web analytics

Niger Falls Out of US Influence

Niger kicks the United States out and invites its enemies in.

Niger is kicking out the United States. The African nation — a critical node in US counterterrorism efforts in Africa — has told Foggy Bottom and the US Africa Command (USAFRICOM) it is pulling out of its status of forces agreement. Ruling military junta officials have ordered the remaining 1,000 American military personnel to leave the country. In Niger, it’s not just that the United States is losing a foothold; it’s about which nations are gaining one.

Nearly a year ago, when it seemed African countries were experiencing a coup a week, the White House did not seem particularly concerned. Gabon, Guinea, Chad, Burkina Faso, and Mali all fell to insurrection, military mutinies, or revolts. There were the usual attempts at diplomatic reconciliation with whatever junta leader emerged, yet for the Biden foreign policy team, it was just another day at the office. Sudan remains a violent cauldron of rampaging thugs with no peaceful solution in sight. It’s clear US influence on the continent is waning.

Niger Gives US the Boot

In July 2023, “[t]he coup in Niger was prompted by what the coup leaders claim was the inability of President [Mohamed] Bazoum to establish security,” Liberty Nation reported. And many in Washington believed “the close relationship the State Department had been counting on may be in jeopardy with the uncertainty surrounding the coup leaders’ intentions.” The uncertainty was cleared up when Niger and its newly installed leaders gave the boot to US counterterrorism units flying critical manned and unmanned intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. There seemed to be some hope on the part of the State Department and USAFRICOM that a negotiated agreement would be reached to allow US forces to remain in Niger.

However, although the United States has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in training Niger’s security forces, eleventh-hour efforts to prolong US operations from two principal air bases, one at Agadze and the other at Niamey, have failed. The junta sees no justification for American presence in Niger.

Besides taking advantage of the African geography to operate counterterrorism ISR, Niger filled a foreign policy influence space. US military training of the Nigerian military forces made possible a strategically located friend, in a region rife with US enemies. In an insightful analysis of the situation in Niger, the nonprofit news outlet The Conversation said:

“As a further complication, Russian military personnel arrived in Niger in April 2024 to train Nigerien forces. They delivered military equipment and stated that they planned to build an air defense system in Niger. This deployment is part of the increased military cooperation with Russia that Niger is pursuing … [I]t is clear that the loss of these bases creates problems for US regional interests in Africa and cedes ground to Russia and China.”

One reason the United States is losing influence in Africa is the State Department’s focus on pushing a social agenda that is inimical to local and country customs and culture. This effort alienates the people whose hearts and minds the US foreign policy team would like to capture. Russia and China do not push such ideological mandates and consequently are seen as better partners in the near term.

Losing Influence When Needed

Despite the value to America’s national security interests to stem the growing influence of al-Qaeda and Islamic State terrorist groups in the West African country, the United States is making preparations to leave. Unlike its disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, “The Biden administration has begun the process of removing US troops from Niger, though a timeline on the effort is not immediately clear. A US defense official confirmed the beginning stages of the removal … saying discussions between the US and Niger for the ‘orderly removal’ of troops has started,” Fox News Digital reported. Once departed, returning generally never happens.

Historically, the United States has not spent much geopolitical capital on Africa. Former President George W. Bush made some progress in achieving friendly relations with many African nations with his outreach and considerable funding to combat HIV infections. Presidents following have attempted to sustain the goodwill. Yet Biden’s administration has demonstrated no such observable inclination. Consequently, US influence erodes.

The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliate.

Read More From Dave Patterson

Latest Posts

Want Fries with That? – C5 TV

Join the C-5 Panel as they investigate what happened to the dollar menu at fast food establishments and why it...

Joe Biden Upstaged at Morehouse

President Joe Biden upped his campaign game this past week, focusing on black voters. Not only did he address the...

Headlines – Breaking News

Michael Cohen Admits Stealing From Trump Organization A shocking day in the Trump trial carousel. “Donald Trump’s...

Biden’s Waffle House – C5 TV

Dive in or walk away - Biden refuses to make a decision on the Israel-Hamas conflict. [roku-ad align="center"...