The Looming War against Niger and its Global Meaning

On the potential consequences of an ECOWAS invasion for West Africa, Europe and the global rivalry between the Great Powers


By Michael Pröbsting, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 5 August 2023,




The aggression against Niger by Western powers and their local allies could provoke a major war within the next days. Such a conflict would have massive consequences not only for West Africa but also for the whole northern half of the continent. Furthermore, it would have important ramifications for European imperialism. And, finally, such a war would inevitably intersect with the global rivalry between the imperialist Great Powers of East and West.


This is all the more explosive since there exists already another ongoing major conflict of global relevance which combines a national liberation war with inter-imperialist rivalry – the Ukraine War. For all these reasons, the looming war against Niger deserves utmost attention by revolutionary socialists and anti-imperialist activists in Africa as well as globally.


Before dwelling on why we consider this conflict as regionally and globally important, we shall first summarise the latest developments. In this context, we shall also briefly explain the RCIT’s position on the coup in Niger and on a possible war against the new junta which we did elaborate in two statements. [1]




An escalating conflict




In our view, socialists could not lend any support to the military coup which the Presidential Guard carried out on 26 July, resulting in the detention of President Bazoum and the appointment of General Tchiani as the new leader. The coup was triggered by a power struggle between Bazoum and the head of the presidential guard, General Tchiani. The latter has been close to former Nigerien president Issoufou, who stepped down in 2021 after a decade in office. When Bazoum tried to replace Tchiani, the Presidential Guard responded with a putsch. [2]


In itself, a military coup which brings the army to power strengthens the bonapartist power of the capitalist state apparatus. And while putschist officers might seek popular support on one or the other occasion, they have no interest to hand power to the masses. Naturally, socialists could also not side with Bazoum, an utterly corrupted lackey of Western imperialism.


Nevertheless, one must not ignore that this coup – similar to other coups in Mali and in Burkina Faso in the past three years – has received support from sectors of the masses as it intersected with wide-spread popular hatred against Western imperialism, most importantly against the former colonial power France. This has become obvious in the past days which saw mass demonstrations in Niamey and other Nigerien cities on 30 July and on 3 August. Thousands of people chanted slogans against France and attacked the French embassy. The social movement M62 – which was repressed by the Bazoum government – even called for detaining European civilians until all foreign troops leave Niger.


It was therefore not surprising that France, the EU and the U.S. as well as their local allies – the alliance ECOWAS which is dominated by Nigeria – immediately denounced the coup and demanded the reinstalment of their puppet Bazoum. They imposed sanctions against Niger and set an ultimatum (until 6 August) after which ECOWAS threatens to invade Niger. Western powers would certainly support the ECOWAS invasion against Niger, as French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna already indicated. [3]


Against this background, the junta of General Tchiani said it was terminating the military agreements and protocols signed with France and announced the end of functions for Niger’s ambassadors to France, the United States, Togo and Nigeria.


A military attack of ECOWAS against Niger has the potential to provoke a regional conflict since Bamako and Ouagadougou declared: "Any military intervention against Niger would be tantamount to a declaration of war against Burkina Faso and Mali." Hence, we could see a war between several West African states in the next weeks.


In other words, a coup – triggered by a vulgar power struggle between two sector of the capitalist state apparatus – has provoked a major confrontation between Western imperialist powers and their local allies against a poor semi-colonial country. Hence, the Western aggression as well as the anti-French intervention of the masses in Niger which pushed the new junta to take a confrontational approach against the Western powers have opened a political process characterized by an anti-imperialist dynamic.


In such a situation, it would be criminal for socialists to stand aside. It is the foremost duty of revolutionaries and anti-imperialists to defend Niger against the aggression by imperialist powers and their local proxies. Hence, we stated in the RCIT statement: ”We call for an immediate end of sanctions. In case of a military intervention by ECOWAS troops (which will be directly or indirectly supported by Western powers), we call for the military defence of Niger and for the defeat of the pro-imperialist invaders. Likewise, socialists demand the expulsion of US/European troops from Niger.”




Regional and global ramifications




Without understanding the anti-imperialist character of this process, it is impossible to understand the regional and global relevance of the current events in Niger.


