Never ascribe to malice, that which can be explained by incompetence

or mule?I’ve been waiting for the United States and Canadian governments to weigh in on the Nigerien political crisis.  Today France released a less than pointed statement, accusing Nigerien government policies of “being outside the constitution”, while the EU was a little firmer, mentioning the cash it provides NiameyAlthough members have expressed concern over Tandja’s coup, the bi-yearly meeting this Wednesday looks like it will be quiet, in part because its a closed door meeting, and in part because the Libyan government has denied visas and/or failed to find any accommodation for NGO representatives, members of African civil society groups, or reporters.  ECOWAS / CEDEAO seem the best bet, in part because they hardly need another government to slide into a rather seedy dictatorship.  Nigeria’s ruling class appears to have taken a distinct interest in seeing the back of Tandja (which may be enough to doom him).

So I was pleased when I saw that the word “Niger” came up in today’s United States State Department press briefing. “Mr. Kelly” is Ian Kelly, the State Department Spokesman.  Apparently he’s been a bit preoccupied of late.

QUESTION: Do you have anything on the political situation in Niger?

MR. KELLY: I don’t think so. No, I don’t. What’s going on in —
QUESTION: There’s a political crisis. The president has dissolved the constitutional court and he is trying to stay in power —
MR. KELLY: Yeah.
QUESTION: — instead of getting reelected in September.
MR. KELLY: Well, that doesn’t sound good.
MR. KELLY: We’ll get you more information.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MR. KELLY: Okay. Thanks.

Okay. Thanks.

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