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A coup in Niger and why it matters

The coup in Niger could become a flashpoint for war – or the first step in a much-needed change in how the rest of the world treats Africa.

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A coup in Niger and why it matters

Hello, this is Darrell Castle with today’s Castle Report. This is Friday the 11th day of August in the year of our Lord 2023. I will be talking about the recent coup in Niger and why that change in a West African nation matters to America to the extent that Victoria Nuland, the mother of the 2014 coup in Ukraine, was dispatched to Niger to meet with the new rulers and lay down the law to them.

What is Niger?

Niger (Knee-ZHAIR) is a former French colony in West Africa with a long history of coups, revolutions, military rule and just about every kind of government by strong men that one can imagine. The French have tried with their military to keep order in Niger just as they did in Mali just to the west of Niger. When the French ceded independence to their West African colonies, they physically left but remained close to whatever leader happened to be running things.

Power abhors a vacuum, so when the French military was gone Al Qaeda and ISIS moved in. They threatened to completely take over the governments of both Mali and Niger. The French returned and began a war with the Islamic fighters threatening those countries. Both are desert countries populated by poor desperate people who live under the harshest and most close to the edge existence imaginable. The forces fighting for control of Niger and Mali want what they want. But the people just want to continue their lives in peace, which is a very old, seemingly never-ending story.

Niger, Mali, and mineral wealth

What France got from its many years in Niger was uranium, which it desperately needed to fuel its nuclear industry. France gets more electricity from nuclear than any other country in Europe. Indeed it has become a world leader in nuclear power and its development. Countries around the world who have some small amount of nuclear power often get their reactors from France and its nuclear engineers. That industry requires a great deal of uranium and France has no deposits of uranium. But guess who does? That’s right: Niger.

Mali, the next-door neighbor of Niger has a great deal of gold under its desert. France happens be one of the world’s leaders in gold on deposit. The battles between French Premier Charles De Gaulle, and US President Nixon over the value of gold and the exchange of US gold for French held US debt are legendary and led to some extent to the removal of the dollar’s link to gold in 1971. Natural resources are what Africa has to offer the West. So there is desperation to keep those resources from falling into Russian or Chinese hands. (Or, God forbid, remaining in African hands.)


A target for empire builders

The other thing, and perhaps it is most important, is Africa’s vital role in the drive for world hegemony. China is very active in Africa and Washington is very interested in countering that activity. China comes with money and an offer to Africa of infrastructure and sustainable development in return for the right to trade favorably and for the option of Chinese influence over that of the West. It all seems like a poker game where the winner ultimately collects the biggest pile of chips.

The Chinese initiatives are all part of the belt and road project which I have talked about in previous reports. When or if, the multi-trillion-dollar belt and road is ultimately completed, all roads as they used to say in the Roman Empire, will lead to China. In China’s eyes the whole world will trade with China and will ship China resources so that Chinese goods can be manufactured and sold all over the world. China’s offer is quite simple. Sell me your oil, gold, uranium, diamonds, rare earth metals, and the other things you may have under your soil. In return we will build roads and other infrastructure so that it can be transported to market. Your African laborers can have work digging the stuff out of the ground under Chinese expert management of course.

US and Russian involvement

In response, the US offers loans from the World Bank which are underwritten by Western banks. They expect payment at some point. If payment is not forthcoming then certain parts of the countries’ resources and infrastructure must be ceded to the banks or the controlling nations. Along with the Western offer comes demands of a political nature such as the recent controversy whereby the West demanded that Africa follow and obey the sanctions placed on Russia or lose all its Western funding. The Chinese make no such political demands which can be refreshing to people in need.

The Russian sanctions involve the loss of Russian fertilizer, about 30 million tons to be exact. This is desperately needed to grow food to feed the continent’s people. The only thing that seems to matter to the West right now is countering the strategy of Russia and China. Washington demands that the African nations, rich in oil, like Uganda and Nigeria, stop shipping it and stop building the planned 1445-kilometer-long pipeline to ship it to the coast. The pipeline would allow Uganda and other adjoining nations to enjoy an employment and economic boom from the 6 billion barrels passing through their countries.

The climate change scam

Washington’s efforts at helping Africa, or I should say its demands on Africa, include climate change propaganda. This usually involves restrictions on the use of fossil fuels and the like. Along with climate change comes submitting to digital technology especially involving health. In other words, you must be vaccinated to get the money. And of course you must fully embrace LGBTQ and all that entails. All these things and many others have sparked an interest in Russia and Vladimir Putin. As the coup in Niger indicates.


In Niger’s long history it has only passed power from one duly elected government to another once. And that was to the leader who was just deposed in a military coup. On July 26, of this year the president’s own military guard detained him. A general spoke on television and announced that he was taking control of the government and that he hoped to avoid violence. President Bazoum, a West supporting leader, was out and a very large man in military fatigues and sunglasses was in.

Niger and supporters and opponents of the coup

Most surrounding countries announced support for the leader of the coup with the notable exception of Nigeria. The regional bloc known as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said that it was considering intervention with 25,000 troops. Nigeria said that it would contribute more than half the force needed to return the duly elected leader to power. They gave the coup a seven-day deadline to release Mr. Bazoum and return him to power. But the deadline passed and nothing happened.

