New alliance is a knock-out for Nato in the Sahel

Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, by founding a new Alliance of Sahel States, have started a revolution in the continent’s geopolitics.

Since the popular coup in Niger last August completed a trio of adjoining anti-imperialist revolutions in West Africa, the pace of decolonisation has continued to accelerate. Not only have French troops and organs of control been liquidated, but meaningful measures to enforce real sovereignty and improve the lives of the people are being implemented in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso alike. Steady moves towards greater economic and military integration reflect the long suppressed pan-Africanist roots and aspirations of the region which gave birth to Thomas Sankara and Amilcar Cabral.

Reproduced from RT News, with thanks.


For many centuries, Africa has been a theatre for atrocious operations, mainly devised and implemented by the western powers. These terror operations always have the same specific goal: looting African human, natural and cultural resources for the economic, cultural and political hegemony of the west.

In the 16th century, the first great systemic criminal attack the western powers launched against Africa was the organisation of the black slave trade. By deciding that black skin was a good criterion for discriminating between freeman and slave throughout the globe, the western powers created a prism for viewing humanity though absolutely absurd and insane biological concepts. Walter Rodney explains it very clearly in his essay How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, published in 1972.

In the early 19th century, Africa had to fend off the same western powers in a second massive attack, after their first capitalist accumulation, by enslaving millions of African people, had been accomplished. The colonial invasion of Africa by France, Britain, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium became a massive era of crimes against humanity.

After the Africans succeeded in their struggle against colonial occupation during the 20th century, notably with the help of the eastern bloc led by the USSR and China, a third attack was launched against Africa: a fake decolonisation process which occurred in the former French colonies.

On the one hand, French president Charles De Gaulle, who liberated his country from Nazi domination with the help of African colonial troops, formally acknowledged African independence. On the other hand, the same Monsieur De Gaulle organised a neocolonial system by keeping French troops in Africa. French West Africa was divided into fifteen countries, and control was maintained by the French central bank in fifteen African economies through the CFA franc, a colonial currency. France supported the worst African dictators as the heads of those states, and controlled African ideas through the Francophonie system of values and media.

Libyan trace

The birth of Ecowas (the Economic Community of West African States) on 28 May 1975 occurred in that context of continued domination. While Britain was reorganising its hegemony in Africa through the Commonwealth system, France was creating the system of Françafrique, a mafia of French and African political elites that targeted the rights and the lives of the African people.

Two of the main creators of Ecowas in 1975, General Yakubu Gowon of Nigeria and General Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo, were putschists under Anglo-American and French control. De facto, Ecowas was created under the big western alliance, Nato. All the Nato powers continue to have their hands in Ecowas affairs today, one way or another. The principles and rules of the Ecowas’s charter have never been seriously respected by its members, especially those who participate in its highest decision-making body, the conference of the heads of states.

Here is an example to illustrate the obvious weakness of Ecowas. When Libya was attacked in 2011 by Nato, which led to the actual takeover of the country by the terrorist forces of Al-Qaeda and Isis, no African political organisation considered the attack an infringement on African sovereignty. Even better, many African Ecowas and African Union (AU) leaders supported the west and Nato, and repeated Nato’s false narrative concerning Muammar Gaddafi’s government.

They pretended Gaddafi was executing his own people, and thus justified the Nato aggression. Their attack against Africa was led by the USA under Barack Obama, Britain under David Cameron and France under Nicolas Sarkozy. How can one understand that some African governments could later accept the so-called ‘help’ of the same country to fight terrorism in Africa? How can Africa accept cooperation in the struggle against terrorism with the west’s pyromaniac firefighters?

“As was suspected at the time – and was later shown in the published emails of Hillary Clinton – Nato acted to prevent Gaddafi founding an African central bank with its own gold-backed currency. That institution would have challenged the power of the dollar and finally allowed Africa to escape its colonial shackles,” writes Ellen Brown, an American writer and public speaker who is founder and president of the Public Banking Institute.

When, after the Nato attack, the terrorist organisations invaded the whole Sahelian zone, and notably Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Nigeria and Cameroon, these countries continued to cooperate with Nato in the AU and in Ecowas, while clearly knowing that Nato was deeply involved in the destabilisation of the entire African continent.

Main principles of the Alliance of Sahel States

Malian leader Assimi Goita, Burkinabe leader Ibrahim Traoré and Nigerien leader Abdourahamane Tchiani are the three inheritors of the pan-Africanist ideology in Africa today. Their political engagement is inspired by the works of the greatest African thinkers, including Kwame Nkrumah, Amilcar Cabral, Marcus Garvey, Franz Fanon, Cheikh Anta Diop, Theophile Obenga and many others. These leaders believe that there is no hope for the people of Africa unless they secure African sovereignty first and then act to fulfil this precise vision of Africa’s destiny.

This is why the creation of the Alliance of Sahel States on 16 September 2023 is a real revolution in African geopolitics. Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger have decided to rebuild the interaction in West Africa on radically different principles.

First of all, the three leaders came to the oath through revolutionary and internal political processes in their countries. Their legitimacy is not an external one, but the result of an endogenous movement of their people. In Mali, leader Assimi Goita appeared at the top of the state after a long struggle between civil political society and Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s regime. Keita’s system was fought by the Malian people for its corruption, its dependence to French and Western neocolonialism, and its inability to overcome terrorism.

In Burkina Faso and in Niger, the regimes of Roch Christian Kabore and Mohamed Bazoum were confronted by the civil societies for the same reasons. This resistance process of the West African people got inside the armies, and so patriotic, revolutionary and pan-Africanist forces emerged at the same time in all the bodies of these African societies.

The alliance is set to establish new West African geopolitics based on three principles: sovereignty, freedom of choice of strategic partners among the world’s powers, and defence of African peoples’ vital interests. Sovereignty is impossible without the security of those who decide. So, the reconquest of the three countries’ territories by their armies is a crucial priority. At the same time, sovereignty means accountability of the leaders of each country to the only sovereign, the people.

The diversification of partnership means the countries will not fight against terrorism in Africa while cooperating on the field of war with the western powers. That is why the alliance is deeply involved in military, diplomatic and economic cooperation with the greatest powers of the global south, aka the multipolar world. Clearly, the destiny of the alliance is to be involved in the dynamical construction of the Brics, avoiding the supremacy of the dollar and the euro.

Finally, the alliance is fully engaged with the internal dialogue between the leaders and the people of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. That is why the alliance is self-financed and works hard to secure economic and cultural cooperation, as well as political integration as a confederation of states.

When Ecowas threatened to attack Niger for the defence of illegitimate French control of the country’s strategic uranium resources, Mali and Burkina Faso stood up in unison to defend their Nigerien neighbour. They clearly understood that the threats facing Niger are the same as the ones they face, rooted in the slave trade and colonial aggression, as well as western neocolonial occupation, for many centuries now.

It is that deep memory of the shared tragedy of African history that constitutes the cement of the new African sunrise of conscientiousness and justice.

The difference between Ecowas and the Alliance of the Sahel States is obvious. While the first has many times shown its dependence on western interests and powers, the latter is working openly for a sovereign and powerful Africa, free in its minds, free in its hands, and able to shape the renewal of hope among all African nations.

We need, at the same time, to have a look in our own mirror. The most difficult part of the African struggle in the 21st century is to recover African genius through a critical memory of ourselves, and to keep our eyes open with a lot of lucidity to understand the reality of the game of this world’s powers.


The author is a writer, speaker and PhD in philosophy. He is president of the African Freedom Institute, Bamako-Paris, and professor of philosophy at the Catholic University of West Africa, Bamako.