Iran Is Extending Its Influence in Africa

According to recent reports, Iranian military drones and other arms have been showing up in the bloody war being waged in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. The Islamic Republic’s involvement in Africa dates back to its creation in 1979, but the newly elected president Ebrahim Raisi has stepped up the effort, which, as Danny Citrinowicz and Jason M. Brodsky explain, goes far beyond selling materiel:

Iran is expected to increase its arms sales to Africa, especially after the expiration of the arms embargo under UN Security Council Resolution 2231. It will use such practices as a platform to expand its influence on the continent. Ethiopia is probably not the only country that is an export market for the Iranian military industry—Iranian arms have been spotted in Somalia as well. Iran is also likely to increase the number of high-ranking officials visiting Africa and will try to promote economic projects to bypass further sanctions imposed by the United States. It is also possible that both Tehran and Beijing will work together to minimize U.S. influence in Africa.

Iran’s pivot to Africa is not just economic in nature. Tehran sees the continent as a launchpad for targeting U.S. and Israeli interests. Increased Iranian operations in Africa started after the death of the former Islamic Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Suleimani. . . . Earlier this year came news that Ethiopia’s intelligence agency had thwarted an Iranian terrorist cell casing the embassy of the United Arab Emirates there. . . . Another cohort was seeking to target the Emirati embassy in Sudan.

Iran will probably duplicate the way it works in the Middle East in Africa—meaning, it will work with local forces and use them as proxies or partners to promote Iranian interests, like the Islamic Movement in Nigeria or the Polisario in Western Sahara. There is also a possibility that Iran will try to prevent other countries in Africa from improving their relations with Israel, by arming and funding insurgent movements.

Read more at 19FortyFive

More about: Africa, Ethiopia, Iran, Terrorism, U.S. Security, United Arab Emirates


Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict