Der Report der International Crisis Group mit dem oben genannten Titel beschreibt das informelle Geflecht von Beziehungen rund um den Schmuggel von Drogen, Gold und Migrant*innen im nördlichen Niger, welches durch die europäischen Interventionen – vor allem durch die mit Milliarden Euro erkauften Einschränkungen des Migration-Business – empfindlich gestört wurde. Von diesem Geld ist in Nord-Niger kaum etwas angekommen, das labile Gleichgewicht zwischen lokaler Bevölkerung, Staat und Militär wurde empfindlich gestört.
What’s new? Niger’s informal systems for managing violence related to drug, gold and people trafficking in the country’s north are under strain – due in part to European pressure to curb migration and in part to increased competition over drug transport routes. The discovery of gold could bring new challenges.
Why does it matter? Tacit understandings between the authorities and traffickers pose dangers, namely the state’s criminalisation as illicit trade and politics become more intertwined. But the collapse of those understandings would be still more perilous: if trafficking disputes descend into strife, they could destabilise Niger as they have neighbouring Mali.
What should be done? Niger should reinforce its conflict management systems. Action against traffickers should focus on those who are heavily armed or engage in violence. Niamey and external actors should reinvigorate the north’s formal economy. European leaders should ensure that their policies avoid upsetting practices that have allowed Niger to escape major bloodshed.
In der Zusammenfassung heißt es, an die europäische Adresse gerichtet:
Niger is not like Mali, where the state’s position with respect to drug trafficking in the country’s north – absent, on one hand, and complicit, on the other – has fuelled conflict. By contrast, state actors and related power networks in Niger have managed contraband flows relatively peaceably, though some of the compacts between the state and traffickers are fraying. The EU has had some success in curbing migration flows but aggressively aiming to eradicate them further and ending other forms of trafficking in Niger is neither realistic nor desirable. A more pragmatic goal, which political elites including northerners integrated into the state have been doing their best to pursue, is to curtail violence that competition over illicit commerce produces.
Niger and foreign powers should better coordinate their policy responses. They should minimise the risk that interventions upset the delicate balances that often help maintain calm and ensure that conflict-sensitive development programs accompany efforts to tackle illicit economies in the north.