What works in favor of the coup plotters is the international division over how to deal with this coup and the interests of that international community.
For example, France (and other European countries) fuel their nuclear power plants largely with uranium extracted from Niger. The Americans have invested millions in a major drone base. The EU is counting on (and paying for) Niger to stop migrants. Niger was the West’s last reliable partner in the fight against advanced jihadism.
All of these countries – both inside and outside Africa – reacted very divided to the coup, much less united than they were after previous coups. The French want to reverse the coup and help deposed President Bazoum (with whom they had an excellent relationship) return to power. They reportedly considered imposing it by force.
In other countries where a coup took place, the junta and public opinion each time turned against their military presence and had to leave. Niger (along with Chad) was the only country where the French still had some control over the fight against the jihadists. If they also had to leave Niger, it would be a humiliation for French President Macron.
It seems that the Americans are aiming for some form of legitimacy for the coup plotters and are aiming for diplomacy. They even sent an ambassador to Niger and a US envoy is currently in talks with ECOWAS countries. It is noteworthy that they avoid using the word “coup,” which may mean ending military cooperation with Niger. It is clear that the Americans do not want to give up on that.
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