August 16, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10755

Russian Political Commentator Yusin: 'Niger Is Becoming A Geopolitical Nightmare For The West'

August 16, 2023
Russia, Africa | Special Dispatch No. 10755

An article published August 8, 2023 by Russian political commentator Maxim Yusin in the Russian media outlet Kommersant focused on the recent military coup in Niger. In the article, titled "Niger Is Becoming A Geopolitical Nightmare For The West," Yusin stated that a "direct intervention by French and American contingents based in Niger would be a geopolitical disaster for the West."

In a phone call with Interim President of Mali Assimi Goita, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that a settlement in Niger should be achieved "exclusively via peaceful political and diplomatic means."[1]

Soon after the coup, media reported that thousands of people had marched in the Niger capital Niamey waving Russian flags and shouting insults against France, the country's former colonial power.[2]

(Source: Sputnik. Na-Allah Haroun)

Below is Yusin's article:[3]

'There Is Simply No One To Implement The Threat Of A Military Invasion'

"Niger authorities have closed the airspace over the country, causing problems for airlines flying over Africa, foreign media reported. Now, some flights have become 3.5 hours longer. European countries and the U.S. have already evacuated their citizens from the rebellious republic. The Chinese authorities have also issued a recommendation to leave Niger...

"The seven-day ultimatum issued by West African states to the putschists in Niger has expired, and the promised forceful action has not yet begun. [This is] even though a week ago it seemed that the intentions of the ECOWAS regional grouping were more than serious, and that the fate of the generals and colonels who seized power in Niamey hung in the balance.

"However, over the past seven days, the situation has changed, and not for the better for the West and its African allies. First, the putschists in Niger have categorically refused to make concessions [consisting of the] release of detained President Mohamed Bazoum and returning him to power.

"Second, an entire regional coalition has begun to form in support of them. Mali and Burkina Faso, also ruled by their [respective] militaries, declared that any forceful action against Niger would be considered an act of war. There were even reports that Russian private military companies had arrived in Niamey from Mali to help the generals of Niger repel a foreign invasion.

"Thirdly, the regional heavyweight, Algeria, which shares a nearly 1,000-kilometer border with Niger, strongly opposed the intervention plans – and this country's opinion must be reckoned with by both the West and its African neighbors.

"Fourth, Nigeria, the only ECOWAS member with a strong army and that is theoretically capable of carrying out an operation against the putschists in Niamey, is not eager to enter the conflict. And the Senate, the upper house of the Nigerian parliament, has explicitly forbidden the president from doing so.

"Fifth, another militarily powerful state in the region – Chad, bordering Niger, albeit not part of ECOWAS – has declared that it would not participate in any military action. This was bad news first of all for France, [Niger's] former colonizer. In the past, it was the Chadian army, hardened by constant conflicts and very effective in the desert war theater, which often helped Paris solve delicate problems. The latest example was the operation against Islamic extremists in Mali a decade ago, when the Chadian expeditionary corps, with French air support, ensured the defeat of the jihadists. At that time, in order to reach Mali, the Chadian troops made an impressive march all the way through the territory of Niger. But this time, the N'Djamena authorities are clearly in no hurry to repeat their former exploits and come to Paris' aid.

"As a result, there is simply no one to implement the threat of a military invasion.

'The Situation Is Becoming A Stalemate'

"France's most reliable allies in the region, Senegal and Côte d'Ivoire, do not have enough forces to reach Niamey and overthrow the putschists there. And yet it is the Africans who need to do this.

Direct intervention by French and American contingents based in Niger would be a geopolitical disaster for the West. It would be a prime example of the neglectful, colonial approach to Africa that Paris has often deployed in the past and which President Macron has promised to abandon once and for all.

"In sum, the situation is becoming a stalemate. The ultimatum has expired, the military junta is feeling increasingly confident [and] organizing mass actions in its favor, and the West and its allies in the region are limiting themselves to words of condemnation and sanctions.

"But as the events of recent years (and not only in Africa) have shown, sanctions are far from always and immediately achieving the desired result."


[1], August 15, 2023.

[2], July 30, 2023.

[3], August 9, 2023.

Share this Report: