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Sat, Aug 5, 2023 1:40 PM

Regional Mediation Efforts to Reverse Coup in Niger Collapse

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Regional Mediation Efforts to Reverse Coup in Niger Collapse
Regional mediation efforts to reverse the coup in Niger and restore its democracy have collapsed, increasing the likelihood of a military intervention by other West African countries. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had finalized a plan to use force against the Niger junta if the ousted president, Mohamed Bazoum, is not reinstated. However, tensions have escalated as other countries in the region have chosen to side with the coup. This would be the first time in years that ECOWAS would forcefully put down a coup in West Africa, and the consequences could be catastrophic.

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) -- Regional mediation efforts to reverse the coup in Niger and restore its democracy collapsed as soon as they started. Tensions have escalated as the Sunday deadline nears for possible military intervention by other West African countries.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had finalized a plan to use force against the Niger junta if Mohamed Bazoum is not reinstated as Niger's president. An ECOWAS delegation, led by Nigeria's former head of state Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, had tried unsuccessfully to meet with the coup leader, Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani. The junta leader later declared that any aggression against Niger "will see an immediate response and without warning."

With Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea choosing to side with the junta, ECOWAS would be intervening as a split family. Chad, Algeria, and Libya are Niger's other neighbors, but they are not members of the regional bloc. This leaves any military intervention through land largely restricted to Nigeria's border with Niger, which spans over 1,600 km (1,000 miles).

The military strategy for intervention in Niger is still unclear, but the country's territorial advantage could play a significant role. With the coup leader holding Bazoum in the capital city, Niamey, the focus of the intervention would start there. Niger is West Africa's second-largest country in terms of landmass, making any military intervention more complex than previous interventions in the region.

Nigeria, with its large military strength, has been at the forefront of efforts to reverse the coup in Niger. However, the country also faces challenges internally, with ongoing conflicts and insurgencies that have strained its military resources.

The coup in Niger is of great concern to the international community. Niger has been a strategic partner in the fight against terrorism in the Sahel region and plays a significant role in the global market, particularly in its uranium supply.

There are fears that a military intervention by ECOWAS could escalate into a conflict involving external forces. Niger's allies, such as the United States and France, are likely to support the restoration of democracy, while countries like Russia and its private military contractor, Wagner, have been hailed as allies by other military regimes in the region.

The consequences of a military intervention in Niger could be significant. In the best-case scenario, ECOWAS troops would be stationed in the country for an extended period, which could undermine the legitimacy of Niger's president and democracy as a whole. Additionally, the intervention could have implications for Nigeria, diverting attention from ongoing internal conflicts.

The situation in Niger remains uncertain as the Sunday deadline for military intervention approaches. The international community and regional blocs such as ECOWAS face a delicate balancing act in their efforts to restore democracy without further escalating tensions in the region.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-08-05 News

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