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Niger, jihadism thrives on Western clichés and sovereignty

“General Tiani is not Che Guevara,” said Adbel Fatau Musah, speaking of the military junta holding Niger’s legitimate president, Mohamed Bazoum, hostage, trying to oust him on charges of high treason.

Musah is the Commissioner for political affairs, peace and security in Cedeao, the Economic Community of West Africa: he clarified that the negotiation option remains open, but there is consensus on the operation to restore the constitutional order. A date has been set, and there will be no need for further meetings.

CONT only Cape Verde and the coup d’état participated, showing solidarity with the Nigerian military by sending a couple of outdated military planes to Niamey. Very small, in front of the air forces of Nigeria, Ghana or the Ivory Coast.

Of course, there is the opposition of the opposition forces, the perplexity of the African Union, the fear of a destabilization on a wider scale.

But nothing less than the political legitimacy of all is at stake. There are currently seven coups in three years in a regional political space (Cedeao) based on a pact of mutual intervention in defense of democracy, with precedents in The Gambia and Liberia.

If Tiani is not Guevara, General Barmou, long a point of reference for the US and the West against terrorism, is certainly not Thomas Sankara. Neither other senior Nigerian officials, dissatisfied with the civilian political leadership, finally reached an agreement for the puttch, aligning themselves politically with Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea.

rare that the propaganda in social media beats the drum, celebrating the military junta as the incarnation of the popular anti-colonial will, the questions fade on the origin of the power of the new putchis caste, nurtured by a dozen years of Western security assistance, in amid the boom in military spending, coup attempts and silent scandals.

The analytical plot of the anti-French explosion is struggling to explain the initiative of two (English-speaking) giants in Cedeao like Nigeria and Ghana. But fans of the junta rarely escape the colonial habit of representing Africa as a pawn, which ends up reducing its capacity for initiative.

For the army, the media, businessmen and politicians, Africa remains the continent where clichés are recycled. Knowledge of qualifications counts up to a certain point, as does action in the field or familiarity with language: this is stated by Achille Mbembe, a point of reference for postcolonial African thought.

In a recent interview on Young AfricaMbembe recognizes how “the endless critique of Françafrique” cannot dispense us with regard to the need to develop a serious reflection on the past and the future of Africa: in the absence of this reflection, the criticism of the role of France is reduced to something. “the mask of a scholar of terrible poverty”.

THEY PASS now three weeks since the military Niamey, which put Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world, under the pressure of sanctions and threats of intervention. While Bazoum appealed to the international community, the junta did not back down, playing cat and mouse with the negotiating delegation.

Loyalist ministers refuse to talk about “transition”, while the military talks about the transition taking place, they have appointed their own front executive and even appointed a human rights contact person.

The two fronts present internal rivalries and fractures, which could offer opportunities for mediation, but remain only elements of further uncertainty. So, close after close, a crisis that could have remained regional (the Nigerians sent the Sultan of Sokoto, the traditional authority respected in the border region), was pushed into the trap of a wider geopolitical game, complete with contact with the Wagner . Russia, conspiracy theories involving the Gulf states and trepidation about the choices of the West, whose military presence in Niger is deeply rooted, primarily France and the USA.

IF THE EVENTS will not precipitate, it is possible that the United States, whose new ambassador will arrive in Niamey, will seek a modus vivendi with the junta, even if France retreats elsewhere. It is possible that, like Germany, Italy also, which participates in three military missions in the country, will try to stay, as it has already done in Burkina Faso.

The jihadists of the Islamic State and Al Qaida, who are fighting for resources and territory, are celebrating seeing in the clash that, with the participation of the coastal countries, the best conditions for more roots in the Sahel and for expansion in the Gulf. Guinea. Daesh has intensified its attacks along the border lines, while the Qaidists of Jnim are currently besieging the symbolic city of Timbuktu.

The establishment of new military junta in West Africa has not led to the success of the counter-insurgency strategy. Arriving on the ground in Russia the Wagners left a trail of massacres and abuses of civilians, the blood of the jihadists appears to be contained.

nonetheless, the support for the coup plotters now has a transnational dimension and acolytes even among sovereignists and ‘anti-imperialists’ in Europe: it shows submission to France and the West, corruption in companions and authoritarian impulses of African democracies.

IF PROCLAIMED expression of the most genuine will of the people and vector of moral integrity. It explains the success of the jihadists and the alleged double-dealing of the West and the laxity of the political class chosen to seize resources. The military cites the success of past anti-Islamist campaigns, omitting the poor results of the present.

Finally, if pressed, they demand that the terrorists be exterminated. Meanwhile the jihadists are advancing towards the cities. Tomorrow, there are no guarantees related to a Sudanese result, and the military and paramilitary fight each other to loot the country.

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