Africa: Cooperation with juntas has been the main way for Russia to gain influence in the Sahel

HIBAPRESS-RABAT- African Center for Strategic Studies

The realistic proposition is that Western countries must prioritize short-term economic and security interests over democratic values ​​and principles.

Today, in the case of the Sahelian juntas, it is difficult to see how these interests are defended, even in the short term. Security, economic and migration interests have all deteriorated under military rule.

The compromises made by ECOWAS and the West have only emboldened these regimes. Any further accommodation with the juntas will only exacerbate these trends while allowing the juntas – including would-be putschists elsewhere – to achieve their main objective: retaining power indefinitely and at any cost. The validation of juntas also directly plays into Russia’s hands.

Cooperation with juntas has been the main way for Russia to gain influence in the Sahel. In its wake, Russia has left a trail of instability whose costs will be borne by citizens of the affected countries, the wider region and Europe for years to come.

The West should not make the situation worse by adopting the facile calls for accommodation from juntas which, lacking resources and political legitimacy, have at best a tenuous grip on power.

Even if accommodation proves to be a propitious undertaking, the damage it would do to the credibility of the West cannot be ignored, nor its ramifications downplayed.

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