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What Niger-US rupture says about Russia and West's shaky future in Sahel

Niger’s decision to suspend military cooperation with the United States follows rising anti-Western sentiment in the region.
The last French soldiers board a French military plane to leave Niger for good, at the French base which was handed over to the Nigerien army, in Niamey on December 22, 2023. The last French troops withdrew from Niger on December 22, 2023, marking an end to more than a decade of French anti-jihadist operations in west Africa's Sahel region, AFP saw and Niger's military announced. The French exit from Niger leaves hundreds of US military personnel, and a number of Italian and German troops, remaining in the

Following several tense days of negotiations, the announcement from Niger’s ruling military junta about suspending its counter-terrorism agreement with the United States on March 17 poses new challenges for regional dynamics and security.

The Pentagon has not yet announced it will pull back its troops and says it intends to negotiate with Niger instead.

Should the United States withdraw, it would leave an opening for militant groups that have been the target of US military efforts, especially factions affiliated with the Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

The agreement, which was established in 2012, also encompassed various US investments. In 2016, the United States began building a $100 million drone facility called “Air Base 201” in Agadez, in central Niger, a strategic location over 750 kilometers (466 miles) northeast of Niamey, Niger’s capital.

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