Russia moves its war on Ukraine to African Sahel region
Successive coups in the African Sahel region, the latest of which was in Gabon, aroused the anger and fears of the West, especially the U.S.
Washington is afraid that these military takeovers would open the door for the presence of pro-Russian regimes in the Sahel region.
It is particularly concerned about the takeover by the Presidential Guard in Niger, which is commanded by Gen. Abd al-Rahman Chiani, and the ousting of President, Mohamed Bazoum, on July 26.
The Niger coup came hard on the heels of the coups in Mali, Burkina Faso and the Central African Republic.
In Gabon, minutes after the Electoral Commission announced the victory of President Ali Bongo for a third term, which began after the end of the 42-year rule of his father, Omar Bongo, a coalition of army, police and Republican Guard officers announced the seizure of power.
The same coalition declared the annulment of the election results; the closure of Gabon's borders; the dissolution of the government and parliament, and the suspension of the Constitution.
Strategist, Maj. Gen. Gamal Taha, said West African states have witnessed a wave of military coups since 2020.
Two of the coups, he said, occurred in Burkina Faso and Mali, one in Chad, another in Guinea, Niger, and finally in Gabon.
"All these coups serve Russian influence in the region," Taha told The Reference.
"These countries were loyal to the West, especially France, and in recent years shifted alliances to Moscow," he added.
Taha noted that African Sahel coups give Moscow a golden opportunity to expand its interests in the African continent and enable it to mobilize support at the UN General Assembly from new countries.
"This will help Russia break a state of near-universal consensus on condemning its invasion of Ukraine, as well as expanding Russian arms exports to these countries so that the coup leaders can strengthen their positions," Taha said.
He added that this would allow Russia to exploit natural resources in these countries as a price for arms shipments to them.