Biden Risks Losing Niger, Surrendering Europe’s Energy Security to Russia

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The coup in the West African country of Niger may seem like the sort of geopolitical inside baseball that obsesses the think tank world, while having few implications for the lives or well-being of Americans. In ordinary circumstances this view would have some foundation – but this circumstance is far from ordinary.

The most immediate concern is an intervention from neighboring Nigeria (newspaper copyeditors are now facing the daunting task of differentiating Nigerien, as in, from Niger, and Nigerian, as in, from Nigeria). Such an intervention is looking far from unlikely now, with the Nigeria-dominated Economic Community of West African (ECOWAS) states handing Niger’s military a 15-day ultimatum to restore the elected government or face measures that could include military action.

Such a development would likely draw in not just France, which has 1,500 troops deployed in the country to fight a jihadist insurgency, but also the United States, which has around 1,100 troops in the country and operates drones from Niger Airbase 201.

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