Supporters of Niger’s ruling junta hold a Russian flag.

The recent decision by the military junta ruling Niger to revoke the country’s security partnership with the U.S was just the latest in a series of developments that have remade the geopolitical landscape of West Africa. The result is a more competitive playing field for the outside powers seeking influence in the volatile region.

Lt. Col. Assimi Goita, the leader of Mali’s ruling military junta.

Mali’s military junta imposed an indefinite ban last week on political activities, the latest of a series of crackdowns in recent months on freedom of association and other civil liberties. Last week’s decree is the latest indicator that Mali’s “interim” government is anything but “interim” and has little desire to relinquish power.