ECOWAS Must Listen to Niger and Refrain from the Military Option (Ivory Coast and Nigeria)
Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The regional bloc of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) must refrain from the military option concerning recent events in Niger. If not, the region could spiral further – given regional divisions.
General Abdourahamane Tianim, the coup leader of Niger, and others behind the coup supported revoking military cooperation with France and for ECOWAS to keep out of the internal affairs of Niger.
Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Mali are also emboldening Niger against the threats emanating from ECOWAS under the auspices of Nigeria. Ironically, Nigeria is beset by internal convulsions concerning Islamist terrorist groups that are also responsible for destabilizing parts of the Lake Chad region, ethnic massacres, the persecution of Christians, and endless corruption.
Voice of America reports, “The ECOWAS bloc said Thursday it had decided to deploy a “standby force” aimed at restoring constitutional order in Niger after its Sunday deadline to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum expired.”
Nigeria – and others in ECOWAS, including Benin and the Ivory Coast – are prepared to intervene in the internal affairs of Niger.
President Alassane Ouattara of the Ivory Coast (strong links with America and France) said: “Ivory Coast will provide a battalion and has made all the financial arrangements … We are determined to install Bazoum in his position. Our objective is peace and stability in the sub-region.”
Ouattara continued: “Today we have a similar situation in Niger, and I like to say that Ecowas cannot accept this.”
Omar Touray (the current head of ECOWAS) said: “… the Ecowas standby force (is) to restore constitutional order in Niger.”
Nigeria and the Ivory Coast should focus on their internal problems rather than going against Niger – which is supported by regional nations that also face ongoing Islamic terrorism, rampant poverty, and the threat of becoming failed states similar to Libya after NATO nations intervened and sowed more chaos.
The BBC reports, “Abdel Musah, the bloc’s security commissioner, told the BBC that ECOWAS would not allow the junta to stay in power during a transitional period like their counterparts in Burkina Faso and Mali.”
Concerning hostile statements made by ECOWAS, the new military leaders said: “Any aggression or attempted aggression against the State of Niger will see an immediate and unannounced response from the Niger Defence and Security Forces on one of (the bloc’s) members.”
Burkina Faso and Mali – in an earlier joint statement aimed at ECOWAS – declared, “Any military intervention against Niger would be tantamount to a declaration of war against Burkina Faso and Mali.”
Regional nations and the international community can’t ignore why so much discontent exists in Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, and Niger.
It is hoped that a solution can be found to reset the regional clock rather than confrontation.
If not, a can of worms might be opened by ECOWAS.
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