On Niger’s Coup and the situation in West Africa

By Ezra Otieno

The coup in Niger on July 26th, which was sponsored by the army, deposed President Bazoum and installed General Abdourahamane Tiani as the country’s new leader, is the catalyst for this escalation. Bazoum and his party, the ” Nigerian Party for Democracy and Socialism “, which ruled the country since 2011, had become extremely unpopular due to corruption, failure to tackle poverty, cruel oppression of protests and oppositional forces, and his dependent function as a lackey of French and US imperialism.

The pro-Western coalition ECOWAS, along with the European Union and the United States, have placed sanctions on Niger and threatened military action if the new junta does not immediately return ousted President Mohamed Bazoum. When hundreds of protesters marched to the French embassy to condemn any military action by the former colonial ruler, President Macron warned that he “will not tolerate any attack against France and its interests.” “If anyone attacks French nationals, the army, diplomats, or French interests, they are going to see France react in a swift and uncompromising manner,” Paris added. In anticipation of such military action, Paris stated today that French people will be evacuated from Niger “very soon.”

Niger was a French colony until 1960 when it emerged as a capitalist semi-colony ruled by France alongside other Western countries. It is one of the world’s poorest nations. It does, however, contain some of the world’s greatest uranium deposits, as well as other raw minerals held by French firms. European officials are keen to keep Niger under their authority since France and other EU countries rely on it for 15-30% of their uranium imports, which are critical to Europe’s nuclear energy sector. Furthermore, Niger is the last nation in Northern and Central Africa where an enormous amount of Western soldiers are stationed under the guise of the imperialist War on Terror.

Additionally, the US army operates a massive drone station in Agadez’s northern area from where it launches its deadly assassination missions throughout the Sahel region. In summary, “losing” Niger would be a major loss for European and American imperialism, as they have already lost control of Mali and Burkina Faso in the previous three years.

For all of these factors, France, the EU, and the US are keen to maintain control over Niger. They aim to push the new authorities to restore their puppet Bazoum or to reach an arrangement with General Tiani to maintain his predecessor’s pro-Western stance. If these preparations fail within the next few days, Western imperialists want to intervene militarily with the support of their foot soldiers in the Nigeria-dominated ECOWAS bloc.

Western politicians claim that their attack on Niger’s new junta is driven by a desire for “democracy.” Nothing is further from the truth! Only a few weeks ago, EU officials approved a €1 billion “anti-migration” agreement with Tunisia, an authoritarian country headed by Kais Saied, who seized power in a coup in July 2021. General Sisi of Egypt, who took power in a military coup on July 3, 2013, is another significant friend of the EU and the US. In the weeks that followed, he violently suppressed enormous rallies, most notably the horrifying Rabaa massacre on 14 August, in which the army massacred 2,600 protestors in a single day! Other “strategic allies” of Western countries, such as absolutist monarchs, might be included in this list.

In addition, everyone in Africa is fully aware of the various intrigues and coups orchestrated by the Elysee in Paris! No, the only reason EU and US politicians oppose the new Niger junta is fear of losing control of the nation.

We oppose ECOWAS, EU, and US imperialism’s sanctions and military threats! We demand that sanctions be lifted immediately. In the event of an ECOWAS military intervention (which would be either directly or indirectly backed by Western powers), we demand the armed defense of Niger and the defeat of the pro-imperialist invaders. Similarly, socialists call for the withdrawal of US and European soldiers from Niger.

Socialists must reject all imperialist Great Powers, both East and West. Similarly, replacing one capitalist authoritarian system with another is not the path forward. Workers and impoverished peasants in Niger must organize themselves into workers’ councils. Such mass organs should serve as the foundation for a workers’ and poor peasant administration that presses forward to expropriate multinational businesses and deliver land to people who labor on it. This can start a path for total decolonization.

Our defense of Niger against foreign attack should not be confused with any backing for the new junta. Socialists condemn the coup; it is a fight between two totally regressive wings of the Nigerien ruling class. It is a continuation of the ruling class move following comparable coups in Mali, Sudan, and Burkina Faso. While we reject all types of dictatorship, we do not endorse the Bazoum administration. As a result, we urge socialist revolutionaries, progressives, and activists to preserve free speech, including rallies and demonstrations. We urge genuine socialists who support such an anti-imperialist platform to band together and form a revolutionary party, both domestically and globally.