People's Review Weekly

•The Niger Coup: Threatens the Whole Sahel Region •Donald Trump: World Public Enemy No. 1


Niger Country Profile Facts

Capital: Niamey

Area: 1,267,000 sq km Population: 24.4 million Languages: Arabic, French, 10 tribal languages Life expectancy: 62 years (women), 60 years (men) Niger is a vast, arid state on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert and has experience­d a series of coups and political instabilit­y in the decades following independen­ce from French colonialis­m in 1960.

Niger is a key part of the African region known as the Sahel – a belt of land that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea.

Today, the country has been strongly impacted by climate change with frequent droughts and subsequent poverty.

It is hopeful of increased oil exploratio­n and gold mining to help modernize its economy. It is a significan­t producer of uranium.

Mohamed Bazoum became president in April 2021 in Niger’s first democratic transfer of power since independen­ce but was deposed in an army-led coup in July 2023.

Now his captors have suspended the country’s constituti­on and installed Gen. Abdourahma­ne Tchiani as head of state. Western nations had looked to Niger as a bulwark against further disorder and spreading Russian influence in the region. But that turned out to be short-lived. (BBC). It hosts French and US military bases and before the coup was seen as a key partner in the fight against the Islamist insurgenci­es in the region.

The new junta has said it is halting all military cooperatio­n agreements with France and that agreements on the presence of French troops would be cancelled. Importance of Niger Geographic­ally, it is the largest country in West Africa.

Politicall­y, it had been seen as an example of relative democratic stability in recent years, while its neighbours Mali and Burkina Faso had already succumbed to military coups. Strategica­lly, it hosts French and US military bases and is seen as a key partner in the fight against Islamist militants.

In fact, the US State Department describes Niger as “important as a linchpin for stability in the Sahel” and “a reliable counter-terrorism partner” against various Islamist groups linked to either the Islamic State or al-Qaeda.

Economical­ly, it is rich in uranium – producing 7 percent of all global supplies. The radioactiv­e metal plays an outsize role in the country’s economy. Unfortunat­ely, Niger’s people consistent­ly rank as having the lowest standards of living anywhere in the world.

Putsch Leader

Gen. Tchiani had been in charge of the presidenti­al since 2011. He was promoted to the rank of general in 2018 by former president Issoufou.

However, he has been frequently mentioned in the media in Niger over the years for his alleged role in a 2015 coup attempt. Tchiani said the army overthrew Bazoum because of deteriorat­ing bad governance in the country and dissatisfa­ction with his handling of national security.

[Most probably, personal ambitions are at play]. Repercussi­ons

The July 2023 military coup in Niger has plunged the Sahel into further uncertaint­y after similar takeovers in neighbouri­ng Burkina Faso and Mali. An insurgency that broke out in northern Mali in 2012 has worsened over the years, spreading violence to Burkina Faso, Niger and, in recent years, countries close to the Gulf of Guinea.

Mali’s decision to deploy Russia’s Wagner Group mercenarie­s triggered France’s troop and diplomatic withdrawal from the country, and the winding down of operations of the 13,000-strong UN peace-keeping mission MINUSMA.

Bazoum had welcomed those forces to Niamey as part of a renewed strategy to buffer Niger and other West African states the destabiliz­ing effects of violence by Islamic State and al-Qaeda militants. His deposition by Gen. Tchiani threatens to terminate these partnershi­ps.

Media Landscape

Niger’s underdevel­oped media sector reflects the country’s poverty and low levels of literacy, which constrain media developmen­t and limit access to some platforms and outlets.

The threat from jihadhists is a further challenge to the media sector and those who work in it.

Radio is a key news source and local privately-owned stations operate alongside the national state broadcaste­r.


Niger’s democratic­ally elected President Mohamed Bazoum was toppled by the very people who were supposed to protect and uphold his office – the presidenti­al guards who stood watch outside his palace! (BBC) The Sahel region is a turbulent and unstable part of the world and democracy is currently in retreat here.

Violent Islamist groups have gained ground by controllin­g territory and conducting attacks in the tri-junction between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. The mutinous soldiers in Niger cited this worsening security situation as the main reason for their rebellion, although Niger was handling the Islamist insurgenci­es far better than Mali or Burkina Faso before their own coups. The growing unrest has led some to believe that only harsh military suppressio­n can solve the problem, hence the popular support that the coup seems to enjoy in some quarters.

However, it is far from clear that the military junta will have greater success in tackling the insurgents than the recently ousted government. After all, the coups in neighbouri­ng countries have not made much difference at all (BBC).

Internatio­nal Reaction France, the former colonial power, has been uncompromi­sing in its condemnati­on of the military takeover.

The US has called for the president’s immediate release.

The African Union (AU), the West African regional bloc ECOWAS, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations have all spoken out against the putsch.

The Ivory Coast president said he considered the detention of Bazoum and his entire family “a terrorist act”.

The only voice in favour has been that of the (former) leader of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has reportedly described it as a triumph. Machinatio­ns of Russia & the Wagner Group

As well as jihadist groups, the Wagner mercenarie­s, who are also active elsewhere in the region, have been perceived as exercising a malign influence in Niger.

Some supporters of the coup have been seen waving the Russian flag alongside that of Niger. Now there are concerns that Niger’s new leadership could move away from its Western allies and closer to Russia. If it does, it would follow the example of Burkina Faso and Mali which have pivoted towards Moscow since their own military coups.



President Bazoum’s government had been a partner to European countries trying to stop the flow of migrants across the Mediterran­ean Sea, agreeing to take back hundreds of migrants He had also cracked down on human trafficker­s in what had been a key transit point between other countries in West Africa and those further

Global north. That may now come to an end.

Possible Interventi­on

The regional bloc ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) has ordered the activation of a standby force for possible use against the new junta, saying all options including military action were on the table (Reuters, Aug. 11).

It was not clear how big the force would be, if it would actually invade, and which countries would contribute. However, military interventi­on in Niger would be a risky affair – from domestic, regional and internatio­nal standpoint­s (AFP/Agence France Presse, Aug. 14). America’s 2024 Presidenti­al Elections Crucial for World Developmen­t

One can now say that the respective campaigns of the US Republican and Democratic parties for the 2024 Presidenti­al elections have already started. On the Democratic side, incumbent President Joe Biden – in spite of his advanced age of 80 which is of great concern even to his own supporters – has decided to run again. He has again decided that Vice President Kamala Harris will be his running mate.

On the Republican side, there many candidates of various shapes and sizes [figurative­ly speaking!] but the pack is led by former president Donald J. Trump.

For most non-Americans, it is unbelievab­le and astounding that such a most terrible person like Trump could be leading the Republican band.

The image of reasonable, law-abiding and peaceful Americans has really taken a hit.

How could 70 percent of Republican­s support such a philandere­r, misogynist, zenophobe, racist and compulsive liar? In addition, as a sitting president he has completely betrayed his own country.

By any yardstick, he should be debarred from holding any public or private office, let alone such a high office as the ‘President of the United States’ (POTUS) -- of great import to the rest of the world.

The United States does find itself at a crossroads. Its main institutio­ns are all under severe attack from various sides for various reasons.

The Republican Party – the party of Abraham Lincoln – has failed on all fronts.

Donald Trump Charged For the first time in US history, America is set to put on trial a former president for trying to destroy its democratic system because, as the

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