How Russia Came Into a Continent, Took Over Governments, Embedded Their Agents in Local politics, and Helps Facilitate Coups From Afar
By: Christopher Quiles
Africa has had its timely share of unrest and discord though out its history. On today’s front, Nigeria and ISWAP (Islamic State West Africa Province) to al Shabaab in Kenya and Somalia, the civil war that has been destroying Libya and Sudan with Omar Al-Bashir. It seems that there is war on all fronts ofAfrica and is clearly in need of help to from its Allies. Untied States has Africom which is responsible for U.S. military relations with 53 African countries. With that much presence, how is it that Africa has ISIS on all fronts of their continent? If America’s War on Terror campaign shifted to the War on ISIS why is America failing to help control or even acknowledge that Africa states are turning into ISIS Caliphates? While the U.S. fails to address the crisis, one country has slowly and steadily strengthened its position and became to detrimental to be removed.
Russia has long been involved with Africa and their countries policies and politics. Russia has a reputation for swooping into African countries hoping to reshape their politics for material gains. A Yevgeny Prigozhin backed candidate, a Russian financier, indicted in the U.S. for targeting the presidential election in 2016, emerged as the president of Madagascar. Another Russian, former intelligence officer, is now the top security adviser to the president of the Central African Republic. Not to mention the 8 countries that Russia has been caught interfering with in their domestic polices through social media networks.
When the two colonels, responsible for the Mali up rise, had been confirmed to be in Russia plotting for the coup (for almost a year). It shows how much influence Russia still has. Russia has long had ties with Mali from the 60’s when they got independence from the French.
“When Malians went out last January to ask for the departure of foreign forces in Mali, their objective was [to call for] Russia’s return”Fatoumata Coulibaly, professor at the University of Bamako
Now Russia’s influence is greater in the country of Mali. As well as the Wagner Group (Russian Mercenaries) in Libya. Also having influence in Madagascar and in Central Africa. It seems like Africa is turning towards dealing with the East rather than the West. They (Africa) have been trading precious minerals and materials as well as increasing fruits and vegetable exports to Russia. In return, Russia has imported more arms in the past ten years than America has in the last twenty.
” The qualities that recommend them for foreign training are the same ones that make them effective coup leaders”Devermont said weighing on why Russia is in focus in connection with recent coup in Mali
” One of the reason why Russia is so interested in Africa is to compete with the West. The more influence it has in Africa, the less control [there is] of the West.”Irina Filatova
Russian expert Irina Filatova, Research Professor at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow noted that the Kremlin and Mali have established strong ties and Russia has been supplying some military equipment to Mali.
With Russia all over Africa entrenching themselves in every facet of African countries. It is articles like “South Sudan plane crashes with crew of Russians transporting Cash” and “Cheap Weapons – no Questions Asked,” (referring to Russia selling weapons to African countries) that makes a subtle realization very clear and pronounced.
Africa and Russia are not going to stop anytime soon.
For example, in 2014, government soldiers in Nigeria were accused of human rights abuses against suspects in the country’s fight against Boko Haram. Afterwards, the US cancelled a shipment of attack helicopters, even though the deal had already been signed. That same year, Nigeria placed an order and received six Mi-35M combat helicopters from Russia.
Egypt is a similar case. After a military coup in 2013, the US started cutting military aid and arms supplies to the country. This left Russia (together with France, another leading arms exporter) with an open opportunity; the country quickly intensified arms transfers to Egypt. From 2009 to 2018, Russia accounted for 31% of Egypt’s imports of major weapons.