This is even more the case as Africa is a rapidly growing continent of 1.4 billion people. While it is home to a wide range of natural resources, it is also the world's poorest and least-developed continent – a result of centuries of imperialist oppression and super-exploitation. Social misery and political instability have massively increased since the beginning of a new historic period in 2008 with the Great Recession and the acceleration of inter-imperialist rivalry (with the rise of China and Russia as new Great Powers). This process deepened even more with the Great Depression and the COVID Counterrevolution in 2019/20. Hence it is no accident that Africa experienced 13 coup attempts − 10 of them successful − since 2020.


The coup in Niger has special relevance for Western imperialism because the country is home to some of the world's largest uranium deposit which is of crucial importance for Europe’s nuclear energy industry. One in three lightbulbs in France are powered by uranium from Niger. However, typical for Niger’s position as a capitalist semi-colony, its uranium industry is owned by a so-called “joint venture” between Niger and France called Société des mines de l’Aïr (Somaïr). 85% of Somaïr is owned by France’s Atomic Energy Commission and two French companies, while only 15% is owned by Niger’s government. [4]


Furthermore, after their expulsion from Mali and Burkina Faso, Niger is the last country where France and the U.S. have major military bases – including a huge drone base in the northern region of Agadez as well as a combined military force of 2,600 troops. Loosing Niger would mean for European and U.S. imperialism to lose a crucial foothold to control West Africa.


The Western powers and their local allies – most importantly the Nigerian government of Bola Tinubu which recently came to power via electoral fraud – fear that if they don’t crush the new junta in Niger, other countries might follow. In February, the junta of Burkina Faso had hosted a meeting with representatives of Mali and Guinea where they discussed the creation of a new federation of these states. After the recent events, it is likely that Niger will be invited to join such a project. [5]


Such development is worrying European governments not only because of the threat of losing political influence and economic gains but also because they fear another wave of migration. As we pointed out in the past, Brussels invests large sums and cultivates close relations with dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt in order to safeguard the imperialist fortress Europe. [6]




The military juntas are no progressive regimes!




Socialists have no reason to glorify the new military juntas in Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Niger. These are not progressive or even socialist regimes. Usually, they involve military figures who participated in the past years in the “anti-terror” operations led by France and the U.S.


In the case of Niger, we did already mention that General Tchiani has been a close confident of former President Issoufou who made Niger a key military foothold of French and U.S. imperialism. Another key figure of the putschists is Brigadier General Moussa Salaou Barmou, who is the chief of the special operations forces in Niger. He was trained in the United States at Fort Benning, and he’s been a darling of the U.S. government for many years. [7]


Furthermore, the junta leaders don’t have (and can not have) a socialist program of building a country ruled by the workers and poor peasants, expropriating foreign corporations and breaking with imperialism. They rather build a capitalist bonapartist regime which tends to look for collaboration with other imperialist powers like Russia and China.


We have seen this already in Mali where the junta basically replaced the French troops with Wagner mercenaries. And Captain Ibrahim Traoré has strongly expressed Burkina Faso’s support for Putin and Russian imperialism at the recently held Russia-Africa Summit.




Understanding confused consciousness of the masses in historical context




Nevertheless, one has to understand every development in its context since, as Lenin once noted, “the individual exists only in the connection that leads to the universal.[8] To judge developments like the current events in Niger, one must start from the country’s history as a (semi-)colony of French imperialism. If sectors of the masses praise Putin or have illusions in Russia, this is primarily a reflection of their hatred for the old colonial master. They hate what they know and hope for something which they don’t know.


Likewise, one has to analyse the developments carefully. Countries like Niger have been under control of French imperialism for more than a century. When a process of mass struggle for anti-colonial emancipation starts – even if it is combined with pro-Russian sympathies – it does not mean that the country has become a (semi-)colony of Russia. True, this could be the result of such a process if it takes place under the leadership of a bourgeois regime and if the masses don’t intervene against such degeneration. But the possible outcome must not be confused with the reality today, with the process as it currently evolves. The task of socialists is to intervene in such a process and to work towards its evolution in an anti-imperialist – and not only anti-French or anti-Western – direction.


Furthermore, to assess the situation in Niger it is not sufficient to look only to the top figures of the new junta but also to the developments among the masses. And here it is evident that the recent events, including the escalation of tensions with France and Nigeria, have provoked massive anti-French sentiments – something which socialists can not but recognise as a progressive, anti-imperialist development.


