Niger’s Ousted Leader Initially Promised To Fight Terrorists But Ultimately Allied With Them

Without any exaggeration despite how sensational it sounds, literally allied with Al Qaeda and ISIS’ regional affiliates according to The Economist, and he even went as far as granting amnesty to self-admitted head-choppers. Psychotic serial killers were “reintegrated into society” without any punishment for what he earlier described as their barbarous war crimes. Average Nigeriens were left defenseless too after their former leader declared a few months back that “Arming civilians to fight terrorists is a tragic mistake.”

The Mainstream Media’s Latest Terrorist Fearmongering

Ousted Nigerien leader Mohamed Bazoum published an op-ed at the Washington Post on Thursday fearmongering that his country will become a terrorist hotspot if the US doesn’t manage to return him to power. This narrative builds upon the one that was earlier introduced by Voice of America, The Economist, and the Associated Press. Average Westerners might therefore be misled into thinking that his regime effectively fought terrorism, but the reality is the complete opposite as will now be proven.

From An Anti-Terrorist Leader To A Literal Terrorist Ally

Bazoum started his rule by promising to fight terrorists. According to Africanews, he declared during his inauguration on 2 April 2021 that “[their] barbarity has exceeded every limit”, adding that “[they] carry out large-scale massacres of innocent civilians, and in doing so, commit real war crimes.” Nearly one year later in March 2022, however, AFP reported that “Niger Pushes For Peace With Jihadist Talks”. Their report contains some disturbing details about the new policy that he implemented towards this issue.

They wrote that “Last month, Bazoum announced he had begun ‘discussions’ with jihadists as part of ‘the search for peace.’ He said he had released several militants and received them at the presidential palace. He said he had also dispatched envoys to meet nine ‘terrorist chiefs.’…In 2016, when he was interior minister, he succeeded in getting dozens of Boko Haram jihadists in southeast Niger to join a programme combining deradicalisation and job training.”

The US & France Never Really Fought Terrorists In Niger

Instead of fighting the same terrorists “whose barbarity has exceeded every limit” and who he accused of “commit[ting] real war crimes”, Bazoum ended up hosting some of these same barbarous war criminals in the presidential palace, which spit in the face of every one of those terrorists’ victims. The UK’s influential Financial Times praised him for this policy and cited Western officials who felt the same in their article that July titled “Niger: the west’s bulwark against jihadis and Russian influence in Africa”.

It’s paywalled but can be read here for those who are interested. The point in drawing attention to this piece is to show that the West dishonestly spun his capitulation to terrorists as an anti-terrorist victory, which discredits their latest narrative that his return to power is required to save the region from falling to this threat. Furthermore, it also suggests that this was done with American and French approval, thus meaning that their official “anti-terrorist” military missions there were nothing but a ruse.

Local Witnesses Raised Concerns About Bazoum’s Policy

South Africa’s Institute for Security Studies noted in their report from April of this year that “Interviewees told ISS Today that some community emissaries facilitating contact with jihadists were not necessarily the most qualified. They said those with stronger credibility and social influence had been sidelined. There were also concerns about how to effectively integrate ex-combatants into communities following their release from the Hamdallaye centre.”

Bazoum with Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Niger’s President Mohammed Bazoum to the Élysée presidential palace in Paris on February 16, 2022

These revelations cast suspicion on Bazoum’s motives for reversing his promised fight against terrorists. If he sincerely decided on his own for whatever reason that it’s better to talk with terrorists than to exterminate them, then it would naturally follow that he’d task those with the strongest credibility and social influence with carrying this out in order to boost the chances of success. Instead, he reportedly sidelined the most qualified mediators, which deliberately endangered his country’s security.

The New Cold War’s West African Proxy Battleground

Western media has taken to claiming over the past week that terrorist attacks declined in Niger during this time while rising in neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso, but the abovementioned revelation and all that it entails as explained suggests that something nefarious was going on behind the scenes. It might very well have been the case that the US and France told him to make peace with terrorists so that they can then use Niger as their base for destabilizing Mali and Burkina Faso’s patriotic military juntas.

This would account for the decline in terrorist attacks in Niger alongside them growing in those two neighboring countries during this same period. The same people who Bazoum described as barbarous war criminals would have no reason to attack his regime if he allied with them per his Western patron’s demands to help them expand in Mali and Burkina Faso. The US and France might have agreed to this Faustian deal as part of their anti-Russian proxy war in Africa that was explained here, here, and here.

