where France's interests were compromised. The response stated that it would be ‘immediate and uncompromising’.

However, the coup has been significant in shifting the political affiliations of the West African bloc and will continue to do so in the International Community. It is also seen by many Nigeriens as the end of the neo-colonialism imposed on their country by the French colonial masters. This is in response to how France exploits the country to benefit itself. Apparently, Niger is the leading producer of uranium in France. It produces a third of all the Uranium. There are also some reports that the new leadership of the African country is pro-Russian.

These events are seen by many civilians as the time to partner with other parties who are interested in working with people who have similar goals for radical change. That, in short, is Russia. I recently covered a story on Russia’s relations with Africans and how they could potentially shift the political dynamics of this region. Below is a link to the story.

Niger neighbouring countries in support of the coup

Many neighbouring countries have taken the initiative to support the Niger Junta. Some include Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Mali. Some sources also give insight into Algeria's support, but we still have to wait for developments on that scope. Burkina Faso President Ibrahim Traore says

Mr. Macron, any military intervention in Niger will be considered a war against all of us… This is not a warning, but rather an action that you will see with your own eyes

Traore, who claims to be following in the footsteps of the late Thomas Sankara, has been accused of supporting Niger and being against Western ‘neo-colonialism’. He has indicated increasing diplomatic relations with Russia and the need for them to have a mutual relationship. He has become a symbol for African leaders to deviate from Western political affiliations.

President of Guinea, Mamady Doumbouya, via Aljazeera, says

If anyone dares invade Niger due to the Military takeover, coup d’état, we will declare it as a war against them and we will send our military to defend the country

As it seems, President Mohamed Bazoum is unlikely to be reinstated in power. In the case of such a scenario, we expect ECOWAS to intervene with the support of US and French troops. However, with reports of the new leadership of Niger being pro-Russian, we could see them being supported by the Russian military. With the presence of Wagner troops in Western and Central Africa, Russian involvement in the event of any military intervention could escalate the conflict.

Algeria has issued a statement saying that they expect the rule of law to be followed in ensuring that the leadership in Niger is restored. However, they have firmly warned that any military intervention would make them respond effectively. Below is the statement:

Algeria has had contact with Russia on their military defence partnership. General Shoigu says,

We gave a clear signal to the whole world that Russia and Algeria are determined to pursue an independent foreign policy and defend their national interests, despite unprecedented pressure from the West
We are interested in Algeria’s leading position in strengthening regional security and stability in northern Africa. For its part, the Russian Defense Ministry is ready to help increase the combat capabilities of the Algerian Armed Forces

The events in Niger could potentially lead to one of the biggest wars in Africa. The war in Ukraine could shift and head to Niger, Africa.

Thanks for reading

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This article was updated on September 13, 2023
Osborn Baya

Osborn Baya

Political, Conflicts and Security Analyst. Providing valuable insights on international dynamics.

Welcome to my blog! As an avid follower of international politics, I am thrilled to embark on this journey with you. In an era defined by rapidly changing global dynamics, it is crucial to stay informed and engage in insightful discussions to navigate the complex world of international relations. I am here to offer valuable insights and expert commentary, shedding light on the intricate web of interactions that shape our global stage.