Alwaght- Niger military coup was not the first in Africa and will not be the last one, but it alone has caused changes at regional and international levels, making study of the reasons and grounds of the developments in this country important, and observers examine these developments from a series of aspects.
The head of Andisheh Sazan-e Nour Institute for Strategic Studies Saadullah Zaree in a press meeting titled ‘African Developments and New International Order’ discussed Africa and its considerable importance for big Eastern and Western powers.
Mr Zaree opened his speech pointing to the wave of anti-imperialism that started in Africa after Islamic Revolution of 1979 in Iran. He continued that the first signs of this revolutionary wave appeared in Egypt where a jihadi group eliminated Anwar Sadat, the signatory of the Camp David Accords. The next wave was pro-democratic and pro-justice and made its way in such countries as Algeria. In Morocco, too, Islamist groups managed to secure parliamentary seats. And in Tunisia, the Islamists formed government.
The political expert added that the third and fourth waves were different from the previous ones.
“The third wave emerged in Africa at the same time as the beginning of the third millennium developments and the scheme the Americans launched to divide countries, and a serious confrontation with the American partitioning plan, dubbed ‘new Middle East’, began to unfold. At the same time, we witnessed the resistance of African countries, especially Egypt, to the American ‘deal of the century’ which neutralized the project.”
The fourth wave was the Islamic awakening that led to ouster of stable governments in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya. And now we are witnessing a new wave of political moves in Africa that specifically seek to liberate this continent from under the security, economic, and political yoke of European countries. In the past two years, in the five countries of Mali, Burkina Fuso, Guinea, Chad, and Ivory Coast uprisings against France erupted, bringing about political changes.
The fifth wave against neocolonialism in Africa
Continuing his words, Mr Zaree described the fifth wave differently, saying that the current wave is more transparent and proportionate compared to the previous ones. Its first feature is opposition to Western colonialism, especially that of France. When coup occurs in Niger, it targets the French economic dominance of this state. Currently, the biggest raw material for European power plants and nuclear reactors is provided by Africa. According to data provided, 33 percent of French nuclear reactors’ fuel is supplied by Niger, while the revenues of this country are meager. Over 60-percent poverty rate in this country very well bears witness to this fact.
Also, the mines and other resources of Africans are plundered by Europe, and the West, which during the colonial period had political domination over Africa, has dominated home affairs of these nations even after their independence.
“Now some countries that are under the Western economic and political dominance have declared war on Niger. The statement of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for deployment of 25,000 forces for intervention in Niger demonstrated that Western colonialism still exists in these countries. In the past few decades, coups took place in Africa several times. Why are there sensitivities to Niger? This indicates the Western colonial dominance in this continent.”
West worried about spread of Niger coup to other African states
Mr Zaree continued that the Africans’ anger to France is not limited to this continent, adding that in addition to anti-colonial uprisings in Africa, in recent months there were protests of citizens with African roots against the French government's policies across France. Therefore, the Westerners are worried that the rising wave against the West will spread to other countries. They believe that this process will first start from the countries under the dominance of France to oust puppet governments, and then continue in the countries under the dominance of England and Italy, and finally Africa will find a new identity.
Actually, Niger developments have drawn the European panic due to the country’s geopolitical position and its huge resources, and also because of it being in the route of African oil and gas transit to Europe. Contrary to Western propaganda, what is going on in Niger is aimed at decolonization and the people of this country have burned the French flag with a large presence in the streets, and it is not just a military coup, but a broad popular movement against colonialism.
Western propaganda against Russia
Mr Zaree referred to the Western media propaganda against Russia in Niger developments with the aim of distraction of the public opinion.
“The Western media are trying to give Niger developments a Russian flavor to suggest that it is a foreign plot backed by the Russians, and that the coup in this country is aimed at replacing France with Russia and so with that process the nature of Niger foreign relations does not change and only its colonial relations change and the foreign dominance will continue this time under Russia. Actually, the West is using media propaganda to reduce Russian influence to colonialism.”
Looking at Africa’s internal developments, Russia has noticed the extent of the sensitivity and opposition of African public to the European powers in their countries. Since years ago that Moscow began to return to the global scene after recovery from aftermath of the Soviet collapse, it moved to massive presence in and partnership with wealthy African countries, mainly in Sahel states.
French moves to maintain its colonial dominance
The political expert further pointed to the extreme significance of Africa for France and the French moves to maintain its dominance and position in this continent.
“Since terrorism found new aspects internationally, France signed G5 security pact with Mauritania, Chad, Mali, Niger, and Burkina Fuso ostensibly with the aim of fighting terrorism. Africa has suffered a lot due to terrorist acts last decade, and the acts that groups like Boko Haram did in Nigeria and Mali, and killing thousands of people, terrorism rang the alarms as a security crisis for African.
With this pact, insecurity and terrorism were supposed to be checked in these countries, but in practice, terrorist actions surged. Documents were also published stating that only one issue is important for France and that these terrorists do not flow towards Europe, and the activities of terrorists in African countries are not important for Paris. For this reason, Africans realized that France does not have good intentions in the fight against terrorism, and this motivated the Russians to engage in negotiations with Africans on the security concerns, and consequently Russian private security companies such as Wagner stepped in Africa and established security relations with regional states.
Since then, African states embraced the idea that security cooperation with Russia is better than with France and they can improve security through cooperation with Moscow. This allowed a form of tendency to Russia that ensured them that if they scale down ties with France, they will not face a security vacuum and international interactions will be provided to them.
An opportunity to Iran
Mr Zaree described the developments in Africa as a good opportunity for the powerful entry of the Islamic Republic of Iran into this continent and said although African countries must embrace a big power to help overcome the current situation, in the long run, what will make their relations with the international environment stable comes out of experience and religious beliefs, and in this case they can play their role on the world stage. Therefore, if the Islamic Republic enters this region with a clear policy and using the experience and positive feeling that African Islamic countries have to Iran, it can use these developments to shape Muslim unity and the new Islamic civilization.
Russia in Africa is recognized as non-Islamic and having a hegemonic record, and African nations may accept it in the short run, but in the long run, they do not tolerate moving out of one power’s dominance and going under another's. But the Islamic Republic of Iran has proven that it is a helping hand for nations and it can enter African developments with an obvious logic and manage Muslim world interests in this continent.
“With the developments in such countries as Mali, Niger, and Central African Republic, we are at the starting point of African developments, and these anti-colonial actions will take place in other countries and the Islamic Republic should have active presence in them.”
Asked by Alwaght reporter that what plans is Iran has prepared for active presence in Africa after African tour of President Seyyed Ibrahim Raisi of Iran and what are the prospects of relations with Africa, Mr Zaree maintained that the president was received very warmly in Kenya and the country's president personally received the Iranian guest at the airport, something displaying Iran's position in Africa.
“The agreements signed in cultural and economic areas express the African will to interact with Iran. But we have not entered Africa proportionate to its capacity. Africa is important for France and the United States and they are ready to wage a war for part of it, but the Islamic Republic has not paid special attention to this continent since its victory over four decades ago. We could provide much of our needs in food and industry sectors from African states, but we did not pay attention to this issue. Despite the fact that it was Iran's fault not to broaden ties with Africa, the Africans have not gone upset with Tehran and are still receptive to the Islamic Republic.”