"AP": American military operations across the Sahel region are in danger after Niger ended cooperation with Washington "AP": American military operations across the Sahel region are in danger after Niger ended cooperation with Washington

"AP": American military operations across the Sahel region are in danger after Niger ended cooperation with Washington

"AP": American military operations across the Sahel region are in danger after Niger ended cooperation with Washington

The United States conducted an assessment of the future of “anti-terrorism” operations in the Sahel region after the military junta in Niger announced the end of its military cooperation with Washington following the visit of prominent American officials.

The State Department said on Sunday in a post on the “X” platform that the talks were frank and that it was in contact with the military junta, and it was not clear whether the United States had any remaining way to negotiate a deal to remain in Nigerien territory.

On Saturday, the ruling military junta in Niger canceled the military cooperation agreement with the United States , and considered the presence of American forces on Niger’s territory illegal and inconsistent with Niger’s interests.

The reason behind the military junta's decision to suspend military relations was not clear, and the military junta's spokesman, Colonel Major Amadou Abdel Rahman, said that American air sorties over Niger's territory in recent weeks were illegal.

Meanwhile, Enssa Garba Seydou, a local activist who helps Niger's military rulers with their communications, criticized US efforts to force the junta to choose between strategic partners.

“American bases and civilian personnel cannot remain on Nigerian soil any longer,” Seydou added in an interview with the Associated Press.

 Following her trip in December, the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs said she had “good discussions” with the leaders of the junta and called on them to set a timetable for elections in exchange for restoring military relations and aid, adding that Washington had warned Niamey against establishing closer relations with Russia. 

Neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso, which witnessed two coups since 2020, turned to Moscow for security support, and Cameron Hudson, who worked for the CIA and the State Department in Africa, commented that such steps show the decline of American influence in the region, and that Niger is angry. From Washington's attempt to pressure the military council to move away from Russia.

 “This is ironic because one of the slogans of the Biden administration is that Africans are free to choose their partners,” Hudson added.

The American delegation's visit coincided with the beginning of the month of Ramadan, and the leader of the military junta in Niger, General Abderrahmane Chiani, refused to meet them.

The military council spokesman said, in a statement broadcast on state television, that the leaders of the military council met with the American delegation only out of courtesy and described their tone - the tone of the delegation members - as condescending.

Anneliese Bernard, a former US State Department official who specializes in African affairs and director of Strategic Stabilization Advisors, said: “The last visit failed and the United States needs to take a critical look at how it practices diplomacy, not only in Niger but in the entire region.”

She added: "What is happening in Niger and the Sahel cannot be viewed continuously in a vacuum as we always do. The United States government tends to look at things from a specific perspective. We cannot deny that our deteriorating relations in other parts of the world: the Gulf, Israel and others, all have their share." "A significant impact on our bilateral relations in West Africa."

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