Russia, Central Africa Sign New Military Cooperation Agreement, by Alex Gorka

Russia is making new friends in resource-rich Africa. From Alex Gorka at strategic-culture.org:

Russia and the Central African Republic (CAR) signed a military cooperation agreement on August 21. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu and his CAR counterpart Marie-Noelle Koyara met on the sidelines of the Army 2018 defense expo outside of Moscow to finalize that agreement. According to the Russian defense chief, Central Africa “is a promising partner on the African continent.” The document covers arms shipments and personnel training. Central African officers will undergo training courses at Russian military academies and colleges. This year, Russia has already sent light arms, rocket launchers, and anti-aircraft guns for two battalions. It has 175 military and civilian instructors deployed in that country to train the personnel.

In mid-December, the United Nations granted Russia an exemption to the arms embargo on the CAR, paving the way for deliveries of weapons to that war-torn country that is still immersed in an internal conflict. The embargo is effective until Jan. 31, 2019.

The UN ranks the CAR as the least-developed country in the world despite its minerals reserves. Fourteen thousand UN peacekeepers are stationed within its borders, but the government, led by President Faustin-Archange Touadera, believes that that operation is ineffective. He has relied more on Russia’s help.

This agreement is part of that trend. Russia’s regional influence is increasing. The Democratic Republic of Congo has recently decided to revive its 1999 agreement on military cooperation with Russia. In April, Mozambique agreed to open its ports to Russian naval vessels. It was recently reported that Niger is interested in purchasing Russian helicopters and firearms, including grenade launchers. Russia and Guinea are working on a military agreement, which would include free access for Russian military ships to the country’s ports, training, and other security-related issues. Russia exports Mil Mi-8/17 and Mi-24/35 helicopters to Angola, Mali, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda, and Rwanda.

The Russian Federation has military partnerships with Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Uganda, South Sudan, Mozambique, and Angola. In 2017, Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir asked Russia to protect his country “from the aggressive acts of the United States.” All in all, Russia is responsible for 30% of all arms supplies to the region.

To continue reading: Russia, Central Africa Sign New Military Cooperation Agreement

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