German Military Allowed to Remain in Niger

After months of secret negotiations, the Bundeswehr will maintain a military presence in Niger, Germany’s Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday. The military hopes to negotiate the establishment of a permanent base in Niger’s capital, Niamey.

Pulling out: Niger has terminated many of its military cooperation agreements with the West in the past year and is instead increasing its military cooperation with Russia.

  • The French Army was forced out of the country after a coup in July 2023.
  • A military mission by the European Union will end on June 30.
  • The United States is required to withdraw its troops by mid-September.
  • In contrast, Russia’s first military trainers and army deliveries arrived in Niamey on April 10.

Germany and Italy will soon be the only two Western nations with a military presence in Niger.

Hub in Niamey: Since 2013, Germany has used the Niamey airport as a supply hub for its forces in a United Nations peacekeeping mission in neighboring Mali. German troops left Mali at the end of 2023 and were expected to leave Niger today, May 31.

However, the Defense Ministry negotiations ensured its military could remain. Negotiations are ongoing to turn the Niamey transport hub into a permanent “manned cold base,” though with a reduced number of soldiers.

Why it matters: Germany cannot lose its presence in Niger without adverse consequences. North Africa has huge strategic importance to Germany and even greater prophetic importance to Europe.

In the October 2023 Trumpet, we wrote:

North Africa is a front in the war over energy sources. As Europe cuts back on Russian gas, it needs an alternative. North Africa is the easiest place to get it, but Russia is motivated to complicate matters. And in the middle of all this is Niger: the last ally of the West in the Sahel. Niger is Germany’s, France’s and America’s last best hope of getting the mess under control. Or at least, it was. …

Watch for Europe to step up its efforts in this often-overlooked battleground. Watch for Italy and Germany to possibly replace France in taking the initiative.
—“Why Niger Is a Catastrophe for Europe