It is true that such progressive dynamic of resistance against the long-term colonial master goes hand in hand with some misplaced illusions in another imperialist master – Russia – with which the masses have no experience. This is an unfortunate development and socialists have to explain that Russian imperialism is no less an imperialist butcher than Western powers. Russia’s role in the brutal occupation of Chechnya and the Ukraine, its decisive support for the tyranny of Assad in Syria, its close relations with the arch-reactionary putschists in Sudan or with General Haftar in Libya – all that shows that authentic socialists oppose Russian imperialism no less than its Western rivals. Hence, the RCIT calls for the expulsion not only of Western troops but also of all Wagner mercenaries from Africa! [9]


Nevertheless, as materialists we understand that the masses – entering the struggle with illusions and confusion – hate the oppressor they know much more than the oppressor they only now from TV screens. We have seen similar developments in Bosnia in 1992-95, in Kosova 1997-99 or, currently, in the Ukraine. In these cases, people entertained massive illusions in Western powers. The task of socialists is the same as it has been in case of Bosnia, Kosova and the Ukraine: to patiently explain why the workers and poor peasants need to oppose all imperialist powers. But it would be reactionary and sectarian to stand aside from a just war of national defence because the masses have backward illusions or because an imperialist power tries to utilise such a conflict for its own advantage.




A war with a dual character?




If the conflict in West Africa escalates and a war starts, it is likely that it will not only involve European and American imperialism directly or indirectly but also – sooner or later – their Eastern rivals. It is clear that Russia – currently in the middle of a major war against the Ukraine as well as in a global conflict with NATO – would try to exploit the weaknesses of its rivals. The Kremlin has already its footholds in Mali and Burkina Faso (as well as in the Central African Republic, Sudan and in the Libyan territories under control of General Haftar). It is likely that sooner or later the new junta in Niger, which is already closely collaborating with these two neighbouring states – would also turn towards Moscow for support. [10]


Hence, a war in Niger respectively West Africa where Western and Eastern Great Powers support opposing sides would automatically give the conflict a global dimension. Without ignoring important possible differences, it could assume a dual character similar to the Ukraine War, i.e. it could be a just war of national defence by Niger combined with a global conflict between imperialist powers. [11]


In such a situation, socialists would have the duty to apply what the RCIT calls a dual tactic. This means supporting Niger’s struggle against the invasion of ECOWAS/France and advocating the defeat of the pro-Western forces. Naturally, such a defence would be limited to the practical resistance and does not involve any political support for the new junta in Niamey. At the same time, socialists must not lend support to any Great Power – neither France, the EU, U.S. nor Russia (or China) – and must warn against any interference of Russia in Niger.


The next days and weeks will show if the conflict in West Africa transform into a major war. It deserves utmost attention by revolutionary socialists and anti-imperialist activists in Africa as well as globally!


[1] RCIT: ECOWAS, France and U.S.: Hands Off Niger! Defend Niger against sanctions and military intervention! No political support for the junta of General Tchiani! Expel all US/European troops from Niger! 1 August 2023,; RSV: Niger: President Bazoum is Ousted in a Coup, 28th July, 2023,

[2] See on this e.g. Sam Mednick: French embassy in Niger is attacked as protesters waving Russian flags march through capital, Associated Press, 30 July 2023,; Nimo Omer: The global fallout from Niger’s coup, 1 Aug 2023

[3] France supports ECOWAS intervention in Niger, foreign minister says, France 24, 05/08/2023,

[4] Vijay Prashad and Kambale Musavuli: Niger Is the Fourth Country in the Sahel to Experience an Anti-Western Coup, 02.08.2023,

[5] Ibid

[6] RKOB (Austrian Section of the RCIT): EU-Tunisia: Down with the Anti-Migration Deal! No to the imperialist Fortress Europe – open the borders! Down with Tunisia’s dictator Kais Saied! 18 July 2023,

[7] Niger Mutiny: Another U.S.-Trained Military Officer Led Coup. U.S.-trained military officers have taken part in 11 coups in West Africa since 2008, Interview with Nick Turse, The Intercept, 2 August 2023,

