What Does the Coup in Niger Mean to the Global Community?

(TheConservativeTimes.org) – The Western African nation of Niger is now under junta control following the ousting of President Bazoum. The Sahel region, a geographical south-central latitude of Northern Africa nicknamed the ‘coup belt,’ is further destabilized with the overthrow of an eighth government in the past three years, which has drawn the condemnation of Niger by the international community. The political instability could lead to military conflict between Niger and other West African states apart of the Ecowas union of states.

While seemingly a problem specific to Africa, the coup also impacts the global community. Niger seeks to distance itself from France and draw closer to Russia and the Wagner Russian state-funded private-military group. Niger coup leaders allegedly have asked for help from Wagner, which is present in Africa with thousands of fighters in the Central African Republic and Niger’s neighboring state of Mali.

The dynamic is like that of Mali and Burkina Faso, which have both pivoted toward Russia since their coups. Niger had its anti-French sentiment rise from the idea that French colonialism is still present through economic means in their country. The anger towards France, its former colonizer, has gathered further support behind the junta coup, as Nigerians believe that the coup has their interests in mind and is standing against imperialism. Supporters of the junta have also held placards in support of Russia.

While U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that neither Russia nor Wagner initiated the Niger coup, the potential for a relationship between the two states can affect the presence of Russian influence during the ongoing war between Western-backed Ukraine and Russia. Wagner has also faced accusations of human rights abuses in Ukraine and Africa, which makes the international community concerned about the course Niger is now on.

While Niger is the most recent country to do so, more African nations could distance themselves distance from the West and cozy up to Russia or China, which concerns Western officials. The coup in Niger shows a continuing trend throughout the world of democratic backsliding and the increasing strength of autocracies.

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