When President Macron said earlier this month that the French ambassador to Niger was “literally being held hostage” in the embassy, it looked like West Africa was on the path to another military confrontation. Niger’s ruling military junta, which overthrew democratically elected President Bazoum in July, swiftly signed a military pact with fellow putschists in Mali and Burkina Faso: attack one of us and you attack us all, the treaty said. But over the weekend, Macron told reporters France would withdraw its ambassador and end all military cooperation with Niger. Paris has about 1,500 troops in Niger that were fighting a losing battle against jihadists in the Sahel region on the southern fringes of the Sahara. Some will probably be redeployed to Chad, where France still has a military foothold. But most will likely be heading home. Bazoum’s fate remains uncertain. The Elysée has a long tradition of looking after its African allies when they get into trouble. The withdrawal of French troops may be contingent on the deposed president being released.