United States The Intercept has learned that he trained at least five members of the new ruling junta in Niger. America now haswere stopped“Security aid to that military-led government, even as it considers extending such aid to Burkina Faso, which is ruled by a military official who took power in a 2022 coup.

The Nigerian junta, which calls itself the National Council for the Defense of the Fatherland, seized power on 26 July and detained the democratically elected President, Mohamed Bazoum. Commander of the country’s presidential guard, General Abdurrahman Tchiani, Tianyi is also spelledWashington, has declared himself the country’s new leader, while Bazoum and his family remain under “house arrest of sorts,” Victoria Nuland, the US under secretary for political affairs and acting deputy secretary of state, said this week. Nuland and other US officials asked to meet with Bazoum in person while visiting Niger on Monday, but their captors refused.

Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks show He was a Lt. C.L. Abdurrahman Tiani was selected to participate in the one-year International Counterterrorism Fellows Program at the National Defense University in Washington, DC from 2009 to 2010. Over the weekend, another Nigerian rebel, General Mohammed Toumba, gave a speech to an enthusiastic 30,000-seat crowd. The stadium is named after Seni Konche, who led Niger’s first coup d’état in 1974. “We are aware of their Machiavellian plan,” He said Of those who are “plotting sabotage” against the “advancement of Niger.” five years ago, toumba addressed US military officers and African dignitaries at the opening ceremony of Exercise Flintlock, US Africa Command’s largest annual special operations counter-terrorism operation.

The Intercept had earlier reported this Brig. General Moussa Salau BermouWho was and is now the head of the special forces of Niger defense chief, also attended the National Defense University and trained at Fort Benning (now Fort Moore), Georgia. Bermau told this to Nuland on Monday junta will kill bazoum If neighboring countries attempt military intervention to restore his rule, a US official told The Intercept.

“This is a troubling trend, and an indication of how misallocated our national security spending is on the continent.” Senator Chris Murphy wroteThe D-Conn., on X, formerly known as Twitter, is drawing attention to The Intercept’s coverage of the latest in a long parade of US-trained military insurgents.

Two weeks after Niger’s coup, the State Department still did not provide a list of US-linked rebels, but a separate US official confirmed that “there are five people we have identified.” [U.S. military] training.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

“The US is using security assistance and military training extensively in sub-Saharan Africa. To do so means you are putting the United States in a position where it is caught in human rights abuses and malign behavior from local security partners,” said Elias Youssef, a research analyst with the Stimson Center’s Conventional Defense Program. “Our experience in the Sahel should be particularly cautionary. Over the years, we have seen a remarkable series of coups as well as deteriorating security, along with a rise in militancy, Islamist insurgency and criminal networks. I would be hard pressed to point to a success that would justify continuing down the same path.”

NIAMEY, NIGER - AUGUST 06: Mohamed Toumba, one of the leading figures of the National Council for the Protection of the Fatherland, attends and welcomes a demonstration of coup supporters at a stadium in Niamey, the capital of Niger, on August 6 .  2023. The 7-day deadline given to the military junta by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for the release and reinstatement of President Mohamed Bazme will expire before midnight on 30 July.  (Photo by Balima Bouraima/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Mohamed Toumba, one of the leading figures of the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Fatherland, attends and greets a demonstration of coup supporters at a stadium in Niamey, Niger, August 6, 2023.

Photo: Balima Bouraima/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

“A Model of Democracy”

In March, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Niger a “a model of democracy“even though the latest State Department human rights report on the country” mentionsimportant human rights issues,” including ‘extrajudicial killings by or on behalf of’ [the] Government.”

The State Department offered similarly confused responses to The Intercept’s questions about the coup in Niger. When asked about the training provided to members of the Nigerian junta, an unnamed spokesperson replied by email: “This is an emerging situation and it is too early to characterize the nature of ongoing developments.”

That spokesperson also emphasized that “the US government does not train the Presidential Guard.” United States and Department of Defense of 2017 and 2018″foreign military training report,” however, refers to “in country training” for members of Niger’s presidential guard.

“We are pausing some foreign aid programs, and will continue to review our assistance as the situation evolves.” blinken posted on x last week but also said in a press statement that the US is continuing some “security operation” in Niger.

After a military coup, US law generally prohibits countries get military help, but The Intercept recently found Mali still receiving security assistanceEven though the country is ruled by an American-trained officer who overthrew the previous government and his army has been implicated in the killing of civilians. Military officials overthrew Burkina Faso’s government twice in 2022, but the U.S. training continues Burkinabe forces According to General Michael Langley, the head of Africa Command or AFRICOM. In April, less than a month after Langley informed members of the House Armed Services Committee about continued support, the Burkinabe military reportedly Massacred at least 156 civiliansIncluding 45 children in Karma village. Langley has also argued against constraints on US military aid after the coup.

