What you see unfolding is a new ECONOMIC bloc of Sahel states that will have nothing to do with France and or the unipolar world order. This bloc will rival ECOWAS.
Last Saturday the military leaders of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger Republic signed a mutual defence pact and this was announced by ministerial delegations from the three Sahel countries in Mali’s capital, Bamako.
The Liptako-Gourma Charter establishes the Alliance of Sahel States (AES), according to Mali’s Assimi Goita. The aim, they say is to “establish an architecture of collective defence and mutual assistance for the benefit of our populations.”
The Liptako-Gourma region is the point where Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger borders meet, and it has been ravaged by jihadism in recent years.
So, what’s the difference between this pact and the military cooperation pact the three nations signed weeks ago in the heat of ECOWAS’ threats? Well, here’s what Mali’s defence minister told journalists about the true nature of this new pact:
“This alliance will be a combination of military and economic efforts between the three countries.”
Okay, so something new is in the mix – “economic.” He goes further to say that “our priority is to fight against terrorism in the three countries.” Okay, let’s try to unpack a little. A military cooperation pact was signed much earlier and now we have a different pact that isn’t just military but has “economic” attached to it.
What you see unfolding is a new bloc of Sahel states that will have nothing to do with France and or the unipolar world order. This bloc is structured to function like and will rival ECOWAS.
As you already know, Russia is heavily invested in Mali and Burkina Faso. This is why Mali kicked out French soldiers in 2022 and the UN forces in 2023. Burkina Faso did the same as well. And Niger has also done it, only the French are refusing to go but they’re eventually leaving because something crazy is about to go down.
Let me explain further. As I said earlier, Russia’s presence in Mali and Burkina Faso is robust – in both military and economic dimensions. Very robust. Even when Niger happened, Russia had to send both military and economic aid, including the Wagner forces through Mali because that country has become like a “little Russia” in the Sahel.
But no matter how many fighters Russia sends or how much economic assistance they give to Niger, it can not compare to what they already have on the ground in both Mali and Burkina Faso.
So what they have done is to encourage the three nations to lump themselves together, symbiotically to an end that whatever Russian-inspired/funded military and economic framework has been set in motion in Burkina Faso and Mali, will automatically be beneficial to Niger.
French soldiers know what they saw on the ground in Mali and Niger before they agreed to leave. They won’t tell you but they know. With this new pact, they will now officially be made to see that same thing they saw that made them leave.
Russia’s fighting force in the Sahel which is heavily entrenched in those other two countries now has 100% freedom to operate in full capacity in Niger just like they do in Mali.
Certain military machinery that couldn’t come to Niger directly will now go there directly from Russia and not through Mali anymore because the Sahel “Trinity” is now one. Whatever direct access Russia had to Mali and Burkina Faso, they now have to Niger. Case closed!
Also, as BRICS begins to chat a new economic course for its member states to replace the hegemonic Western ones, this new Sahel bloc will eventually be plugged into the BRICS economic framework.
They’ll have zero need for ECOWAS, AU, or any other regional bloc established to serve the interests of the West, as Western hegemony on the continent continues to crumble like a pack of cards, before our eyes.
France has just been delivered a mind-numbing uppercut by Russia and its Sahel boys. Expect more Sahel nations to cave in and join the bloc, sooner than later. It’s game over for France in the Sahel & potentially on the continent. Handwriting is clear on the wall.
By Joseph C. Okechukwu (read more) geopolitical commentator, Nigeria