August 10, 2023

Africa's Cycle of Coups

"War is not a river, or a lake, but an ocean of all that is evil." - Gustavus Adolphus, legendary King of Sweden and the "father of modern warfare."

Just as not all wars are evil, not all coups are bad. So it is disingenuous to condemn Putin's war in Ukraine and the domino of military coups in West Africa. 

The events and circumstances that preceded these drastic measures are either not highlighted in the media, or they are blatantly distorted.

Some coups prevent wars, a few end them, and others cause them. We can look to two recent examples; the 2013 Egyptian coup which ousted a radical Islamist party that would have surely destabilized north Africa even more than it is today, and the 2014 coup in Ukraine that was orchestrated by the U.S. to bring a radical anti-Russian clique to power and foment war in its eastern parts.

The coups in West Africa are not ideal, they're not a solution to the massive and multifaceted problems these makeshift nations face. But they haven't had the luxury of regional stability, political independence, and economic prosperity to think based on a long-term perspective. With Western-supported Jihadist groups nibbling away at their territories the militaries had to act boldly to save their weak and crumbling states. 


An excerpt from, "In the Sahel, 20 Years of War on Terror Has Created More and Stronger Enemies" By Laura Berlingozzi and Edoardo Baldaro, Italian Institute For International Political Studies, September 10, 2021:
As such, as some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy, the WoT has actually ended up transforming the very nature of African rebellions and conflicts. Portrayed as interconnected elements of a single arc of the jihadist crisis, Africa’s various insurgencies have appropriated — at least on a rhetorical and action level — the imagery and practices promoted by al-Qa'ida and IS. More or less stable and lasting “caliphates” have been declared in parts of Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Somalia, and Mozambique, and new threats are peeking out in the coastal states of Benin and Togo. Africa does not therefore represent the future front of the Global War on Terror: the WoT has already been waged in the continent for twenty years and has profoundly transformed its trajectory and future.