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Niger serves as Pentagon's base for US operations in Africa: Analyst

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

By Gul Jammas Hussain 

An African American journalist and political analyst has said that the US-led NATO military alliance is “behind the military threats against Niger.”

“Niger is the base of many of the military and intelligence operations for the Pentagon” in Africa, said Abayomi Azikiwe.

Azikiwe, an editor at the Pan-African News Wire, made the remarks in an exclusive interview with the Press TV website on Thursday.

Azikiwe said the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) was established in October 2007 “under the administration of President George W. Bush which has been expanded by successive Republican and Democratic administrations.”

AFRICOM is responsible for US military operations, including fighting regional conflicts and maintaining military relations with 53 African nations.

“AFRICOM was at the core of the destruction of Libya in 2011 and the consequent spread of instability throughout North and West Africa over the last twelve years,” the analyst stated.

Azikiwe made the remarks after the West African bloc expressed its readiness to intervene militarily if diplomatic efforts fail to reverse the military coup that toppled the government of pro-West President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26 in Niger.

In a meeting of army chiefs held on Thursday in Ghana, a senior official said that the Economic Cooperation of West African Nations (ECOWAS) is ready to military intervene in Niger.

Azikiwe said that “the United States, France and other NATO states are behind the military threats against Niger.”

“The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has repeatedly said that the Biden administration supports the ECOWAS, which are merely code words which indicate that Washington favors a return to the status quo under ousted President Mohamed Bazoum,” he added.

When asked are the US and France really worried about democracy in Niger, Azikiwe said, “There is no genuine concern by the US and France for democratic culture in Niger or anywhere else in Africa if it does not coincide with its own economic and geostrategic interests.”

“There are many governments in Africa and throughout the world which are not democratic and are principal allies of Washington,” he explained.

Commenting on the hysterical coverage of the situation in Niger by the Western media, Azikiwe said, “The Western corporate and government-controlled media are following the political directions of the military structures and multinational corporations which maintain substantial interests in Niger.”

The analyst said that the “Niger uranium industry, the 8th largest in the world, is owned and operated by France. This strategic metal is essential in the production of nuclear weapons, energy, and other key sectors of the Western economies.”

“What is encouraging is the broadening anti-imperialist mood throughout West Africa. The masses are saying no to France and other imperialist states. This is what is important in the recent developments inside the region,” he stated.

“Despite threats engineered by the imperialist centers, the ruling government in Niger and the masses throughout the region and also some governments are rejecting the notion of a NATO-backed intervention which would lead to disastrous consequences,” Azikiwe noted.

Thousands of anti-West protesters took to the streets in Niger last week to protest against plans by West African nations to deploy military force to the country.

The protesters surrounded a French military base in Niger, protesting against years of military intervention by the European country in the West African nation.

Protesters rallied near the army base on the outskirts of the capital Niamey on August 11, shouting, "Down with France, down with ECOWAS.”

Demonstrators said the regional bloc was being "manipulated by France."

The Niger Army has accused the African nation's former colonizer France of being the force behind ECOWAS's determination to restore Bazoum to office to serve the West's interests.

France was a colonial power in West Africa until 1960. Since independence, the European country has maintained trade relations and a military presence in the region. It has 1,500 soldiers in Niger. American and European soldiers are also stationed in Niger.

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