Mali and Burkina Faso have sent fighters to Niger in a show of solidarity against the possible military intervention by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), threatening to ignite a comprehensive regional conflict in the Sahel region.
The armies of Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso are all part of the military force of ECOWAS, which comprises 15 countries. However, the current crisis in Niamey has put the three armies in confrontation with the rest of the ECOWAS forces.
Burkina Faso and Mali, both under military leadership, issued statements in support of Niger against the military operation planned by the Economic Community of West African States to change the course of the coup in Niger.
Dr. Sami El-Sayed, a professor of African studies, says that the outbreak of war in Niger threatens the Sahel region and West Africa. He points out that war means division within the ECOWAS group and a weakening of its power among regional blocs on the African continent.
The Failure to Resolve the War
He added that the war threatens to expand the influence of terrorist groups if the war is not resolved and its duration is prolonged. It also represents an opportunity for arms mafias and illicit trade. The biggest danger is a wave of refugees that cannot be absorbed on the continent, which threatens Europe with significant waves.
He continued: The failure to resolve the Niger crisis threatens the escalation of operations by rebel groups in West African countries. It makes Niger a chance for these groups to receive support in terms of weapons and fighters. The struggle for influence and the interests of major powers may threaten to prolong the war and expand its scope, which poses a threat to Central and West Africa. This will put West African countries in a legitimacy crisis and repeat the phenomenon of military coups. Therefore, ECOWAS’s goal is to prevent the spread of coup contagion in the region.