[8] V.I. Lenin: On the Question of Dialectics (1915); in: CW 38, p.359

[9] The RCIT has published numerous documents about capitalism in Russia and its rise to an imperialist power. The most important ones are several pamphlets by Michael Pröbsting: The Peculiar Features of Russian Imperialism. A Study of Russia’s Monopolies, Capital Export and Super-Exploitation in the Light of Marxist Theory, 10 August 2021,; by the same author: Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism and the Rise of Russia as a Great Power. On the Understanding and Misunderstanding of Today’s Inter-Imperialist Rivalry in the Light of Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism. Another Reply to Our Critics Who Deny Russia’s Imperialist Character, August 2014,; Russia as a Great Imperialist Power. The formation of Russian Monopoly Capital and its Empire – A Reply to our Critics, 18 March 2014 (this pamphlet contains a document written in 2001 in which we established for the first time our characterisation of Russia as imperialist),; see also the following essays by the same author: 'Empire-ism' vs a Marxist analysis of imperialism: Continuing the debate with Argentinian economist Claudio Katz on Great Power rivalry, Russian imperialism and the Ukraine War, 3 March 2023,; Russia: An Imperialist Power or a “Non-Hegemonic Empire in Gestation”? A reply to the Argentinean economist Claudio Katz, in: New Politics, 11 August 2022, at; Russian Imperialism and Its Monopolies, in: New Politics Vol. XVIII No. 4, Whole Number 72, Winter 2022,; Once Again on Russian Imperialism (Reply to Critics). A rebuttal of a theory which claims that Russia is not an imperialist state but would be rather “comparable to Brazil and Iran”, 30 March 2022, See various other RCIT documents on this issue at a special sub-page on the RCIT’s website:

[10] The RCIT has dealt on numerous occasions with the inter-imperialist rivalry of the Great Powers. See e.g. RCIT: World Perspectives 2021-22: Entering a Pre-Revolutionary Global Situation, 22 August 2021,; see also our book by Michael Pröbsting: Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry. The Factors behind the Accelerating Rivalry between the U.S., China, Russia, EU and Japan. A Critique of the Left’s Analysis and an Outline of the Marxist Perspective, RCIT Books, Vienna 2019,; see also the following works by the same author: “A Really Good Quarrel”. US-China Alaska Meeting: The Inter-Imperialist Cold War Continues, 23 March 2021,; Servants of Two Masters. Stalinism and the New Cold War between Imperialist Great Powers in East and West, 10 July 2021,; for more works on this issue see these sub-pages: and

[11] We refer readers to a special page on our website where all RCIT documents on the Ukraine War and the current NATO-Russia conflict are compiled: In particular we refer to the RCIT Manifesto: Ukraine War: A Turning Point of World Historic Significance. Socialists must combine the revolutionary defense of the Ukraine against Putin’s invasion with the internationalist struggle against Russian as well as NATO and EU imperialism, 1 March 2022,; see also: Manifesto on the First Anniversary of the Ukraine War. Victory to the heroic Ukrainian people! Defeat Russian imperialism! No support whatsoever for NATO imperialism! 10 February 2023,


니제르에 다가오는 전쟁과 그것의 세계적 의미

ECOWAS 침략이 서아프리카와 유럽에, 그리고 세계 제국주의 패권쟁투에 미칠 잠재적 결과들에 대하여


미하엘 프뢰브스팅, 혁명적 공산주의인터내셔널 동맹 (RCIT), 2023 8 5,




한국어 Looming War against Niger and its Gl
Adobe Acrobat Document 129.8 KB



서방 열강과 그들의 현지 동맹들에 의한 니제르 침략은 수일 내에 전쟁으로 비화할 있다. 그러한 충돌은 서아프리카뿐만 아니라 아프리카대륙의 북반부 전체에 심대한 결과를 가져올 것이다. 나아가, 유럽 제국주의에 중대한 영향을 미칠 것이다. 그리고 최종적으로는 세계적 차원에서, 필연적으로 서방 러시아 ( 중국) 간의 제국주의 패권쟁투와 교차할 것이다.


