Niger: France and Russia Struggle for Influence in the Major Uranium Producer – African ‘Democracies’ Threaten Military Action, and the ‘Coup Association’ Nations Vow To Defend Nigerian Neighbors

By Paul Serran – The Gateway Pundit

Many people’s first reaction upon hearing of the coup d’état in Niger was of complete lack of surprise and of interest.

But once you realize the larger geopolitical forces at play, you realize that it’s not ‘just another African coup’, but rather is a part of a tectonic shift in the region that may have planetary repercussions.

New Nigerian leader, General Abdourahamane Tchiani.

The rebelling military arrested and deposed Niger president Mohamed Bazoum, and proceeded to install General Abdourahamane Tchiani as the new leader. Reactions came from everywhere, specially from the former colonial power France.

Thousands of people flocked to the streets in Niger to protest against France and West African threats. Chaos erupted outside French Embassy, and footage shows door set ablaze by the furious protesters.

If you add to the tension the reality that Niger has major gold and uranium reserves, and also the fact that two military blocks have already lined up for conflict over the situation in the country in just a few days, you realize that – whatever our preconceptions about Africa – this is one of the biggest stories around.

Reuters reported:

“West African nations imposed sanctions and threatened force on Sunday if Niger’s coup leaders fail to reinstate ousted President Mohammed Bazoum within a week, while supporters of the junta attacked the French embassy in Niamey.

The 15-nation ECOWAS bloc’s response to the Sahel region’s seventh coup of recent years came as crowds in Niger’s capital Niamey burned French flags and stoned the former colonial power’s mission, drawing tear gas from police.”

Leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) called for constitutional order to be restored, warning of reprisals if not, threatening that the measures to be undertaken may include the use of force.

“ECOWAS and the eight-member West African Economic and Monetary Union said that with immediate effect borders with Niger would be closed, commercial flights banned, financial transactions halted, national assets frozen and aid ended.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken supported ECOWAS’s action.

“‘We join ECOWAS and regional leaders in calling for the immediate release of President Mohamed Bazoum and his family and the restoration of all state functions to the legitimate, democratically-elected government’, said Blinken in a statement.”

The immediate effect of the coup was the turning off the uranium and gold faucet for the French.

Al Mayadeen reported:

“With immediate effect, the Republic of Niger under the leadership of General Abdourahamane Tchiani, and supported by the people of the Republic, announced the suspension of the export of uranium and gold to France on Sunday.

[…] Wazobia Reporters, a Nigerien news website, reported on protestor proclaiming “We have uranium, diamonds, gold, oil, and we live like slaves? We don’t need the French to keep us safe.”

Uranium price took a jump.

Uranium production in Niger occurs mostly through a French majority-owned company called Orano. While the French and Europeans were quick to deny that they would have trouble with lack of uranium exports, there was an immediate huge spike in the price of the commodity, signaling that it may indeed be the case.

Similar sanctions were imposed by ECOWAS on Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea following coups in those countries in the past three years. And now, these countries – called ‘The Coup Association’ by detractors online – all support Niger.

Leaders from Guiana, Burkina Faso and Mali vowed to defend Niger in case of attack.

Sputnik reported:

“Any military intervention against Niger would mean a declaration of war on Burkina Faso and Mali, the Burkina Faso and Mali transitional governments said in a joint statement.

‘The interim governments of Burkina Faso and Mali… warn that any military intervention against Niger will amount to a declaration of war against Burkina Faso and Mali’, according to the statement.”

Burkina Faso and Mali also said they might withdraw from ECOWAS if there is military intervention against Niger.

“The transitional governments of Burkina Faso and Mali… warn that any military intervention against Niger could result in the withdrawal of Burkina Faso and Mali from ECOWAS and the adoption of legitimate defense measures in support of the Armed Forces and people of Niger,” the Burkinabe and Malian interim governments said in the statement.”

While a confrontation between West African Countries and the coalition around Niger would be bad enough, there is also the very real danger that US and France may find themselves dragged into it.

France has 1,500 soldiers in Niger, and a base with attack drones and fighter jets, while the US has 1,100 troops and two drone bases.

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