10 myths, counter-narratives and contradictions vs. the West neocolonialist war in Niger

With all the imperial onslaughts against the Global South, their wars are increasingly fought at the level of disinformation and manufactured narratives to create a climate of smoke and mirrors – the better to cloak the real strategies.

Amilcar Cabral, assassinated exactly 50 years ago.

The West African independent state of Niger experienced a coup d’etat on July 26, 2023 (the anniversary of the [attack on the] Moncada Barracks in Cuba), bringing to power a group of military officers who, although trained by the United States, not only deposed U.S. and French-supported strawman President Mohamed Bazoum but called for the withdrawal of the 1,500 French military troops and the French ambassador. They have yet to budge.

Meanwhile, below are, in no particular chronological order, 10 paradoxical narratives surrounding a situation which has already turned into an on-the-ground and aircraft war in the Sahel.

  1. The African Union soon condemned the warmongering noises of military intervention by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), led by pro-western President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Nigeria.  However, the AU also suspended the new Nigerien government from membership of its organization, sending an ambivalent, unclear message.
  1. The AU became a member of the G20 – but that does not prevent the U.S. government from planning the physical elimination of members of the new Nigerien military leadership – at least, according to Russian Intelligence reports – nor does it prevent France from digging in its military heels in Niger, in violation of the Vienna Convention.
  1. In a very under-reported letter to the United Nations Security Council, Aboubacar Daddo, the United Nations Representative stationed in Niamey reported a long series of egregious violations of international law committed by France against the new government in Niger. In the letter, the ECOWAS sanctions against Niger are denounced as being against regional and international law – without any authorization sought from the Security Council; the French ambassador’s presence in Niamey in defiance of the Nigerien request for him to leave is seen as similarly problematic while France’s refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the cancellation of the military pact linking it to Bazoum is in itself illegitimate, according to this United Nations expert. Worse still, the letter goes on to document that on Aug. 9, French troops released terrorists whose leaders were then convened in a meeting with a view to attack Nigerien positions in the three border regions. Not to speak of repeatedly violated Nigerien airspace by French aircraft. But when the new Prime Minister of Niger, Ali Lamine Zeine, writes to the Secretary General of the UN to inform him that he will be representing his country at the Assembly General opening in New York this month, António Guterres responds that “You are not invited.”
  1. France, using what many Pan Africanist analysts consider to be dilatory tactics, announces that its army higher-ups are in negotiations with Nigerien army operative officials for the withdrawal of “some” troops. But, at the same time, Macron announces that on the contrary, his troops will stay because he is “only taking orders from the legitimate president, Bazoum.”
  1. Very few reports in the mainstream or corporate media have highlighted the essential fact that Niger has for decades accepted to sell its uranium to France at 24,900 percent less than the market price. Now these same media sources condemn the new Niger government for simply deciding to sell its uranium at the world market price: 200 euros per kilogram, instead of 0.80 euros per kilogram.
  1. The U.S. refuses to call this coup a coup.  But thanks to the neocon diplomacy of Victoria Nuland, the coup leaders are publicly treated as “those guys” and “difficult.” And behind their backs, Nuland goes to South Africa to see if she can use the leverage of U.S. investment there to get the South Africans to make the new Niger leaders “see reason” and release Bazoum. Of course, she failed in that “velvet” coup.
  1. Most of the army coup leaders in Niger were trained in the U.S. and that introduces doubts and contradictions in the U.S. policy of manufacturing obedient African elites through AFRICOM and other such military training. According to Representative Matt Gaetz (R, Fl) it is unfair for the U.S. taxpayer to pay for them to go to our “best military academies” to protect elections we control only to have them turn against us and go rogue.
  1. France, the former colonial power, and the United States would appear to have totally opposing tactics in Niger — the former seen as a warmongering bully, the latter as the pragmatic and diplomatic older brother. But if their tactics differ, their strategy remains overall that of NATO allies in difficulty in Ukraine and in fear of the expansion of BRICS:  they would have each other’s back in a region where they have agreed to treat terrorism as the bogeyman. They play bad cop/good cop. 

France, the country with the sharpest economic decline in the EU and recently dismissed from BRICS, has no choice but to remain a U.S. vassal.

  1. The West criticizes the coup d’etat in Niger in the name of “democracy.” But Pan Africanists are deeply critical of the notion of western imported democracy, a democracy imposed by those who have colonized them, a democracy corrupted by “a-political core values” – to quote the AFRICOM teaching curriculum – with chosen puppets trained to defend an alien agenda.
  1. Amilcar Cabral, who was assassinated exactly 50 years ago, stated in his iconic speech called “The Cancer of Betrayal,” delivered at the funeral of Kwame Nkrumah, that to avoid betrayal it is necessary to carefully define who we consider to be the people. Cabral was speaking about the coup d’etat engineered by the CIA and MI6 that overthrew his friend and comrade, Kwame Nkrumah, in 1966.

Recently, from one West African coup d’etat to another, we have come across two very different definitions of the people. Whether it be the thin crowds that turned out to greet the recent coup in Gabon, even though they were described as “massive and cheering,” or the real masses of thousands of Nigeriens who protested around the main French military base 24/7 every day in shifts with open-air cooking, but described as “a phony PR military stunt” by the Western press.

As one Pan Africanist commentator has stated, the Nigerien conflict has already brought us one victory: the birth of our own independent narrative.

(c) Julia Wright. Sept. 13, 2023. All Rights.

Julia Wright (guest)

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