In 1997, the international community signed the Ottawa Treaty as a response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the global proliferation of anti-personnel mines. They agreed on banning the development, production, stockpiling, transfer and use of anti-personnel mines. Twenty-six years later, these explosive remnants continue causing around 5000 casualties per year. This number is significantly rising. In 2020, Syria was most affected by anti-personnel mines with at least 2729 casualties.
In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Europe has been battling a series of challenges, including the pressing need to fortify its defence capabilities. This realisation has led to significant developments in the EU’s defence policy landscape, including adopting the European Defence Industry Reinforcement through the Common Procurement Act (EDIRPA) in October 2023. This Act’s adoption symbolises Europe’s determined response to the evolving security dynamics on the continent and the world stage.
The Ukraine war has had a myriad of geopolitics outputs in Europe, from grain commerce, energy supply, and to defence architecture of the continent. For the latter concept, it is well known that the United States plays a significant role in the deterrence equation through NATO (NATO, 2022). Nevertheless, the situation before Russian aggression is likely to change, and the burden of forward posture efforts from the different allies will be realigned.
Today, Niger hosts Niger Air Base 201—the US’s largest drone base (Jones, 2023), located in the city of Agadez—which is used to monitor extremist groups (Gordon, 2023), and to which, “as a precautionary measure” (Mitchell, 2023) after 26 July, the US repositioned a portion of its personnel. Following the coup, which the US only acknowledged as such on 10 October (Miller, 2023), monitoring drone flights were suspended; as of mid-September, they have slowly and discreetly resumed (Gordon, 2023).
Some of the most consequential NATO member states (MSs) which have played a major role in providing financial, military, and humanitarian aid to Kyiv since the beginning of the Ukrainian war, are now reassessing their position in this conflict. Having been the leading forces in sustaining the Ukrainian military effort against the Russian military, they are now displaying a decreasing tendency to continue on the path followed until now.