The dough is supposed to help them care for the victims of “Islamist insurgencies,” but as we have abundantly documented here, these countries have been singularly inept or indifferent in fighting these “insurgencies.” The money is really to try to keep these countries from falling completely into China’s sphere of influence.
by Daphne Psaledakis, Reuters, March 16, 2023:
NIAMEY, March 16 (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced $150 million in new humanitarian aid for Africa’s Sahel region during a visit on Thursday to Niger, a country Washington views as an important ally in the fight against Islamist insurgencies.
Blinken’s visit to Niger is the first by a U.S. Secretary of State and a strong show of support for an impoverished nation that has had relative success in containing rebel groups and managed a democratic transition in a coup-prone region.
“It will help provide life-saving support to refugees, asylum seekers, and others impacted by conflict and food insecurity in the region,” Blinken said in a statement about the new aid, which will go to Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Mauritania as well as Sahelian refugees in Libya.
Blinken’s trip is the latest in a series of visits to Africa by U.S. government figures as Washington seeks to boost ties with a continent where China’s influence is strong and many countries maintain cordial relations with Russia.
Landlocked Niger and its neighbors Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Chad are all struggling to repel Islamist insurgents who have killed thousands of people, displaced millions more and in some cases seized control of vast swathes of territory.
Groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State have carried out dozens of attacks in southwestern Niger, including some in which dozens of Nigerien soldiers were killed, but the violence has not spread across the whole country as it has done elsewhere.
Shortly after landing in the capital Niamey, Blinken met with people involved in a program, partly funded by the U.S., to disarm and rehabilitate defectors from extremist groups.
While violence in Mali and Burkina Faso led to military coups and a shift in alliances away from Western nations and towards Russia, Niger managed a democratic transfer of power in 2021 and has retained smooth relations with the West.
“They’re making the right choices, we think, to help deal with the kind of threats that are common across the Sahel. So, we’re trying to highlight a positive example,” a senior State Department official told reporters….
When thousands of French soldiers were kicked out of Mali during a dispute with the junta there last year, they moved their base into Niger….
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