Niger vs US: Direct Expulsion or Bargaining Chip?

On 17 March, Niger’s junta announced plans to revoke its military cooperation with the US, voicing its intention to cancel a mutual security pact active since 2012. It also underscored its prioritisation of growing partnerships. Especially with like-minded authoritarian regimes such as Russia and Iran over maintaining cooperation with the US.

At present, there are over 1,000 American armed forces and civilian defence personnel posted at Niger’s key counter-terrorism bases. Including US Air Base 201 – the existence of which is contingent upon amiable Niger-US relations.

This report addresses the future trajectory of US-Niger relations. It encompasses ongoing US diplomatic efforts, sustained Russian and Iranian presence in Niger, and the potential for aggressive negotiation tactics.

Key Judgement 1. It is likely that the US will attempt to salvage diplomatic relations with Niger rather than concede defeat to thwart Russian hegemony in the region.

Key Judgement 2. In the absence of a sustained US presence, Niger will likely pursue military collaboration or, at the very least, diplomatic engagement with Iran and Russia.

Key Judgement 3. Niger’s cancellation of the security agreement is unlikely to result in direct expulsion of American military presence in the next 12 months, but rather an aggressive negotiation tactic to extract further benefits from cooperation with the US.

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