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The Making of a Russo-African Iron Curtain

Russia

While all attention is on the Middle East and the Russia-Ukraine war, Moscow is securing key venues in Africa while Western nations withdraw or are forced out. Late on Thursday, Russian troops entered a U.S. airbase in Niger, after the new military junta there evicted the Americans (some 1,000 personnel) in the aftermath of a July 2023 coup. In an eerie development, both Russian and American troops are now housed at the same base, in different hangers, reportedly. Prior to the July coup, Washington was a key partner with Niger in terms of rounding up al-Qaeda groups in the Sahel.

Now, the Sahel–Mali, in particular–Libya, and Sudan are falling apart at the seams, and not only is this a major “in” for Russia and its Wagner mercenaries (2.0), but the unrest and coups are being supplied by Wagner, which has a new black market supply route running through Africa–not least of which includes smuggling Libyan fuel into Sudan to feed the paramilitary forces fighting against the Sudanese Army in a long-running civil war in which neither side can get the advantage. It also includes weapons smuggled from Syria into Libya–potentially in support of General Haftar (the eastern strongman), or they are headed further into Africa to another of Moscow’s proxy venues.   

This is where security will experience a regional breakdown. The developments in Niger removed a key U.S. base from which it conducted surveillance and counterterrorism operations, including in Libya where the U.S.…





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