The Economist Inadvertently Discredited Bazoum’s “Anti-Terrorist” Reputation

These credible suspicions are crucial to keep in mind when reading The Economist’s article from 1 August alleging that “Fanatics and putschists are creating failed states in west Africa”, which is paywalled but can be read in full here. What follows are the excerpts most relevant to the present analysis:

“The jihadists themselves used fear to recruit, as Mr Moussa well knows. His job, he says, was to cut off the heads of men who refused to join. He jabs his hand at his throat to emphasise this gruesome confession. He does not recall exactly how many men he murdered. Perhaps ten, he ventures. Yet Mr Moussa recently abandoned jihadism, taking up a demobilisation plan backed by Mr Bazoum, who promised that if jihadists renounce violence they could ‘be reintegrated into society, and economically’.

‘We are promoting reconciliation,’ Mr Bazoum said in May, noting a local peace pact that was signed earlier in January between community and religious leaders and self-defence groups. Violence in the area, once widespread, has ebbed. The deal was tacitly approved by Islamic State Sahel (IS Sahel), one of the two biggest jihadist groups in the region, which sent emissaries to the pact’s signing and met the minister of interior, says a mediator.

Bolder still were Mr Bazoum’s unwritten ceasefires with jihadists, of which there were many, says General Mahamadou Abou Tarka, who before the coup was the head of a body charged with managing talks with armed groups. One such agreement was a pledge not to stage attacks in a particular commune for six months if the government in return sent food to help its local population.

The government has also been in contact with Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM) an al-Qaeda affiliated coalition, says Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim of Crisis Group, a think-tank. JNIM commanders ‘send messages saying…we will not attack you if you do not attack us,’ he says. The group also asked the government to free some prisoners, which it did, he says.

All this could now unravel. General Tchiani, in his first speech since the coup, criticised Mr Bazoum’s security policies, particularly that of releasing jihadists. His regime has also arrested Mr Bazoum’s interior minister, who was a crucial backer of the local peace deals. It seems unlikely that France, America and their European allies will continue to work with and train Niger’s army while the country is under military rule. One consequence, says a Western military official bluntly, will be ‘more terrorist attacks’.”

The Dark Truth About Bazoum’s Regime

Without any exaggeration despite how sensational it sounds, Bazoum literally allied with Al Qaeda and ISIS’ regional affiliates, and he even went as far as granting amnesty to self-admitted head-choppers like Moussa. Psychotic serial killers like him were “reintegrated into society” without any punishment for their barbarous war crimes. Average Nigeriens were left defenseless too after their former leader declared a few months back that “Arming civilians to fight terrorists is a tragic mistake.”

Putting all these damning factual details together, it’s compellingly the case that Bazoum was ordered by his Western patrons to ally with Al Qaeda and ISIS in order for those two to then use Niger as their base for destabilizing Mali and Burkina Faso’s patriotic military juntas as part of their anti-Russian proxy war. He rolled out the red carpet for the same people who he earlier described as barbarous war criminals by hosting them in the presidential palace and even released self-admitted head-choppers into society.

Bazoum’s Terrorist Allies Might Soon Attack The Junta And/Or Northern Nigeria

The people in whose name he formally ruled weren’t allowed to arm themselves in self-defense against these psychotic serial killers that he unleashed into their neighborhoods as part of his amnesty deal with Al Qaeda and ISIS’ regional affiliates. Bazoum never actually fought against terrorists, but rather allied with them in a Faustian deal masterminded by the US and France. If the NATO-backed Nigerian-led ECOWAS invasion of Niger is called off, then his terrorist allies are expected to go on the offensive.

This impending Hybrid War onslaught will be spun by the Mainstream Media as supposedly being the result of the Nigerien junta’s incompetence in order to discredit them and serve as the pretext for more meddling in their country’s affairs. In the event that Nigerien-based terrorists soon begin attacking Northern Nigeria, they can spin this development as a ‘Russian/Wagner plot”, both to discredit those last-mentioned two as well as to force Abuja to invade its neighbor if it gets cold feet at the last minute.

Concluding Thoughts

Either way, Niger’s full-fledged destabilization is likely inevitable one way or another, whether by a NATO-backed Nigerian-led ECOWAS invasion and/or a Hybrid War onslaught by Bazoum and his Western patrons’ terrorist allies in the country. Average folks are powerless to stop these scenarios, but they can at least attempt to raise maximum awareness of what’s really happening and why in order to expose all the lies embedded in the Mainstream Media’s narrative about the West African crisis.

Source: the author’s blog

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

    Leave a Reply