US military base in Côte d’Ivoire: Washington’s real objectives, expert opinion

The United States has approached Côte d’Ivoire to host a forward US military base after its failure in Niger. Tapé Groubera, a professor, researcher and writer, has analysed the real objectives of the United States and the future dynamics of international relations in West Africa.

Traditionally close to Western countries, Côte d’Ivoire is considering hosting an American military base. The Pentagon would like to speed up the establishment of a forward operating base in Côte d’Ivoire, as the hasty withdrawal of the US army from base 201 in Niger is disrupting its plans for sub-Saharan Africa.

According to Tapé Groubera, the Pentagon’s objective in the region is not at all what it officially claims, namely the fight against terrorism. “The Americans have geostrategic interests. It is against Russia, China and Iran that they are fighting through intermediary countries, in this case Côte d’Ivoire. What’s more, they haven’t quite digested the fact that the Niger authorities have asked their soldiers to leave their territory. They intend to destabilise the leaders of the AES, and in particular those of Niger”, explains the expert.

The United States is seeking to increase its influence in the Sahel region because it is a strategic area rich in resources, including uranium. The United States does not want Iran to have a nuclear bomb, because that would mean losing the Middle East and the Far East, says Professor.

On the possible conflict of interests between the United States and France, Tapé Groubera notes that there is no rivalry between the two countries. “Macron has subjugated his country to the United States. Macron knows how the American deep country and the CIA enabled him to get to the French presidency. He owes everything to the Americans”, says the writer. Moreover, according to Groubera, France’s interests in Côte d’Ivoire lie in a different area to America’s, namely the economy (the CFA franc and French multinationals, which have conquered the country’s market without competition).

The United States, which had no colonies in Africa, is building its foreign strategy with the continent more freely, without fear of negative reactions. “The Americans are settling illegally without signing any real agreements with the leaders of the African countries concerned”, argues the expert. For example, the authorities in Niamey have never received an official agreement from Washington justifying the presence of American troops in the country.

As far as anti-French sentiment in Africa is concerned, the expert stresses that these feelings are not directed against France. “Rather, it is the fact that Africans are tired of the neo-colonialist, condescending and racist policy pursued by the French elites in Africa.  Africans are now telling these elites that enough is enough. They want to take charge of their own affairs without interference from the French. The CFA franc, French military bases, UN resolutions drafted by France on behalf of Africans. All this is no longer acceptable”, says Tapé Groubera.

Speaking of the dynamics of international relations in Côte d’Ivoire, the expert points out that there will be no conflict between the interests of France and the United States, while Washington’s actions will be aimed at trying to counter the growing influence of Russia and China in the region.