Dr. Ahmad Bakhshi, in an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, stated that if we consider Sudan in that region, we will reach the coup belt in Africa. It shows that the coup was not specific to Niger, adding: Successive crises and the accumulation of such crises that are over the governance in those countries are very influential. Although, in the past three years, a government came into office that tried to carry out some reforms. However, lack of infrastructure and unfavorable governance and the failure to meet people’s expectations, the food crisis and food shortages caused by the Ukraine crisis, and the consequences of climate change impose special conditions on Niger in which the possibility of quick solutions to some challenges is not easily provided.
The university professor reminded that Niger is one of the poor countries in terms of per capita income or human development index and has the lowest ranks even in Africa, and said: Resistance against the changes that the president was looking for and the differences that were created with the presidential guard and structure and body of the army, changed the developments differently and finally, the military commander of Niger arrested the president during a coup.
Saying that the structure created after the coup is against the principles of democracy and the frameworks that the African Union follows about democratic processes in that continent, Bakhshi continued: The developments in Niger and the internal competitions in that country caused the removal of democratic processes. In addition to the fact that Niger was one of the French colonies, and although the debate about its independence has been raised since 1960, however, due to the fact that France manages the “Francophone” countries, the French-speaking countries, which is actually a cultural, political and economic complex, with the capital allocated to them, such a problem has not occurred yet.
While explaining the dimensions of Niger’s structural and economic dependence on France, he referred to the killing of several Nigerien soldiers in the French attack of the past few days and said: Considering the recent developments in Niger, France’s interests have been jeopardized. Despite claims about human rights and democratic processes, France is also looking at its own interests, despite the coup’s incompatibility with the desired components of the African Union. But in Niger, considering that the ineffectiveness of the governments is attached to the issue of the loyalty of the governments to France and the continued presence of that country, the presence of France has become a variable and the primary and fundamental issue in that country.
The university professor stated that France is resisting maintaining part of its political and economic territory, and added: In addition, the countries of West Africa, about the national structure and the processes and structure of “ECOWAS” as the economic community of the countries West Africa has a kind of homogeneity and association with French structures, in the sense that they are concerned about the development of Africa as well as the trends related to the West. In this situation, in any coup carried out in those countries, the first statement that is considered is the desire for new independence-seeking, and the coup is evaluated as a reaction against France or Europe.
Saying that in the current international environment, due to the confrontation with Russia and Wagner, the West is trying to destroy Russia’s measures in Niger in the media, although the consequences of Russia’s and Wagner’s measures in Africa, especially in the west of the continent, cannot be ignored, it should be noted that solving the coup crisis in Niger by creating another crisis does not bring positive results and does not bring peace and security. This issue fuels insecurity in that country and creates grounds for the intervention of other countries.
The analyst of African affairs, referring to the positions of European countries towards the Niger crisis, the competition of extra-regional powers, and the difference in their views, stated: ECOWAS member countries have taken different positions on the developments in Niger; this issue shows that the economic community, in this crisis, is not very effective. France also tries to protect its interests by using those processes.
He pointed to the importance of Niger’s rich uranium resources and the choice of that country as a place for the oil pipeline to export oil to the Mediterranean Sea and Europe for the economic investments of France and other European countries. He said: The emphasis on ECOWAS intervention comes from the emergency conditions of its member countries in economic matters due to the coup conditions in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea, and at the same time, it shows that there is no specific consensus about those countries in Africa, and if there is an intervention, it makes the situation more critical and longer.
Bakhshi added: Although the Wagner group supported the coup and emphasized that Africa is regaining its independence, security indicators have not confirmed Russia’s involvement in the coup in that country.
Emphasizing that the developments in Niger do not create a good outlook for that country, the university professor added: The military had the impression that they were going to be removed from the process of political developments in the country, so the first mechanism that should have been taken into consideration was reconciliation or continuation of the situation to form a coalition government and to pass the remaining of the presidential term. Or that the coup plotters promised elections, although such elections are primarily fake, and the leader of the coup plotters in many of those elections becomes the head of the next government!
Saying that there were underlying factors for the coup and the president also sought to control and direct the circle of power to his advantage in Niger, he said: Considering the bipolarity created in Niger, the current crisis can only be resolved through diplomatic and dialogue processes and any intervention, whether regional or extra-regional, leads to the complication of the crisis and the spillover of its issues to the entire continent and makes its solution longer as we have seen in the Congo crisis and developments around the Great Lakes in Africa.