US Loses Influence in Africa as Russia Steps In

( – Under the oh-so-watchful eye of former President Barack Obama, the world watched as the “junior varsity” a.k.a. the Islamic State (ISIS) unleashed a bloody reign of terror. Perhaps it’s unsurprising then that their specter should be rising again during President Joe Biden’s administration, which conservative pundits have been known to label Obama 3.0.

That is one concern amongst many that analysts are raising now that the United States military has been unceremoniously booted out of the West African nation of Niger after a military junta ousted the only democratically elected president the country had ever had in a 2023 coup d’├ętat. Another major issue being brought up is who may fill the void left by the lack of Western influence in the region — the French had already been kicked to the curb — and it may end up becoming a hodgepodge of forces with Russia being the first to jump in.

Uncertainty Abounds

The State Department has confirmed that they have dispatched several people to help Ambassador Kathleen Fitzgibbon work out “an orderly and responsible withdrawal of US forces” with the ruling National Council for Safeguarding the Homeland (CNSP) as the military cabal calls itself. However, the Islamic news site Al Jazeera is reporting that Biden may be dragging his feet in an attempt to change the leader’s mind even though there is popular support for the junta and their claim that they are charting a course for Niger’s freedom from Western meddling.

Russian President Vladimir Putin wasted no time in securing an invitation to send his troops, and they arrived at the same airbase the Americans are using on the afternoon of May 2. It seems they are a part of what is being called the “Africa Corps” which is apparently a rebranding of the infamous Wagner Group mercenaries who have been so heavily involved in his war against Ukraine.

Niger lies in a region known as the Sahel, which is a band across central Africa from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, and the instability brought on by the numerous military juntas throughout the area has made it a breeding ground for ISIS, Boko Haram, and Al Qaeda. Besides Russia, other countries that may try to exert their influence into the void left by the removal of the Americans and French include the People’s Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Considering that Niger produced 5% of the world’s estimated total of uranium ore and that France and other European Union (EU) nations rely heavily on nuclear energy to reduce carbon emissions from electric generation plants, it’s possible that they could see a sharp increase in what they pay for their fuel source. Of course, there’s the not-so-incidental fact that Iran getting access to that much of the material that goes into making atomic bombs could be a very bad thing for the Western world.

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