As African countries become more disenfranchised by the West, Niger became the latest to demand U.S. troops leave their country. Despite the U.S. referring to both countries as key partners in the so-called ‘war on terror’ recent coups and new leadership in the Sahel region in Africa want the U.S. out due to the exploitation of people and resources in the area.

Meanwhile, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) seems disturbed by letting sovereign nations dictate their futures. In a floor speech on Monday, Gaetz called on the Biden administration to “resupply” nearly 1,000 troops who are behind schedule to leave rather than ensuring their safety and demanding they be expeditiously evacuated from the country. In his speech, he mentioned targeting Nigerien leaders and their families with a “strike package” to send a message.

On April 24, the Department of State issued a press release discussing the “orderly and responsible withdrawal of U.S. forces” from the central African nation with a population of over 26 million. This represents a larger trend as U.S. and French troops have been asked to leave several African countries. The U.S. military recently left Chad and French forces have been kicked out of Mali and Burkina Faso in the last year alone.

As U.S. troops leave the region, governments have turned to Russia for help. Making diplomatic relations more complicated is that Russian military advisors have now arrived at the airbase in Niger that is currently housing U.S. troops. According to Reuters who spoke to a U.S. defense official on the condition of anonymity, they said, “(The situation) is not great but in the short-term manageable.”

Russia quickly stepped in and replaced much of the West’s military capacity in the region to help combat groups allegedly linked to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State which have taken over vast expanses of land displacing millions of people south of the Sahara. Russian President Vladimir Putin has strengthened relations with African nations by pitching the country as economically friendly and collaborative with none of the colonial baggage of the West.

Meanwhile, Russian soldiers being housed alongside U.S. troops wasn’t an issue for Gaetz in his floor speech. Instead, his concerns are centered around the U.S. training foreign military leaders that undermine U.S. dominance on the African continent. Gaetz’s focus on Niger dates back to 2023 when he questioned the commander of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) General Michael Langley during a House Armed Services Committee hearing about that training in various countries throughout the continent.

His questioning echoed Latin American leaders who sounded the alarm about the School of the Americas (SOA) which has since been renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC). The SOA has trained tens of thousands of Latin Americans including some of the most brutal human rights abusers such as Salvadoran death-squad leader Roberto D’Aubuisson and Panama’s Manual Noriega. The similarities are stark.

What Gaetz may not realize is that he portrayed the United States as being what he claimed Nigerien leaders were when he said they were “thugs” and that Niger is a third-world country. And in a Congress where two members, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) have been indicted on foreign bribery charges, Gaetz’s focus on resupplying troops instead of ensuring their safety by getting them out of there comes off as suspect.

What these disruptions of the colonization machine mean for the U.S. in Africa remains to be seen as warmongering comes to the forefront.

The Antagonist Magazine is a project made up of journalists, activists, and writers focused on amplifying the stories of marginalized communities. The goal is to educate the public by sharing narratives focused on independent voices. Born of an online community in 2019, our platform operates independently; free of corporate influence. Please consider supporting the work of dozens of writers from various communities.

Arturo Dominguez

Arturo is an anti-racist political nerd. He is an upcoming author, journalist, advocate for social justice, and a married father of three. He is a top writer on Medium and a regular contributor to several news media outlets. He writes educational and informative material about systemic racism, white supremacy, and racial injustice.

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