08 August 2023

Niger 'crisis': Blinken is blinking, Nuland is midwifing

Antony Blinken is concerned, poor man. The US Secretary of State, following talk of the current Niger leadership considering obtaining military support from the Wagner Group, told the BBC that ‘every single place that this Wagner Group has gone, death, destruction and exploitation have followed.’ Hold on to that.

What is referred to as the ‘Wagner Group’ is a Russian state-funded entity, the ‘Wagner Private Military Company’ controlled by Yevgeny Prigozhin.  A few months ago Prigozhin launched a rebellion following disagreements with Russia’s Ministry of Defence. Not surprisingly the Western media, which is largely cued by Washington, cheered Prigozhin on. The euphoria was short-lived. An agreement was reached, Prigozhin moved to Belarus but Blinken kept cheering. 

Blinken said that the uprising showed real cracks in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government and expressed hope that this ‘may offer Ukraine a crucial advantage as it conducts a counteroffensive that could influence the outcome of the war.’

The gains and losses of the counteroffensive are largely speculative. If you believe Washington-Speak, everything is going well and the outcome that would please Blinken is still possible. Russia Today will tell you otherwise. What’s important is that six weeks after the Wagner move on Moscow was quashed, the military group has sent shivers down the spines of several countries bordering Belarus. Latvia closed its border with Russia and along with Lithuania requested NATO for additional troops while Poland beefed up its border with Belarus with 1,500 additional soldiers.

So, while even the Western media has dropped the ‘Cracks in Russia’ narrative, the outcome at least for now is increased angst among Washington’s allies. Whether this would solidify Washington’s intended putsch on Russia or rather Russian sway in Europe or would result in the Russia-Belarus combine stitching up the Western flanks is left to be seen.  For now, Blinken isn’t talking about ‘cracks.’ Not in Russia anyway. He is worried about Niger and probably the African continent.  We will get to that.

Antony Blinken is someone who called for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He bought into the lie about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction or maybe he knew the truth and endorsed the lie. Having held senior positions in the State Department and the National Security Council from 1994 to 2001, Blinken, we can assume, was in the know about Washington’s quiet and not so quiet wars. He knows how the USA funds, arms and trains people in other countries to wage war on governments that don’t toe Washington’s line. He knows about US mercenaries.

We know about the Wagner Group, thanks to Washington-echoing media but these outfits rarely talk of the US equivalents. There are exceptions, of course. On September 16, 2007,  Blackwater contractors (well, mercenaries) guarding State Department employees entered a crowded square near the Mansour district in Baghdad, Iraq, opened fire and killed 20 civilians. At the time the US mercenary outfit’s ground forces in that country numbered 160,000.  Sean McFate has detailed ‘America’s addiction to mercenaries’ talking about the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of it, in an article in ‘The Atlantic’ published on August 12, 2016. It’s an excellent entry-point for those who want to dig deeper into the ‘Deeper State’ of US interference in other countries which of course includes US military bases, US-sponsored coups, ‘revolutions,’ and rigging of elections in favour of Washington’s political lapdogs all over the world.

This is why Blinken’s statement is so out of order. Let’s re-quote: ‘every single place that this Wagner Group has gone, death, destruction and exploitation have followed.’ 

The United States of America invaded twenty-two countries just in the last 20 years. ‘Vivid Maps’ claims the following:

‘[The USA] has been involved in declared wars against the United Kingdom (1775 – 1783 and 1812 – 1815), Canada (1812 – 1815), Algeria (1815), Mexico (1836, 1842, 1844, 1846-1848), Japan (1853-1854), Korea (1871 and 1950-1953), Philippines (1898 and 1899-1902), Cuba (1898), Spain (1898), Vietnam (1964-1973), Cambodia (1969-1973), Iraq (1991, and 2003-present), Kueit (1991), Oman (1991), Afghanistan (1998 and 2001-present). The U.S. also has been involved in World War I (Germany, Austria, Belgium) and World War II (Germany, Austria, Italy, Belgium, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Morocco, Algeria, Japan, Philippines, Papua New Guinea).

