Africa Nigeria

Vassilios Damiras, Ph.D.

International Relations Expert

US national security interests in Africa include the following steps: Preventing adversaries from using Africa as a base to launch attacks or evade sanctions and ensuring access to strategic minerals and economic markets crucial to US supply chains. Working with partners to manage potentially destabilizing migration flows to Europe and the US. Disrupting transnational crime networks that support illicit markets worldwide. Promoting democracy to prevent the spread of anti-Western authoritarianism.

Prominent actors on the African continent that threaten these interests include state powers such as China, Iran, and Russia, as well as non-state groups like the Islamic State and al Qaeda. The Africa File distills open-source information to assess these actors’ campaigns and related security and political issues in Africa that could affect their efforts.

Hamas sent a delegation to Nigeria in February, expanding the group’s diplomatic outreach to friendly African countries to increase international support. A senior Hamas delegation concluded a four-day visit with Nigerian officials and civil society members on February 15, 2024. The delegation included the group’s spokesperson, foreign relations head, and former deputy foreign minister. Hamas said the delegation updated stakeholders on the situation in Gaza, general political developments, and Hamas’s positions and praised Nigeria for its position on standing with Palestine and Hamas. Iranian state media republished Hamas’s announcement.

The Nigerian government has been pushing for de-escalation and a ceasefire since the October 7, 2023, attacks and the beginning of Israeli operations in the Gaza Strip. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Arab League also chose Nigeria as the sub-Saharan special delegate to the Arab-Islamic summit in November 2023 and the accompanying special delegation that met with United Nations Security Council (UNSC) officials to broker a ceasefire. Nigeria’s stance reflects strong pro-Palestinian sentiment among Nigeria’s diverse religious population, which has led to large demonstrations. Nigeria must be considered a potentially serious challenge to the American national interests in the region.

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