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Sep 7, 2021
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A coup not on a regional scale

On September 5, a coup d’etat took place in the Republic of Guinea. Colonel Mamadi Dumbuya captured the country’s president, Alpha Conde, and dissolved the government and parliament. The abolition of the constitution stands out. This fact requires special attention: it speaks of two important circumstances.

At first, the putschists are not going to restore the constitutional order. The abolition of the constitution is needed precisely for this.

Putschists in Guinea

Putschists in Guinea

Secondlydespite the fact that in recent years, coups d’état in Africa have not been accompanied by the elimination of the Basic Law and all authorities. This was due to the fact that the African Union (AU), which previously treated coups “creatively”, decided to automatically suspend the state’s membership in the AU and other organizations in the event of an unconstitutional change of government.

The actions of the putschists in Guinea show that they are not worried about sanctions by the African Union. This can only mean one thing: behind them are external forces that compensate for any African sanctions.

Guinea has a not very impressive list of coups d’états (unlike, for example, Mauritania – 6 coups in 40 years). In more than 60 years of independent existence in Guinea, there have been only two coups – in 1984 and in 2008. And both were unusual: in both cases, the army seized power not from the legitimate leaders, but from those who temporarily took over as head of state after the death of the presidents. In 1984 after the death of the founding father of independent Guinea Sekou Toure and in 2008 after the death of General Lansan Conte.

The new coup is radically different from the previous ones – for the first time it was carried out against a legally elected president.

The official reason for the coup is named rather vaguely: the government’s inability to solve the problems of poverty, corruption, etc. Obviously, this is just a cover story.

The real reasons, on the other hand, are striking. Guinea ranks first in the world in terms of bauxite reserves. And in terms of their production it is next to such industrial giants as China and Australia (50 million tons in Guinea compared to 70 and 75 million tons in China and Australia). Moreover, bauxite is only the most striking wealth of Guinea, it also contains uranium and gold.

Guinea’s natural resources place it in the category of special states; coups in such countries are always a matter of global importance.

Guinea ranks first in the world in terms of bauxite reserves.

The 1984 coup was France’s revenge for the loss of Guinea in 1958. The coup of 2008 was an attempt at the participation of other world powers in the division of the wealth of Guinea. The toughness of this attempt is evidenced by the intervention of supranational / global elites in the situation in Guinea. In the immediate aftermath of the 2008 coup, a preliminary investigation by the International Criminal Court was launched against Guinea. The “investigation” has been going on for 13 years, but there are no results. And this is understandable: the International Criminal Court wants to keep the country on the hook for as long as possible, creating threats to one or another of the top Guinean groups (primarily the military).

When evaluating the coup in Guinea, there are a few more facts that should be noted. First of all, to intensify relations between Guinea and Russia. The orientation toward Russia in Guinea in recent years was understandable. They remember well the Soviet-Guinean cooperation of the late 1950s – early 1960s, when the USSR proposed a model of relations unprecedented in the system of “developed – developing states” based on equality and mutually beneficial cooperation.

At one time, the author of this article was former USSR Ambassador to Guinea V.S. Kitaev said: “Having won independence, the Guineans invited the Germans and us to explore their fossils. The Germans reported that there was nothing in Guinea, and the USSR handed over to the government of the country complete maps of deposits of bauxite and other valuable minerals. “

As the first Russia-Africa summit in Sochi in 2019 showed, Russia offered cooperation to the African continent without any political conditions. In Africa, this is well heard. However, they heard not only in Africa, but also in the capitals of the neo-colonial powers. And a tough offensive began along the entire “African front” …

During the first Russia-Africa summit, the President of Russia awarded the President of Guinea A. Conde with the Order of Friendship. The sign for recent years is rare, if not unique …

The President of Russia presents the Order of Friendship to the President of Guinea A. Conde

The President of Russia presents the Order of Friendship to the President of Guinea A. Conde

The coup took place on the eve of a visit to Russia by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guinea. The talks were supposed to take place on September 6-8, and the president was removed several hours before the Guinean minister left for Moscow. The reaction of the Russian Foreign Ministry turned out to be much more harsh than in the case of other coups. The Foreign Ministry’s statement saysthat Russia is demanding the “release” of President A. Conde and “ensuring his immunity.” One cannot but pay attention to the ties between Guinea and Russia within the framework of Rusal. The aluminum giant owes almost a third of its production to Guinean bauxite and alumina.

Global elites are dissatisfied not only with African-Russian, but African-Chinese relations. In 2017, the PRC provided Guinea with a $ 20 billion loan (bauxite concessions). According to various estimates, China’s investments in Guinea range from 35 to 45 billion dollars. By the way, Guinea became the only country in Tropical Africa that was officially named as a member of BRICS-plus (only five countries were included in the plus, and was included in this composition Guinea at the invitation of China).

The emphasized humiliation of President Condé by the putschists is noteworthy. Photos and videos have been published in which the head of state is shown not fully dressed, looking like a man just pulled out of bed.

President of Guinea after being captured by the military

President of Guinea after being captured by the military

All this demonstratively repeats the coup carried out by the French troops against the President of Côte d’Ivoire Laurent Gbagbo in 2011.

The capture of the President of Côte d'Ivoire by French troops

Capture by French troops of the President of Côte d’Ivoire

By the way, there was also observed a link between the “putschists – the International Criminal Court”. The ICC kept L. Gbagbo in the Hague prison for 10 years, was unable to prove his guilt, but for a decade removed the legitimate president not only from the political scene, but from the country in general. Even after Gbagbo was fully acquitted (the verdict was “innocent”), the ICC forbade him to return to his homeland!

The coup d’état in Guinea is not a regional event. The conclusion about the French trace in the new coup is most likely correct, but not the only one. Guinea has long been an arena for the struggle of several neo-colonial powers and supranational / global groupings. This coup is a demonstrative challenge to the entire African Union. The main consequences of the Guinean putsch will be not only changes in bauxite prices and their supply routes. This is a political black mark for all of Africa.

Cover photo: granthshala.com

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