충돌이 더더욱 폭발적 성격을 갖는 것은 이미 하나의 세계적 연관을 가진 충돌이 현재 진행 중이기 때문이다. 민족해방 전쟁과 제국주의 상호 패권경쟁이 결합된, 글로벌 파장 속에서 벌어지고 있는 우크라이나 전쟁 말이다. 모든 이유로 인해, 다가오는 니제르 전쟁은 아프리카에서뿐만 아니라 세계적으로 혁명적 사회주의자들과 반제국주의 활동가들의 최고 주목을 받아 마땅하다.


충돌을 역내 차원에서, 그리고 글로벌 차원에서 중요하게 보는지 이유를 자세히 설명하기 전에 우리는 먼저 최근 사태전개에 대해 요약 제시할 것이다. 또한, 맥락에서 니제르의 쿠데타 이후 예상되는 전쟁에 대한 RCIT 입장 앞서 성명을 통해 밝힌 있는 간략히 설명할 것이다.[1]




고조되는 갈등


우리가 , 사회주의자들은 7 26 대통령 경호대가 실행한, 바줌 대통령 구금과 치아니 경호대장의 국가원수 선포로 결과한 군사 쿠데타에 어떠한 지지도 없다. 쿠데타는 바줌과 치아니 장군 간의 권력투쟁으로 촉발되었다. 치아니는 10 집권 끝에 2021 물러난 이수프 대통령의 측근이었다. 바줌이 치아니를 교체하려 하자 대통령 경호대가 쿠데타로 대응한 것이다.[2]


본질적으로, 군이 권력을 장악하는 군사 쿠데타는 자본주의 국가기구의 보나파르트주의적 권력을 강화한다. 그리고 쿠데타 장교들이 인민적 지지를 구하는 경우들이 있을 있지만, 인민대중에게 권력을 넘겨주는 것에는 관심이 없다. 당연히 사회주의자들은 서방 제국주의의 부패한 시종인 바줌 또한 없다.


그럼에도, 지난 3 말리와 부르키나파소의 쿠데타들과 유사하게, 쿠데타가 서방 제국주의, 특히 이전 식민 상전 프랑스에 대한 광범위한 인민적 증오와 교차하면서 상당 부분의 대중으로부터 지지를 받았다는 점을 무시해서는 된다. 이러한 대중 지지는 7 30일과 8 3 수도 니아메와 밖의 도시들에서의 대규모 시위로 확인된다. 수천 명의 시위자가 프랑스에 반대하는 구호를 외쳤고 프랑스 대사관을 공격했다. 바줌 정부에 탄압 받고 있던 사회운동 M62 모든 외국 군대가 니제르를 떠날 때까지 유럽 민간인들의 구금을 요구하기까지 했다.


따라서 프랑스·EU 미국뿐만 아니라 그들의 현지 동맹 ECOWAS(서아프리카경제연합) 즉각 쿠데타를 규탄하고 꼭두각시 바줌의 복위를 요구한 것은 이런 배경에서다. 그들은 니제르에 대한 제재를 가하고 바줌 복위 최후통첩 (8 6일까지) 날리면서, 수용하지 않으면 ECOWAS 니제르를 침공할 것이라고 위협했다. 프랑스 외무장관 카트린 콜로나가 이미 밝혔듯이 서방 열강은 확실히 ECOWAS 니제르 침공을 지지할 것이다.[3]


이런 배경 속에서 치아니 군사정권은 프랑스와 맺은 군사 협정 의정서를 종료한다고 선포했고, 프랑스, 미국, 토고, 나이지리아 주재 니제르 대사들에 대한 직무 종결을 발표했다.


부르키나파소와 말리의 군사정부들이 "니제르에 대한 어떠한 군사 개입도 부르키나파소와 말리에 대한 선전포고와 다를 없다" 선언함에 따라, 니제르에 대한 ECOWAS 군사적 공격은 지역 분쟁으로 비화할 가능성이 농후해졌다. 따라서 안에 서아프리카 국가들 간의 전쟁이 일어날 있는 상황을 지금 맞이하고 있는 것이다.


요컨대, 자본주의 국가기구 분파 간의 권력투쟁으로 촉발된 쿠데타가 서방 제국주의 열강 그들의 현지 동맹과 가난한 반식민지 나라 간의 대결을 불러일으킨 것이다. 따라서 한편에서 서방의 도발·공격, 다른 한편에서 군사정권이 서방 열강에 대한 대결적 접근태도를 취하도록 밀어붙인 니제르 대중의 프랑스 개입, 가지가 반제국주의 동역학을 특징으로 하는 정치 과정을 열었다고 하겠다.


