Three African countries, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali have signed a so-called security pact in response to repeated threats of “aggression” against Niger. Niger’s new leadership has stated that it has agreed to a defense and security alliance that would allow the armies of Burkina Faso and Mali to enter the country and help it “in case of aggression.” The development came after General Abdourahamane Tchiani, President of the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP), ordered the French Ambassador to leave the country within 48 hours, explaining that the decision was a response to threatening actions by Paris that were directed against Niger’s interests.
It is worth bearing in mind that, just like the recent coups in neighboring Burkina Faso and Mali, the military’s rise to power in Niger took place against the backdrop of a growing wave of anti-French sentiment. The new military leadership, mindful of the country’s interests, has directly accused the former colonial power of interfering in Niger’s internal affairs and plundering its rich natural resources. In general terms, this historic decision is entirely consistent with the overall trend of contemporary events, and is clearly a slap in the face for the neo-colonial forces of the West and NATO, which are trying, with their ageing and avaricious hands, to cling on the enormous privileges they enjoyed in the countries that were formerly dependent on them.
As announced by Oumarou Ibrahim Sidi, Niger’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Foreign Ministers of Burkina Faso and Mali have reiterated their nations’ solidarity with Niger in the face of the “illegal and inhumane sanctions” imposed by the Western-backed Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). The documents signed by the three countries state that they agree to provide mutual assistance in defense and security matters in the event of aggression or terrorist attacks, and have decided to establish a consultation mechanism that will allow them to coordinate their actions to address the many situations and challenges that they face. The directives issued by the three countries authorize the armed of Burkina Faso and the Mali Defense Forces to deploy troops in Niger in the event of any kind of aggression. In the case of Niger, the main concern is aggressive and hostile actions by entities and countries – including both African international organizations and Niger’s neighbors – which are controlled by France and the United States.
For example, the leaders of the ECOWAS (a 15-member regional grouping) and UEMOA member states came under pressure from Paris to impose economic and financial sanctions on Niger after the new military government had taken power. The sanctions have caused Niger, a landlocked country, to experience severe reductions in its electricity supply. Nigeria, responsible for providing 70 percent of Niger’s electricity supply, has cut off the supply in compliance with the ECOWAS directives on sanctions. In other words, France and the US, not wanting to be seen to be involved in Niger’s crisis, are trying to stifle the wave of nationalism in Niger by acting through intermediaries.
Nevertheless, under the pretext of fighting extremist militant groups, France has deployed about 1,500 troops in the country, which is of strategic importance as one of the world’s largest producers of uranium and also has significant oil reserves. The French, and also American troops, are based in Niger under an agreement signed by the former, pro-French, President Mohamed Bazoum. However, evidence suggests that France has further destabilized the country, leading to the overthrow of Bazoum by his angry presidential guards, a move that appears to have broad support among the local population. Abdoulaye Seydou, leader of the M62 Movement, a civil society group opposing the French military presence in Niger, said his group would not allow France to remain for “one second” in the country after the deadline to withdraw its troops.
Clearly, this new alliance and the common stance of the three countries is a fresh, and quite tangible manifestation of the old policy of pan-Africanism, and of the new concept of a multipolar world, as proposed and implemented in the political life of the 21st century by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and as exemplified by the powerful BRICS group, which is gaining strength day by day. In addition, the new African alliance is an example of firm opposition to the West, as led by the United States, which is being forced to retreat in all corners of the world and, nostalgic for the outmoded policy of unipolarity, is trying by all means, including, above all, the use of military force, to regain its position and plunder the natural resources and other wealth of other countries.
The above alliance of the three Sahel countries also represents a shining example of the politics of national interest and is a great source of inspiration for other African countries. The formalization of this military alliance between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, in which all three countries unequivocally choose the path of true independence and sovereignty in accordance with the principles of pan-Africanism and unipolarity, has been very favorably received by many Africans and advocates for a multipolar international community, whose numbers have increased dramatically in recent years.
All the recent developments confirm the justice of the policy promoted by the Russian President, which is aimed at the creation of a new multipolar world order, despite the entrenched resistance of Western reactionary forces. Africa is a continent rich in history, traditions and strategic resources, with a young, dynamic and motivated population, and it is in a better position than ever to pursue a policy of multipolarity, throw of the centuries-old shackles of colonialism and neocolonialism and strike a final blow against the continent’s enemies. Those enemies, in spite of their usual hypocritical and self-righteous smiles, will no longer be able to hide their true emotion – rage at their own powerlessness.
Who will win in this fierce contest – the forces of evil or the forces that seek to build a new world for the benefit of all the peoples of this beautiful planet? It is worth remembering that Niger, like the other free and sovereign nations of Africa, is not alone in its struggle and can count on the support of the major forces promoting an international multipolar order. First and foremost, it can rely on Russia and China, which strongly support the just struggle of the African nations for self-determination, just as they did back in 1960, often referred to as the Year of Africa. The recent visits by Minister Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, the Russian Deputy Minister of Defense, to a number of African countries, including Mali and Burkina Faso, support this thesis. It is worth reminding readers that a trilateral meeting in Mali’s capital Bamako took place between Sadio Camara and Salifou Modi, the defense ministers of Mali and Niger, and Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, on the eve of the announcement of the formalization of the military alliance between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.
As for Niger, which continues to be treated with extreme arrogance and outright contempt by the French regime and to be subjected to pressure from the West, its interim leader, Abdourahamane Tchiani, recently received a high-level Chinese delegation. Liu Yuxi, Special Representative of the People’s Republic of China for African Affairs, confirmed his full satisfaction following his meeting with the Abdourahamane Tchiani and other senior representatives of that country. The high-ranking Chinese diplomat took part in an in-depth discussion on relations between China and Niger, which have a long history and are very fruitful, which he found “very useful.” He also stated that China intends to further develop this cooperation and deepen the friendship between the Chinese people and the people of Niger and the other African nations.
It can be said with full confidence that the creation of this new alliance of the three African countries is an undeniable manifestation of autonomy and a step towards a multipolar world order. The now faltering unipolar Western world, which has brought so much grief and suffering to peoples around the world, is irrevocably becoming a thing of the past, and the “partnerships” imposed on those peoples by force are now unequivocally over. Africa is and will remain one of the main poles of the multipolar world. And the choices that Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger appear to be making today are undoubtedly a great additional source of inspiration and a shining example for both Africa and the rest of the world.
Viktor Mikhin, corresponding member of RANS, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook“.