This coup was rightfully seen as anti-west, especially anti- France, and pro-Russia. Protests against French troops and their policies of interference in the internal affairs of host nations in part forced France to withdraw its military. This is now a dangerous and simmering conflict which threatens to explode into a continent-wide war. The US State Department has evacuated the American embassy in anticipation of anti-American riots or worse. The US sent Victoria Nuland to Niger to lay down the law to the uppity coup leaders of Niger.

Who is Victoria Nuland?

Ms. Nuland is undersecretary of state and a very important member of secretary Blinken’s state department. She is the person who is widely credited with the 2014 Maidan protests in Ukraine which resulted in changing the government from pro-Russian to pro -American. The long-term effects of her Ukrainian “coup” has been the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and the expenditure of more than 100 billion US dollars. Ms. Nuland went to Kyiv during the protests and brought cookies for the protesters. After it was over and her man was in power, she bragged that:

We accomplished this for less than five billion dollars.

She is apparently the state department’s expert on coups so she was quickly dispatched to Niger last Monday. The leaders of the coup refused to allow her to meet with the deposed leader. But she spent about two hours with the coup leaders who would meet with her. She described the military officers as unreceptive to US pressure to return the country to civilian rule.


They were quite firm about how they want to proceed, and it is not in support of the constitution of Niger.

Nuland told the reporters that her conversations were extremely frank and at times quite difficult. She described Niger pre-takeover as a vital counterterrorism partner of the United States.

Cut them off?

She said she made “absolutely clear the kinds of support that we will legally have to cut off if democracy is not restored.” US law requires that if a democratically elected government has been toppled by unconstitutional means, federal law requires a cutoff of most American assistance, particularly military aid. So, no more guns, bullets, bombs and so on and so forth. No more piles of borrowed cash for your leaders to stick in Dubai banks while your people starve. Her meeting was with General Barmou, a US trained officer, and three of his colonels. The coup’s top leader refused to meet with the Americans.

The reason he refused to meet was apparently because he was meeting with the head of Wagner Group. You remember the Russian mercenary army that was Putin’s primary striking force. The coup leaders want to hire Wagner to fight off any invasion or intervention by neighboring countries or Western nations. The Wagner meeting was in Mali and was confirmed by French journalists. The AP reporter was quoted as saying,

They need Wagner because Wagner will become their guarantee to hold onto power.

Wagner head Yevgeny Prigozhin called the coup “a justified rebellion of the people against Western exploitation.”

Niger becomes another paying customer

Prigozhin also jokingly thanked Victoria Nuland for sending him another good paying customer. Speaking of payment, how will Niger pay for Wagner mercenaries without borrowed money? That’s a really good question to which there are only a few answers. They could use money the US has already given them. Or money they borrowed from the world bank. Or either Russia or China could cover it for them. The other and most traditional way would be to cede part of Niger’s resources and infrastructure. Wagner is, however, becoming a fixture in Africa operating currently in Mali, Burkina Faso, Sudan, Mozambique, and the Central African Republic. Should ECOWAS attack Niger as it has said it would then that would be a declaration of war against all Niger’s allies according to the new Niger leadership.


What about the African people the ones who are living in Niger right now? That is a good question because Niger is a very poor desert country. Its people don’t have much and only want to live peaceful lives – or so it appears. Traditionally, African people live in brutal poverty while the political class enjoys the largesse provided by colonial powers like France, Great Britain and Germany. I started reading bloggers from Niger and Mali as well as watching some of their videos. One man in particular caught my attention. He has a YouTube video in which he appears in a military uniform.

An African speaks

He says we want to work with Russia because Russia gives us weapons and other benefits for free. Vladimir Putin is a great man of dignity and respect and he treats the African people as equals. There is a 23 billion US dollar debt which burdens them. Russia has agreed to cover it for them. Who does that kind of thing for someone except Vladimir Putin. Right now, the African people do not even have their own banks. So their leaders must store their money in Western banks. But Putin will help them set up African banks. Putin will let the African people be themselves and will not insist that they adopt LGBTQ which they don’t want. The West brought Niger HIV, AIDS, and its rubbish lifestyle but Putin will let them be themselves.


Finally, folks, the African people have nothing to say about which colonial power exploits them at one time or another. Russia brings military assistance and China brings money, trade, and infrastructure development. The West brings military protection and money but at a price. All the nations which exploit African people have their price; there is virtually nothing for the Africans. The resources of Africa should belong to the people and should be used for their benefit and not for the benefit of cartoon characters in fatigues and sunglasses and certainly not for the benefit of nations competing for world hegemony.

At least that’s the way I see it.

Until next time folks,


This is Darrell Castle.

From; appears by permission. – Ed.

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Attorney at Law at | Website | + posts

Darrell Castle is an attorney in Memphis, Tennessee, a former USMC Combat Officer, 2008 Vice Presidential nominee, and 2016 Presidential nominee. Darrell gives his unique analysis of current national and international events from a historical and constitutional perspective. You can subscribe to Darrell's weekly podcast at

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