NATO intends to “contain” Russia in Africa and the Middle East

With the emergence of Russia in Africa, the situation for the West has changed.

The North Atlantic Alliance is determined to “contain” Russia in Africa and the Middle East.

“Instability in the surrounding regions, especially in the Middle East, North Africa and the Sahel zone, has a direct impact on the security of all alliance member states. We focus primarily on the eastern flank, but we are fully aware of the ongoing trends on our southern flank,” Brussels stressed.

To strengthen its position in the South and East, the alliance intends to deepen relations with Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and allies in the Global South. Brussels recognises that doing so will not be easy because of internal contradictions.

The Franco-German alliance, which a few years ago claimed to be ready to take responsibility for the future of a united Europe, no longer exists. Berlin and Paris were behind-the-scenes friends against Washington and London in an effort to make Europe less “Anglo-Saxon.” After Olaf Scholz became Chancellor of Germany, Berlin moved closer to the United States, and the Germans no longer need a partnership with Paris. There is a geopolitical axis Washington – Berlin, but there is no geopolitical axis Washington – Paris or Paris – Berlin.

In retaliation, France opposed the opening of a NATO bureau in Japan to prevent the Washington-Berlin-Tokyo nexus from emerging, for it would have meant a drastic reduction of French influence in Europe and Asia. “NATO was created for the defence of the North Atlantic,” Paris declared.

“The France-Germany pair no longer exists. The only pair that exists is the master-slave alliance, and unfortunately we are the slaves here,” stated Florian Philippot, leader of the French Patriots party.

For Paris, the priority direction is Africa. All Western countries are interested in maintaining control over the continent, but on the ground there is competition between France, the US, Italy and Germany.

Italy is paying more attention to Libya. Germany has supported the force component of the fight against terrorism in Mali, but has been slow to take on the burden of equally important socio-economic issues. The US and France are keen to retain control of the region’s mineral resources. Many sectors of the American and French economies depend on imports of African cobalt, manganese, and chromium. Washington would like to turn the presence of France and Germany in North Africa into a barrier to Chinese expansion in Africa.

The West is dissatisfied with the growing pro-Russian sentiment in the Maghreb and neighbouring states (Algeria, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Sudan and the Central African Republic). Recently, local terrorist groups have intensified combat operations against PMC “Wagner” in Mali and Niger and its allies in Sudan. The presence in Mali and Sudan of servicemen of the Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR) of Ukraine to provide anti-Russian forces with technical assistance and training in combat tactics has been recorded.

The Ukrainian GID would not be able to carry out such long-range operations without NATO’s intelligence, information and logistical and organisational support. All of this fits into the general framework of the alliance’s anti-Russian strategy.

The Sahel zone stretches more than 4,000 kilometres from Mali through Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad and Sudan to the Red Sea coast and further territorially interlocks with the Middle East, forming a strategically important arc at the southern borders of Europe. Brussels considers control over the Sahel and the Middle East as a prerequisite for controlling illegal migration, arms smuggling and the export of Islamist ideology.

However, instead of eliminating the systemic causes of these problems, the West prefers palliative measures, being hostage to its own economic system based on plundering the subsoil of third countries. The West benefits from continued instability in the Sahel and the Middle East, as it puts local governments in a vulnerable position and forces them to seek support from the US and the EU. But how to eliminate smuggling and Islamism where instability persists?

With the emergence of Russia in Africa, the situation is changing. Africans now have a choice of foreign policy partners, while the West has lost the halo of the only and irreplaceable. This is what worries Washington and Brussels.

In order to strengthen its influence through NATO military structures, the West intends to expand cooperation with the Middle East and African Union states at the level of ministers and diplomatic representatives. There are plans to open a NATO bureau in Jordan. South Africa, Indonesia, Tunisia and Mauritania are seen as future partners.

The latter is important as a potential springboard for maintaining a French presence in the Maghreb. The Mauritanians have refused to host the French contingent from Niger, but NATO intends to continue dialogue with them.

Indonesia is important because of its favourable position at the junction of the Indian and Pacific Oceans and its aspirations for leadership within ASEAN. Jakarta’s foreign policy orientation is important for the security of Australia, a key NATO ally in the Indo-Pacific region.

Vladislav Gulevich, FSK