Biden Admin’s Constant Whining About Restoring Democracy Lost Key Base For Fighting Terrorists, African Leader Says

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Robert Schmad Contributor
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Niger decided to push American troops out of the country after the Biden administration’s negotiators attempted to pressure the country into restoring democracy, according to an interview with the nation’s prime minister.

The United States froze security support to the West African nation of Niger following a military coup in July but maintained a military presence within its borders while attempting to pressure the junta into restoring democratic rule and trying to influence Niger’s foreign relations. Nigerien Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine said this dynamic, refusing to help his country fight terrorists while engaging in antagonistic diplomacy, alienated him and convinced him to expel American forces from Niger, according to a Washington Post interview. (RELATED: US Spent Years Funding And Training The African Military That Just Overthrew Its US-Backed Gov’t)

“The Americans stayed on our soil, doing nothing while the terrorists killed people and burned towns,” Zeine said to the Post. “It is not a sign of friendship to come on our soil but let the terrorists attack us,” the prime minister continued.

Islamist terrorist attacks have increased in the region since the 2023 coup, the Post reported.

The Department of Defense ordered the withdrawal of all 1,000 of the United States’ combat troops from Niger in May, which will force the country to leave behind a $110 million military base. Niger has served as a key outpost for American counter-terrorism operations in the region, according to The Associated Press.

“We have seen what the United States will do to defend its allies, because we have seen Ukraine and Israel,” Zeine said, contrasting America’s relationship with Niger to its relationship with other countries.

America has provided billions in aid to Ukraine amid its war with Russia, even though the Eastern European nation has failed to hold elections, but Niger has faced scrutiny from the U.S. for it’s failure to restore democratic processes and institutions.

Molly Phee, the State Department’s top African affairs official, told Nigerien officials in December 2023 that U.S. security assistance would stay suspended until the country established a democratization timeline, according to the Post. While America was demanding that Niger restore democracy, the nation was requesting additional military equipment, according to Zeine.

Nigerien leaders also took offense to Phee insisting that Niger not associate with Russia or Iran in ways that conflicted with American interests, Zeine told the Post.

“You have come here to threaten us in our country,” Zeine recalled telling Phee. “That is unacceptable,” he said.

“And you have come here to tell us with whom we can have relationships, which is also unacceptable,” he continued.

Niger has since invited Russian troops to train the armed forces, according to the Post. Zeine said he never would have turned to Russia for assistance if the United States had continued to provide security assistance.

“The United States will continue its diplomatic partnership with Niger and continue to provide the nation with humanitarian and developmental assistance,” a State Department spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The Nigerien government “was presented with a choice based on mutual interest, not an ultimatum, about whether it wished to continue its security partnership with us, respectful of our democratic principles and national security interests,” the spokesperson continued, pushing back on Zeine’s claim that he had been threatened.

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