On Monday, Nuland met with Barmou, and warned the new defense chief that “we will have to legally stop economic and other forms of support if democracy is not restored.” Bermau – whom the American commandos helped set up the first special mobile units Designed to target terrorist groups and criminal gangs – was clearly ineffective. “They are very firm in their approach on how they want to proceed,” Nuland saidsaying that “it was tough today, and I’ll be frank about it.”

At least 14 US-trained officers have taken part in coups in West Africa since 2008.

Last year, The Intercept asked Nuland What was the US doing to slow the parade of African officers overthrowing the very governments it trains them to protect? “Nick, that’s a great comment you made,” she replied. “Some of the people involved in these coups have received some American training, but far from all of them.” Since then, five more American-trained officers have joined the coup. Reports from The Intercept indicate that at least 14 US-trained officers have participated in coups in West Africa since 2008.

Niger - July 27 : (----Editorial Use Only - Mandatory Credits - 'ORTN/Tele Sahel/Handout' - No Marketing, No Advertising Campaign - Distributed as a Service to Subscribers----) A video A screen grab shows soldiers who went on national TV to announce the ouster of President Mohamed Bazoum in Niger, July 27, 2023.  Calling themselves the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CLSP), they read the coup statement in a video they shot.  and aired on state television ORTN.  (Photo by ORTN/Tele Sahel/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Screen grab taken from a video shows soldiers who appeared on national TV to announce the ouster of President Mohamed Bazoum in Niger, July 27, 2023.

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

ineffective and counterproductive

Senior State Department and Pentagon OfficialsMeanwhile, reportedly lobbying to increase security support Burkina Faso, which neighbors Niger, at a time when human rights defenders and journalists say the government is cracking down on critical voices and forced disappearance Are on the rise,

“It is getting worse. A journalist working in Burkina Faso told The Intercept on condition of anonymity because of fear for his safety, the government is stifling free speech. “People who speak up are being abducted. The situation is scary.”

Biden administration under pressure to increase security aid to Burkina Faso despite US-trained coup last year Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba, who was swiftly overthrown by another military officer, Captain Ibrahim Traoré. Last September, The Intercept asked AFRICOM whether Traoré had also been trained by the US, “We’re looking into it,” said AFRICOM spokeswoman Kelly Cahalan, noting that the command was “potentially” with him. was “still investigating” the engagements. Kahlan wrote, “I’ll let you know when I have an answer.” There was no response to a request for an update this week.

Experts say the US track record of pouring money into foreign militaries instead of making long-term investments in humanitarian aid, strengthening civil society and strengthening democratic institutions has been short-sighted and detrimental to broader American objectives. They also question the United States’ ability to build a foreign military capability, which the Pentagon sees as a task core competency,

“When you look at the big picture, from Afghanistan to Somalia to Burkina Faso, the U.S. government’s funding and training of other countries’ military and police forces in the fight against terrorism is largely without regard to the pursuit of meaningful security. ineffective and counterproductive. Americans or anyone else around the world,” Stephanie Sewell, co-director of the Cost of War Project at Brown University, told The Intercept.

Ukrainian soldiers have been trained by the US and its allies faltered during the long-awaited counter-attack Against Russian forces, the quality of instruction and the efficacy of tens of billions of dollars in US aid are being questioned. In 2021, an Afghan army built, trained, advised and armed by the United States 20 years Ended up in front of Taliban forces. In 2015, the Pentagon committed a $500 million effort to train and equip Syrian rebels, Hope To produce 15,000 fighters in three years, only a few dozen were received before being built put an end to by the United States. A year ago, the US – building, training and funding an Iraqi army – was worth at least $25 billion. routed by the very small forces of the Islamic State.

In West Africa in particular, Joseph said, security assistance has not been linked to a more diverse whole-of-government approach. “It really shows the lack of tools in the toolkit that the United States has in this part of the world. It is a mechanism the US thinks it has to exert influence and leverage in foreign policy, but it turns out to be a very poor tool, especially in a place like the Sahel, where even militaries are a threat to civilian government. are being made.

Update: August 10, 2023, 1:44 pm ET
This article has been updated to include the junta’s threat to execute the Nigerian president Mohamed Bazoum if neighboring countries take military action to restore him to power.

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