같은 상황에서 사회주의자들이 한쪽으로 비켜서 있는 것은 범죄다. 제국주의 열강과 그들의 현지 대리인들의 침략에 맞서 니제르를 방어하는 것이 혁명가들과 반제국주의자들의 일차적 의무다. 우리가 RCIT 성명을 통해 다음과 같이 천명한 이유다. “우리는 즉각적인 제제 종식을 요구한다. ECOWAS 군대에 의한 군사개입 ( 군사개입에 대해서는 서방 열강의 직간접적 지지가 있을 것이다) 시에, 우리는 니제르의 군사적 방어와 친제국주의 침략자들의 패배를 요구한다.”




역내 파장, 글로벌 파장


과정의 반제국주의적 성격을 인식함이 없이는 니제르 사태의 지역적·세계적 관련성을 이해할 없다.


아프리카가 인구 14 명으로 빠르게 성장하고 있는 대륙이라는 점에서 더더욱 그러하다. 아프리카는 광범위에 걸친 천연자원의 본고장이지만, (수세기에 걸친 제국주의 억압과 초과착취의 결과로) 세계에서 가장 가난한, 가장 발달이 뒤쳐진 대륙이기도 하다. 2008 대불황 제국주의 패권경쟁 가속화와 함께 새로운 역사적 시기가 시작된 이래로 사회적 고통과 정치적 불안정이 크게 증가했다. 과정은 2019/20 대공황과 코로나 반혁명으로 더욱 심화되었다. 따라서 아프리카가 2020 이후 13번의 쿠데타를 겪은 것은 우연이 아니다.


서방 제국주의한테 니제르의 쿠데타는 특별한 의미를 가지는데, 이는 니제르가 유럽의 원자력산업에 절대적 중요성을 갖는 세계 최대의 우라늄 매장량을 보유하고 있기 때문이다. 프랑스의 백열등 개는 니제르의 우라늄으로 켜진다. 그러나 자본주의 반식민지 나라에 전형적인 양상으로서, 니제르의 우라늄 산업은 니제르와 프랑스 간의 소위 합작회사 소마이어(Somaïr) 지배하고 있다. 소마이어의 지분 85% 프랑스의 원자력·대체에너지 위원회(CEA) 프랑스 회사가 소유하고 있는 반면, 니제르 정부의 지분은 15% 불과하다.[4]


더욱이, 말리와 부르키나파소에서 프랑스·미국이 축출된 , 니제르는 프랑스·미국이 주요 군사 기지를 가지고 있는 마지막 나라다. (북부 아가데즈 지역에 미군의 거대 드론 기지가 있다. 그리고 프랑스 군과 미군 병력이 합쳐서 2,600 정도 된다). 니제르를 잃는 것은 유럽· 제국주의한테는, 서아프리카를 통제할 있는 중요한 발판을 잃는 것을 의미한다.


서방 열강과 그들의 현지 동맹들 특히 최근 부정선거로 집권한 볼라 티누부 나이지리아 정부를 비롯하여 니제르 군사정권을 꺾어놓지 않으면 다른 나라들이 뒤를 따를까봐 두려워한다. 지난 2월에 부르키나파소 군사정권은 말리와 기니의 대표들과 회의를 주최하여 이들 국가를 주축으로 하는 연방 창설에 대해 논의했다. 이번 사태 , 니제르는 그러한 연방 창설 프로젝트에 동참하도록 초대될 가능성이 높다.[5]


이러한 사태발전에 유럽 정부들이 두려움을 갖는 것은 정치적 영향력과 경제적 이득을 잃을 있다는 위협 때문만이 아니다. 차례 대대적인 이주 물결이 것을 또한 두려워해서다. 이미 우리가 다른 성명 글에서 지적했듯이, EU 제국주의 요새 유럽을 보호하기 위해 튀니지와 이집트의 독재정권들에게 거액을 투자하고 그들과 긴밀한 관계를 구축하고 있다.[6]




이들 군사정권은