Since the beginning of 2020, and specifically during the last three months, northern Cameroon has been witnessing a clear escalation in terrorist attacks carried out by Boko Haram’s militants. This reflects the great danger that the group has come to pose to the border areas in the Lake Chad region despite the efforts made by the military forces and the security services to fight that group in the countries that the group plans to target.
China’s interests in West Africa face growing terrorist threats, especially after its citizens and companies were subject to kidnappings and extortion operations during 2020. These developments coincide with the failure of French efforts to stop the expansion of terrorist organisations, and the tendency by the US to reduce its military presence in the region, while demands by Chinese companies are on the rise for a security role for China in protecting their interests in the African continent.
Niger has been the subject of considerable regional and international attention, given its prominent role in the war on terror in the Sahel, the Sahara, and West Africa. Niger occupies a geostrategic position, which is affected by the crises in neighboring States, such as Libya, and in the wider region. The army is also involved in regional and international efforts to combat terrorist and extremist organizations in the region, with the aim of restoring regional security and stability.
Niger therefore has all the ingredients required to make it a reliable partner and essential ally in the region for the major powers, especially with regard to combatting terrorism in the Sahel and the Sahara, given the international scramble to intervene in the region. Despite its relatively weak capabilities and the challenges that will have to be overcome, Niger may find itself with a significant role to place in the region in upcoming months that will strengthen its position in the Sahel and the Sahara.
Turkey continues its relentless pursuit of developing its African relations, especially in the Sahel and Sahara region and the western part of the continent, with the aim of building multiple partnerships in order to achieve its strategic objectives that centre around finding a foothold in this strategic part of the continent and contributing to the re-engineering of the regional equation in the Sahel and Sahara. Naturally, this is done in light of the urgency of some issues that are intertwined in defining Turkey's relationship with the Arab world, Europe and Africa, such as the growing phenomenon of terrorism and terrorist organisations in the Sahel and West Africa, the continuing illegal migration crisis to Europe, as well as the scrambling of some European powers in the Sahel and Sahara, such as France and Germany, in addition to Turkey’s continuous attempts to influence the Libyan file with the aim of strengthening its influence in Libya and encircling the strategic interests of local, regional and international powers that are opposed to Turkey's negative role there.
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