Sahelian juntas need US drones

In Summary

• Niger has ordered the United States to close is $110 million drone airbase in Agadez

• Al Qaeda jihadists are over-running the Sahel following the forced departure of  French troops

Niger coup leaders
Niger coup leaders

Niger's military regime has asked the American army to leave the country. The United States has built a US$110 million airbase in Agadez to target al Qaeda militants in the Sahel.

A military coup in Niger last July deposed President Bazoum. In December, Niger kicked out French troops, following Burkina Faso and Mali which also had military coups last year.

Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali have signed a mutual defence pact and turned to Russia for military support. However, Russia wants to be paid with gold or uranium for its limited defence assistance.

Now al Qaeda is overrunning the Sahel. Two-thirds of Burkina Faso is a no-go area. The military regimes plus Russia are no match for the jihadists.

The American drone base was the final bulwark against al Qaeda in the Sahel. Now it is only a matter of time before a whole country falls to the Islamists.

The Niger military has complained that the US deployment was illegal because it was not approved by its elected representatives. So why not regularise matters by referring the agreement back to the Niger parliament? Or negotiate the price of uranium, if that was the problem?

Quote of the day: "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow."

Albert Einstein
He published his general theory of relativity on March 20,1916

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