The Resumption Of US Military Activity In Niger Puts France On The Strategic Backfoot (Andrew Korybko)

Andrew Korybko

France is forced to react to the latest trends of patriotic military coups and the US’ newfound pragmatic response to the most recent one in Niger, the latter of which saw the resumption of its military activity there after Nuland struck a deal with the junta. It can either try to destabilize the region out of desperation or begin pragmatically adapting to everything through much more reasonable responses like the one that it just showed after the Gabonese coup a few weeks ago.

The nearly past two months since late July’s patriotic military coup in Niger have been characterized by uncertainty as the junta braced for a French-backed Nigerian-led ECOWAS invasion while the West braced for the complete eradication of its influence from that geostrategic state. Neither has thus far happened, with a mild mix of these two scenarios unfolding instead. Regional pressure is still being put on the junta as French influence recedes, but there hasn’t been any war and US influence remains.

The top US Air Force commander for Europe and Africa revealed earlier this week that his country has recently resumed its intelligence and surveillance missions in Niger as a result of negotiations with its military authorities after having largely stopped them right after this summer’s coup. This development shouldn’t come as a surprise for those who paid attention to Acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s trip to Niamey in early August. Here are three relevant analyses to bring others up to speed:

* “Victoria Nuland Revealed Some Interesting Details About Her Discussions In Niger

* “France Reportedly Thinks That The US Backstabbed It During Nuland’s Trip To Niger

* “Why’s US Media Talking About Nigerien General Moussa Barmou All Of A Sudden?

To oversimplify the detailed insight shared in those pieces, the US has flexibly adapted to the latest multipolar trends sweeping across West Africa by pragmatically exploring a deal with the junta whereby the threatened invasion will be called off in exchange for retaining the US’ two drone bases. The new military authorities can then gradually squeeze French influence out of their country, but the US won’t allow them to solicit Russia’s “Democratic Security” services through Wagner or other such groups.

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