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Niger as the preamble to BRICS Summit

The military government in Niger is still standing, and the West African states have delayed, stalled and strung along the USA and EU powers that are demanding, away from cameras, a military counter-coup to restore Western democratic rule in Africa.

This situation remains unresolved, but some prudent hesitation by Nigerian governing elites appears to be improving the prospects for a diplomatic resolution of the crisis.

The situation is complex, and one should guard against projecting simple stories of pro/anti Western protest, or national liberation rhetoric. There appears to be a strong sentiment among some African commentators that the events in Niger are the beginning of a second phase of decolonisation; but I will need to do more study before commenting on that further.

I did read a good piece by Simplicius the Thinker on Substack, “Change is in the Air in Africa”. He presented the situation in Niger as one decisive step in a broad advance by African elites against the Western rule-based, resource-extraction international order in Africa. He wrote:

Africa has had enough, and is self-assembling along geopolitical lines. The U.S. stooges of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) seek to keep the status quo going while rival blocs are ready to strip the Western powers of their self-proclaimed birthright to the African land—and its resources—once and for all.

However, I think the most valuable part of Simplicius’ piece is his recommendation of a Substack, Sharp Focus on Africa by Chima Okezue. He emphasises in his excellent updates that the largest, decisive state, Nigeria, is internally divided on the issue of military intervention. They are hesitant to do the dirty work for America, and there is significant support for Niger and opposition to military intervention within the leading state of ECOWAS. While the USA might succeed in twisting the arms of the smaller West African member states, its diplomats are less likely to succeed in Nigeria.

The timing of events is important, and may also make sense of the delays and apparent procrastination by ECOWAS states on military intervention. The BRICS Summit in South Africa is being held next week. Staging a Western counter-coup seems unlikely at this time because it would sacrifice African lives for American and French prestige, during the week when the new power grouping of the multipolar world meets on the African continent. Such action would seem likely to provoke embarrassing UN Security Council and General Assembly debates. So that gives the military government in Niger and the African elite forces opposed to Western proxy coups at least another two weeks to consolidate facts on the ground. That may be all they need to secure their fotthold on power, or so thinks Alexander Mercouris at The Duran.

I will likely comment on the BRICS summit next week. Some commentators are expecting “epochal” decisions from this summit.  For example, Simplicius commented that:

“the upcoming BRICS summit will be the perfect barometer by which to gauge how much of this influence remains over the West’s subordinates…. if the results are even more promising than expected, it could be the quintessential unbolting of the lid on Pandora’s box, which would initiate the final stage of the coup de grâce against the centuries-old Western imperialist hegemonic order.”

Diplomatic summits have a way of being less decisive than expected, and disappointing the vaulting ambitions of strategic thinkers. Communiques are often paper veils over muddy, stained compromises. We will see next week. In any case, this BRICS summit may yet go down in history as a decisive event, because the optics forced the West to tarry, and so prevent a disastrous war in the service of American and French glory in West Africa.

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