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The New Scramble For Africa

Map Curtesy of Nations Online Project

Why should the United States even care that Niger’s military junta, in power since July, wants to expel US Troops? Along with Mali and Burkina Faso, Niger is part of the anti-Western “Alliance of Sahel States,” which only came into existence after a series of quick coups in all three countries scrambled the web of stabilizing alliances. All three have abandoned the West for weapons from Russia and security from the Wagner Group, now rebranded as “The Africa Corp.”


These Sahel countries generally hate the French in a post-colonial sort of way, and the US because “why the hell not?” As America understandably withdraws from Africa, Russians are showing up everywhere. Not only in the Sahel, but Mozambique, Sudan (with a naval base on the Red Sea), Libya and the Central African Republic. The last was gifted 10 armoured vehicles by Mocsow, three of which broke down in their inagural parade.


Mind, Russia hasn’t got the money to go splashing about with foreign aid. After a decade of China’s Belt and Road Intitative projects, most African countries are wary of Chinese loans – the terms of which would make any God-fearing loan shark blush. Russia, though, has a reputation for supporting anti-colonial efforts in the sixties, and is likely a front-man partner in the scheme with Beijing lurking in the shadows.


For its part, Moscow’s security contracts are strict mercenary work, or a “for-profit self-financing arrangement” paid for with the commodity concessions – including heaps of gold, uranium, iron ore, copper and manganese. Ironically, it’s a purely colonial arrangement that opens markets for cheap Russian exports and keeps local strongmen in power with security arrangements that pay for themselves with local commodities.


Even General Sembé Bobo, commander of 3R a militia in Central African Republic, can see the writing on the wall. “We know that the Russians will destroy everything before they leave. A country invaded by the Russians never recovers.”


All of  which raises the question: Why do we care about nut-job jihadists in some dusty backwater like the Sahel? The answer is simple: The US Mission there was a counter-terrorism surveillance one. The Sahel is crawling with anti-Western Jihadists, and it actually less remote that Afghanistan was on 9/11.


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