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Home » Why is Algeria Rejecting Military Intervention in Niger?

Why is Algeria Rejecting Military Intervention in Niger?

by Virendra Naidu
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A week-long deadline given by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to the military council in Niger to return President Mohamed Bazoum to power expired on Sunday.

The bloc said if the deadline is not met ECOWAS will intervene militarily.

Nigeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast, and Benin have all expressed their willingness to send troops into Niger if ECOWAS endorses the decision to reinstate Bazoum.

But Niger’s neighbors Burkina Faso and Mali, both run by military rulers, declared their strong backing for the junta that deposed Bazoum, splitting from the ECOWAS position. This is weakening the probability of military intervention.

A group of soldiers calling themselves the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Country on May 26 detained Bazoum due to the “deteriorating security situation and bad governance,” they said in a statement.

Declaring himself head of a transitional government, Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani vowed not to give into threats to end the coup.

Bazoum was elected in 2021 in Niger’s first democratic power transition since it gained independence from French colonial rule in 1960.

With the expiration of the deadline, Algeria affirmed its categorical rejection of any military intervention in its southern neighbor Niger, and at the same time called for a return to constitutional legitimacy, expressing its willingness to help, without revealing any future efforts to restore political stability in Niger.

Algeria and Niger share a common border that extends for about 1,000 kilometers (some 622 miles), along with human and historical ties.

Algeria is one of the most concerned neighboring countries regarding a possible change in Niger’s politics or security stability. Niger is known for its rich natural resources while its economy remains in a poor condition.

So far, Algeria has not communicated with the putschists in Niger, nor has it taken any measures such as closing borders or suspending flights and commercial transactions.

Neighboring and strategic country

Niger also lies within the strategic depth of Algeria, given the human, historical, economic and security ties since ancient times.

The two countries share the bond of kinship and blood, which is embodied by the Tuareg population extending between them and some Arab tribes from which President Bazoum descends.

For decades, they have been linked to a barter trade that has developed in recent years into free zone projects.

On the security level, the two countries have agreements, including an agreement to conduct joint patrols to secure borders from 2021.

Algeria considers the Sahel region a hotbed of hybrid security crises, including terrorism, organized crime, and irregular migration. Therefore, it rejects all exacerbating factors that place additional burdens on the Algerian army in securing the borders.

So far, there have been no indications that what is happening in Niger conflicts with the interests of Algeria.

This is in stark contrast to France, which evacuated its nationals, at a time when local media spoke of the coup leaders’ intentions to suspend uranium exports to France.

Principal diplomatic position

Speaking to Anadolu, Hassan Qassemi, a political analyst, said that Algeria’s declared position on the coup in Niger “is compatible with international and constitutional legitimacy… Algeria has sound diplomatic positions and cannot support any coup.”

“The so-called domino effect strikes the areas of traditional influence of France in Africa, starting with Mali, then Burkina Faso, and now Niger, the last bastion of France present in the form of neo-colonialism,” he said.

Qassemi stressed that “the importance of Niger to Algeria prompts the latter to closely monitor the situation, as any negative developments in the situation will be directly reflected on it.”

He explained that hundreds of thousands of Nigeriens go to Algeria in the framework of irregular migration, and with the situation slipping toward violence, the crisis will be greater, as Niger has 26 million people, of whom 13 million are below the poverty line, and any military intervention will lead to famine and the chaotic proliferation of weapons.

Warning of the possibility of doubling the burdens of the Algerian army in securing the country, Qassemi said that the existence of a war on Algeria’s borders, and in an area where terrorist organizations are spread, puts the army on “a great state of alert.”

It is likely that Algeria’s role will become more clear if the coup leaders present a clear stance specifying the deadlines for handing over power to civilians, with the release of president Bazoum or his consent to resignation.

Supporting people’s aspirations

Stressing that Algeria is known for supporting the aspirations of the African peoples, Youssef Meshria, a specialist in African Sahel issues, told Anadolu that Algeria’s position on Niger is fully consistent with the founding principles of the African Union.

Meshria pointed out that Algeria’s condemnation of the coup in Niger and its warning against foreign military intervention stems from the dangers of a possible collapse of relative stability in the country.

On whether the damage to French influence in the region benefits Algeria, he said that the latter does not prefer exclusive French control over the political geography of the Sahel.

Describing the Algerian approach as “clear,” Meshria said it “is based on employing weapons and mercenary funds in development programs that meet the needs of the population, and therefore rejects the foreign presence in all its forms.”

Source : AA

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