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The US is losing access to its bases in Niger − here’s why that’s a big deal

Michael A. Allen, Boise State University; Carla Martinez Machain, University at Buffalo, and Michael E. Flynn, Kansas State University, The Conversation on

Published in News & Features

The U.S. has also worked with China to fight piracy off the Horn of Africa and promote stability in international shipping lanes.

Russia, meanwhile, had used the Wagner Group, a state-funded private military organization, to provide military assistance and negotiate new economic deals with African leaders. After a failed Wagner Group mutiny and the death of its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Wagner Group in Africa was rebranded as Africa Corps and continues much of this work in Africa.

These countries’ interest in building new military bases in Africa is rooted in their desire to promote their interests and secure access to commercial and security resources.

The U.S. is now looking for alternatives to its lost drone bases in Niger, but there are few options in the region that are both allies with the U.S. and do not have a military government. While the U.S. has historically worked with and can influence nations where the military also runs the government, in the post-Cold War period the U.S. generally aligns itself with democratic countries.

In addition, as U.S. rivals such as China and Russia gain influence in the region, it may become more expensive for the U.S. to set up new military bases in Africa. Research shows that when host states can choose between major powers to cooperate with, it requires more economic incentives to gain their favor. This means that it is not clear to what extent the U.S. can maintain a presence in western and central Africa.

This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit, independent news organization bringing you facts and analysis to help you make sense of our complex world.


Read more:
Niger coup: Military takeover is a setback for democracy and US interests in West Africa

US response to Gabon and Niger coups suggests need for a new West Africa policy in Washington

Michael A. Allen has previously received funding from the Department of Defense's Minerva Initiative.

Carla Martinez Machain has previously received funding from the Department of Defense's Minerva Initiative.

Michael E. Flynn has previously received funding from the Minerva Research Initiative, the Department of Defense, and the Army Research Office. The views expressed here are the authors' only and do not represent the views of any outside funder.


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