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The Wagner Group and Instability in the Sahel

What are the implications of an increasingly more Russia-aligned Sahel region?

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In mid-March, Niger’s ruling military junta announced that it was immediately revoking a legal agreement between the governments of Niger and the US that had allowed US military personnel and civilian staff to be forward stationed there. This agreement was the legal underpinning that gave the US access to play a major enabling role in the series of counter-terror operations that have been ongoing in the greater Sahel region since 2013 (beyond the US, France, as well as many EU countries, have conducted significant military operations in the Sahel for over a decade).

This recent event matters quite a lot: with the recent pronouncement of the military junta in Niger now nullifying the agreement, geopolitical winds in the Sahel are changing. Many of the countries of this region are shifting away from their relationships with the West and are becoming increasingly more aligned with Russia, not only politically but also economically and commercially. What are the implications for the West?

Let’s dive in.

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