John Smith
Tue, Aug 1, 2023 7:20 PM

ECOWAS Considers Military Intervention in Niger Coup

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ECOWAS Considers Military Intervention in Niger Coup
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is considering a military intervention in Niger following the recent coup that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum. ECOWAS has threatened to use force if Bazoum is not reinstated within one week. This marks the first time in years that ECOWAS is considering such action to restore democracy in the region. However, analysts are skeptical about the bloc's ability to coordinate its member states and external bodies like the African Union. There are also economic and logistical challenges to consider. A military intervention would face resistance from other countries in the region, potentially leading to a wider geopolitical battle between Western powers and emerging players like Russia.

West Africa's regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is contemplating a military intervention in Niger following the recent coup that overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum. ECOWAS, consisting of 15 member countries, has stated that it will "stand with our people in our commitment to the rule of law" and intends to take all necessary measures, including the use of force, if Bazoum is not reinstated within one week.

This marks a significant departure for ECOWAS, as it would be the first time in recent years that the bloc has considered a military intervention to restore democracy in countries where military takeovers have occurred. Currently, four nations in West and Central Africa are governed by military regimes, but ECOWAS has been unsuccessful in its attempts to reinstate democracies through economic sanctions.

While ECOWAS has used force in the past to restore order in member countries, such as Gambia in 2017, there are challenges to consider. Aneliese Bernard, director of Strategic Stabilization Advisors, points out that there is a lack of trust among ECOWAS members, which could hinder a coordinated response.

The success of a military intervention would also depend on how well ECOWAS can coordinate among its members and with external bodies like the African Union. Currently, there are signs of a lack of synergy, as ECOWAS gave the Niger junta a one-week deadline, while the African Union's ultimatum was 15 days.

There are also economic and logistical limitations to consider in implementing a military intervention. Kabir Adamu, the founder of Beacon Consulting, suggests that Western support may be necessary due to these challenges.

A potential military intervention would face resistance from other countries in the region, including Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea. These countries share borders and could potentially collaborate across the Sahel region, complicating ECOWAS' response.

Currently, ECOWAS has not established a regional force specifically for intervening in coup situations, despite announcing plans to do so in December. However, it is believed that if ECOWAS decides to deploy security forces in Niger, the number of troops would far exceed the multinational force deployed to remove Yahya Jammeh from power in Gambia.

The coup in Niger also has broader geopolitical implications. Bacary Sambe, a conflict researcher with the Timbuktu Institut think tank, warns that it could extend the influence of Russia's private military group, Wagner, in West Africa. Wagner has already been involved in Mali and Burkina Faso, where it has helped fight jihadi groups and gained favor with the regimes.

In conclusion, ECOWAS' consideration of a military intervention in Niger represents a significant shift in the bloc's approach to restoring democracy. However, numerous challenges, including lack of trust among member states, economic limitations, and potential resistance from other countries in the region, make the success of such an intervention uncertain.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-08-01 News

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