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Sat, Aug 5, 2023 5:15 PM

Regional Mediation Efforts Fail in Niger as Military Intervention Looms

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Regional Mediation Efforts Fail in Niger as Military Intervention Looms
Efforts to reverse the recent coup in Niger and reinstate its democracy collapsed as tensions escalate ahead of the Sunday deadline for possible military intervention by other West African countries. The regional bloc ECOWAS is finalizing its plan to use force against the Niger junta if President Mohamed Bazoum is not reinstated. However, the coup has garnered support from other soldiers and neighboring countries, further complicating the situation. The article explores the potential strategies and challenges of a military intervention in Niger and its implications for the region and global stakeholders.

Regional mediation efforts aimed at reversing the recent coup in Niger and restoring its democracy have failed, increasing the likelihood of a military intervention by other West African countries. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the regional bloc, is finalizing plans to use force against the Niger junta if Mohamed Bazoum, the ousted president, is not reinstated.

The coup, initiated by the president's closest commanders in the Presidential Guard, has gained support from other soldiers, including the Nigerien army command. This has caused a split in the ECOWAS family, as Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea have sided with the junta, while Chad, Algeria, Libya, and other non-ECOWAS members remain neutral.

Niger's vast territory and strategic importance have complicated the potential military intervention. The country's landlocked geography and specific territorial advantages pose challenges to the intervention forces. Notably, Niger's capital, Niamey, where Bazoum is being held, will likely be the primary focus of any intervention.

Nigeria, with its large military strength and prominent role as ECOWAS chair, is at the forefront of efforts to reverse the coup in Niger. Nigeria possesses the largest military force in West Africa, dwarfing Niger's and its neighboring countries' capabilities combined. However, Nigeria faces internal challenges in tackling armed groups within its own borders.

The military intervention's strategy and execution, whether involving airstrikes or ground forces, remains uncertain. ECOWAS troops crossing Nigeria's 1,600-km border with Niger would contend with a region hosting over 200,000 refugees, further complicating any deployment.

Niger's international airports, particularly in Niamey and Agadez, may present additional challenges for overtaking the country. These airports, including one operated by the U.S. military as a drone base, could impede operations to reinstate Bazoum and restore democracy.

Various regional and global powers have vested interests in a resolution to the Niger coup. The West, particularly the United States and France, views Niger as a strategic partner in counterterrorism efforts in the Sahel region. On the opposing side, Russia and its private military contractor, Wagner, have aligned with the military regimes of Mali and Burkina Faso, further complicating the situation.

While a military intervention by ECOWAS may help reverse the coup, it could give rise to further conflict and proxy battles between external forces. The potential for collateral damage and civilian casualties raises concerns, as do the implications for Niger's democratic legitimacy in the aftermath of foreign military intervention.

The situation is complex and precarious, with potential far-reaching consequences. As the Sunday deadline for possible military intervention approaches, the region and the international community anxiously await the outcome of this crisis in Niger.

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

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