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“On Sunday, the coup leaders in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso announced the withdrawal of their countries from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). In a joint statement, the three military heads of states said it was a “sovereign decision” to leave ECOWAS “without delay,” because of the “inhumane” sanctions imposed against their countries. They also accused ECOWAS of having “moved away from the ideals of its founding fathers and Pan-Africanism”; claiming that the bloc is now “under the influence of foreign powers.” ECOWAS, according to the military leaders, “notably failed to assist these states in their existential fight against terrorism and insecurity” (…)”

Now to the Russian angle. In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Monday, former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, argued that Russia may be “emboldening these three countries to break up ECOWAS as part of the attempt to weaken what one will call the western influence in this part of the world.” Yet, according to Akinyemi, “Russia has not shown that it has the capability to help these three countries to combat the jihadists, the Tuaregs, the ISIS who are running wild in the Sahel.” To the respected diplomat, Nigeria and the regional bloc now contend with a crisis, essentially “because these three countries, in terms of landmass, that’s about half of ECOWAS. So, we’re not dealing with just a little hiccup on our hands.”

Regarding allegations by the three countries that ECOWAS is being teleguided by foreign powers, Akinyemi said it was clear what they mean. “You know the power that they are referring to, and presumably, the fact that our president is in France at the moment kind of reinforces this fear in their minds that the ECOWAS policies are actually French policies,” said Akinyemi. “We’re going to need some clever steps, diplomatically on this matter, and I think that ECOWAS needs some fast thinking to make sure that this situation does not get out of hand.”

“I am aware that Russia is investing considerable resources (mostly non-financial apart from wheat donations) to gain a stronger foothold in a number of African countries. Russia has been deploying two vehicles: Military through the Wagner mercenary group and media propaganda, especially against France. In practically all the French speaking countries on the continent, local social media influencers are being contracted to spread pro-Russia (and anti-France) propaganda. “I manage the cyberwar, the media war… and (the late Wagner leader, Yevgeny) Prigozhin conducts military activities,” Luc Michel, who heads the media machine told BBC two years ago. “I think that Russia must replace the French in all of Africa.” (…)”

The geopolitician Luc MICHEL is in fact the creator of a powerful PRO-RUSSIAN LOBBY in Europe and Eurasia for three decades, but also in Africa (where he was a precursor) since 2013. The influence and immense Putin’s popularity in Africa can be explained by lobbying work, which led to the creation of an AFRICAN RUSSOSPHERE, which influences the psychology of the African popular masses and marginalizes the pro-Western comprador elites. It is at the heart of this PARALLEL DIPLOMACY, the aim of which is to “test the ground where OFFICIAL PUBLIC DIPLOMACY IS WEAK OR LIMITED”.

“Most of Michel’s operations in Africa promote Pan-Africanism and anti-colonialist sentiments as a rallying point to support Michel’s central thesis: that African countries would benefit if they distanced themselves from their European colonizers and developed strong relations with Russia (…) The argument is successful in several African countries because it is based on real and widespread feelings among the population. »
Russia also relies on the support of several thinkers from the pan-Africanist sphere, an ideology which “advocates for solidarity between all African peoples, in opposition to a continent dependent on the West (…) A multipolar world, where « Westerners do not lead everything, this is the common fight of Russians and Pan-Africanists », according to Luc Michel’s theses since 2013.