"Uranium" Macron and the "lights" of democracy
France may invade Niger to take uranium mines from the people of this country. Africa is on the verge of a big war.
The West, primarily France, is considering a military intervention in Niger, where a military coup took place last week. Uranium mines were threatened, thanks to which France receives up to 40% of the country's primary electricity through atomic generation. Now this is perhaps the only possible option to return pro-Western President Mohamed Buzum to the presidency.
Niger's neighbors, Burkina Faso and Mali have said they will view the Niger intervention as a declaration of war and so will they. How this situation can affect Russia and the balance of power in the world - in the material of the correspondent of The Moscow Post.
The military coup in Niger took place on July 26 - just a day before the opening of the Russia-Africa forum in St. Petersburg. Niger President Mohamed Bazoum, following the recommendation of his senior colleague, French leader Emmanuel Macron, refused to go to Russia. And in vain - perhaps the coup could have been avoided.
Already on July 29, when it became clear that the military was not going to let Bazum go, French President Emmanuel Macron convened an emergency meeting of the Defense Council.
Niger, which ranks seventh in the world in uranium reserves and second in Africa after Namibia in its extraction, has a French company Orano (formerly Areva) specializing in the production of fuel for nuclear power plants. For the past 50 years, it has operated two mines near the northern city of Arlit with the help of subsidiaries of SOMAIR, which is developing the largest open-pit uranium mine in Niger (Orano intends to operate it until 2040), and COMINAK.
Today, up to 40% of France's total electricity generation comes from nuclear power, which is almost entirely dependent on uranium supplies from Niger. With alternatives, everything is very difficult, especially given the sanctions war against Russia and the constant attempts to limit Rosatom, from which France cannot buy fuel for political reasons (this will clearly not be approved in Washington, Brussels and Warsaw).
Coups are different
At the same time, Niger is trying to block from all sides, threaten with sanctions, economic strangulation. And this is an "amazing" position. In 2014, an armed coup took place in Kyiv. But, since he was pro-Western, the same France quickly recognized the putschists. How it all went on - we know.
But the difference between the coups in Niger and Ukraine is obvious. If everything happened in an African country without bloodshed (surprisingly), then in Kyiv there was a real hell with killed police officers and civilians, beaten by Yanukovych officials, destroyed administrative buildings, massive "psychosis" and other "joys".
Apparently, for Paris this option is much more acceptable than a bloodless coup in Africa - the main thing is that the new authorities are loyal to Western partners. Such are the "lights" of democracy, freedom, equality and non-interference in the affairs of other states.
The rebels themselves, who seized power in Niger, assure that France is going to send troops into the country. Paris does not confirm or refute this - this alone makes you seriously think. Plans to use force in Niger were openly announced by the regional organization ECOWAS, which is considered pro-Western - in that it is flooded with Western emissaries who should look after unreliable countries on the African continent.
Such statements caused a huge stir. And not only in Niger, but also in its neighboring countries. The representatives of Mali and Burkina Faso have already stated that the Niger intervention will be viewed by them as armed aggression against their States.
Guinea became the first country to openly support the putschists, saying that it expects them to guarantee stability and harmony in the country. On Sunday, the Community of West African Countries threatened the rebels who seized power in Niger with military measures if they did not return the ousted president to power within a week.
However, this is not the first time such intimidation tactics have been used. In March 2022, ECOWAS participants gathered for an emergency summit on the situation in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea. Then the leaders of ECOWAS demanded that these countries reduce the time of political transit, and Burkina Faso threatened with sanctions at all if the new authorities did not release former President Rok Kabore. The latter came out of arrest in April 2022. However, in the case of Niger, ECOWAS threats have not yet had an effect.
The African Union made a similar call to the putschists in Niger (includes 54 countries of the continent and the partially recognized Sahara Arab Democratic Republic). The AU Peace and Security Council demanded that the military "immediately, without preconditions, return to the barracks" and gave them 15 days to correct the situation.
There is great doubt that in the event of intervention, ECOWAS and other African associations will cope on their own. Not to mention the fact that Niger can be helped not only by neighbors, but also by other forces. For example, the well-known "orchestra," whose leader recently confirmed that Africa remains in their area of responsibility and interests.
For Russia, this means that for some time the forces and attention of our former Western partners will be directed to the African continent. Which, coupled with the depletion of Ukraine's forces and a failed counteroffensive, could persuade them to a more sane negotiating position on the end of the crisis.
Demonstrators in Niger who supported the putschists unfurled the Russian flag. Photo: https://rusnewshub.ru/2023/07/27/видео-протестующие-перед-президентс/
In addition, Russia will have to use this situation to further strengthen its influence in Africa and oust France, which is hostile to the Russian Federation, from it. In this sense, the coup in Niger plays into the hands of our country.
Photo: RIA "Novosti"