Niger ist eines der am stärksten militarisierten Länder Afrikas. Die Vereinigten Staaten sind nicht das einzige Land, das Truppen in Niger unterhält. Stationiert sind auch Soldaten aus Frankreich, Deutschland, Kanada und Italien. Im April dieses Jahres fanden in Niger die Militärübungen mit 1.900 Soldaten aus rund 20 Ländern statt.

Explainer: the role of foreign military forces in Niger

[…] North Africa’s Sahel region, which includes Niger, hosts a number of Islamic extremist groups. The Sahel has been described as the ‘new frontier’ in global counter-terrorism operations. The US has a military presence in Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Chad as well as Niger. As far as we know, only Sudan and Eritrea do not host US troops. The Sahel has also hosted “a range of second-tier external actors” including armed forces from the European Union, Israel, Colombia, and Japan.

America’s involvement in the Sahel has its roots in the post 9/11 war on terror. In 2003 it set up the Pan-Sahel Initiative, which brought together Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger to train military units. In 2004, the initiative was replaced by the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership. The expanded partnership includes Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia. Its aim is to address terrorist threats and prevent the spread of violent extremism.

[…] Niger occupies a central geographical position in the Sahel region. Unfortunately for its citizens, the country is surrounded and affected by instability.

And then there’s the fact that Niger has historically served as a gateway for migrants between sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa. And recently, it has become a popular transit point for people seeking better opportunities in Europe. Countries like Italy are now deploying troops to Niger to prevent illegal migration.

Foreign armed forces in Niger train African troops, fly drones, build bases, engage in cross-border raids and collect intelligence.

The scope of these activities points primarily to countering terrorism and controlling migration. However, Africa’s growing potential for consumption, which explains the expanding economic and trade relations with the continent, offers a further reason for the increasingly diverse foreign military presence in Niger and in the region more broadly.

[…] Has the presence of foreign forces in Niger achieved the aims of combating terrorism and stemming migration? And at what cost? Have there been unintended and potentially dangerous consequences?

There is certainly a view that their presence has had a negative impact on domestic politics in Niger.

A report published in the months following the deaths of US troops suggests an increasingly oppressive and undemocratic political culture in Niger.

The Conversation | 09.09.2018

Warum es in Niger Soldaten aus der ganzen Welt gibt