‘The USA has been involved in some form of military conflicts and acitvity in France (1798-1800), French Guiana (1798-1800) Mexico (1818-1819), Cuba (1822-1825 and 1917-1922), Greece (1827, 2014), Indonesia (1832, 1838-1839), Arcgintina (1833, 1852-1853, 1890)Peru (1835-1836), Uriguay (1855, 1859), Nicaragua (1854, 1857, 1896, 1898, 1912 – 1925), Panama (1856, 1865, 1988-1989), Lebanon (1858, 1982-1983) Venesuela (1873,1895, 1902), Angola (1860), Puerto Rico (1898), Dominican Republic (1903-1904, 1965), Ethyopya (1993-1994), Syria (1903, 2017), Honduras (1911, 1983-1989), Hiati (1914, 1993-1996), Russia (1918-1922), Croatia (1919), Guatemala (1920), Germany (1948), Taiwan (1950-1955), Thailand (1952), Egipet (1956), Laos (1962-1975), Democratic Republic of Congo (1964), Iran (1980, 1920), El Salvador (1981), Chad (1983), Bolivia (1986), Saudabi Aravia (1990), Liberia (1990, 2003), Sierra Lione (1992), Sudan (1992-1993) Macedonia (1993-1994), Bosnia and Hertzegovina (1993-1999), Burundi (1994), Albania (1996-1998), Gabon (1997), Republic of Congo (1997), Sudan (1998), Kenia (1998), Tansania (1998), Serbia (1999-2000), Kosovo (1991-2001), South Sudan (2001), Mauritania (2003), Sinegal (2003), Eritea (2004-2006), Central African Republic (2011), Uganda (2011), Yemen (2012, 2016), Jiordania (2013), Niger (2013), Poland (2014), Ukraine (2015), Lithuania (2015), Cameroon (2015).’

Could Blinken claim that death, destruction and exploitation did not follow in any of these instances?  He claims that the Wagner Group ‘brought nothing but bad things in their wake.’ Hmm. And the US brought…what? Life, construction and Christmas all around the year? No, Blinken cannot claim that the USA never brought death, destruction and exploitation to countries they invaded or intervened in through proxies.

Neither can Victoria Nuland, the current Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs who has been desperately urging the new Niger government not to get involved with the Wagner Group.

Nuland has not called for the ousted president, Mohamed Bazoum, to be reinstated. In fact Nuland’s plea comes after the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) threatened military action against Niger’s coup leaders unless they reinstated Bazoum. The new government has refused to back down and clearly Nuland isn’t taking the ECOWAS threat seriously. The deadline imposed by ECOWAS has come and gone and there’s no sign of military intervention by ECOWAS. Instead, Burkina Faso and Mali have declared that any foreign military action against Niger would be considered a declaration of war on them as well.

Prigozhin has made the pertinent observation on Nuland’s pleas to the Niger government to desist from talking to the Wagner Group. He points out that the thought of Niger-Wagner talks has forced Nuland to recognise a government it had not recognised the previous day. 

Nuland, by the way, is widely known as ‘The Maidan Midwife,’ for her active role in the Ukraine coup in 2014, which by the way helped create conditions for what’s unfolding in the region right now. And what’s that? Well, death, destruction and exploitation.

Many African nations now see the range of options expanding; in a uni-polar world, arm twisting was the name of the game. 'Things are changing,' they might very well be thinking

Blinken also told the BBC that the Wagner Group was taking advantage of instability in Niger. He should know. When has the USA not taken advantage of political instability? Indeed, has not the USA created instability in order to take advantage of the chaos?

The world in general ought to be wary of mercenaries, all mercenaries and not just the Wagner Group. The world in generation ought to be wary of intervention of any kind by whichever country, not just Russia. The USA however does not have the moral authority to whine, but that’s exactly what we are seeing. Blinken is fretting, Nuland is midwifing.  We are watching.