French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum for a meeting at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, France, Feb. 16, 2022.
Back in February, when French President Emmanuel Macron announced that troops from France’s Barkhane mission as well as the European Union’s Takuba task force  would be withdrawn from Mali, Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum raised eyebrows by declaring that Niger would welcome the French and European troops on its territory. Since then, legislators in Niger passed a bill that authorizes the government to host more European troops in the country as part of the French-led regional counterterrorism operations. But the move has drawn considerable opposition from a wide array of Nigeriens, including figures from the political opposition, civil society groups and [...]
Ghanaian special force soldiers taking part in the annual US.-led counterterrorism training known as Flintlock, patrol near base camp Loumbila, Jacqueville, Cote d’Ivoire, Feb. 16, 2022 (AP photo by Sylvain Cherkaoui).
Last month, Islamist fighters attacked a military post in Togo, killing eight soldiers and wounding 13 others. Benin has experienced at least nine recorded attacks attributed to Islamist militant groups in its borderlands since December 2021. And in a February incident in Benin’s northern tripoint area bordering Niger and Burkina Faso, a patrol team struck several improvised explosive devices, killing eight people, including four Beninese park rangers. The attacks point to a trend in recent years in which militant Islamist groups in the Sahel subregion of West Africa have increasingly targeted littoral countries to the south. That wasn’t supposed to happen. At the outset of the insurgencies that have undermined security in the Sahel [...]
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives for a ceremony, in Ankara, Turkey on May 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
Turkey is nominally a close military and political ally of the United States and other NATO countries, as well as an important economic partner to the European Union. But reading headlines in recent months and years, one wonders how close the Turkish government really feels to its western partners. Under President Erdogan, Turkey has waged war against Kurdish allies of the United States in Syria and Iraq, and supported militias associated with al-Qaida, Hamas and other Islamic extremists. It has also developed a somewhat close relationship with Russia, even buying a Russian air defense system despite strident opposition from the [...]
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