US military seeks alternate West Africa strategy post Niger expulsion

Air Force General C.Q. Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is on a rare visit to Africa amid efforts to salvage U.S. military presence in West Africa following Niger’s decision to expel American forces in favor of Russian partnership.

Brown, arriving in Botswana for talks with African defense leaders, expressed optimism about exploring new partnerships in the region.

“We see opportunities with countries we’re already engaged with in West Africa,” Brown told reporters, hinting at plans to relocate capabilities from Niger to other nations. While specifics weren’t disclosed, sources indicate initial talks with Benin, Ivory Coast, and Ghana.

However, replicating Niger’s counter-terrorism operations appears unlikely after losing strategic Air Base 201 near Agadez.

The U.S. faces challenges navigating political changes in West Africa, where military coups are reshaping alliances. Analysts warn of a shift towards Russia amid strained U.S. relations with new regimes.

Despite the setbacks, Brown remains hopeful about future security ties with Niger, emphasizing existing diplomatic channels.

The U.S. withdrawal from Niger, scheduled by September 15, progresses as Russia increases its presence at the same base, albeit without direct interactions with U.S. troops.

“We’re evaluating our strategy in light of these changes,” a U.S. official commented, highlighting ongoing reassessment amid escalating regional security threats.

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