Iran Is Extending Its Influence in Africa

Nov. 12 2021

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.

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Read more at 19FortyFive

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

Iran’s Responsibility for West Bank Terror

On Friday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli police officer and was then shot by another officer after trying to grab his rifle. Commenting on the many similar instances of West Bank-based terror during the past several months, Amit Saar, a senior IDF intelligence officer, predicted that the violence will likely grow worse in the coming year. Yoni Ben Menachem explains the Islamic Republic’s role in fueling this wave of terrorism:

The escape of six terrorists from Gilboa prison in September 2021 was the catalyst for the establishment of new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank, according to senior Islamic Jihad officials. The initiative to establish new armed groups was undertaken by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in coordination with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, implementing the strategy of Qassem Suleimani—the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards who was assassinated in Iraq by the U.S.—of using proxies to achieve the goals of expansion of the Iranian regime.

After arming Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Iran moved in the last year to support the new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank. Iran has been pouring money into the Islamic Jihad organization, which began to establish new armed groups under the name of “Battalions,” which also include terrorists from other organizations such as Fatah, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. First, the “Jenin Battalion” was established in the city of Jenin, followed the “Nablus Battalion.”

Despite large-scale arrest operation by the IDF and the Shin Bet in the West Bank, Islamic Jihad continues to form new terrorist groups, including the “Tulkarem Battalion,” the “Tubas Battalion,” and the “Balata Battalion” in the Balata refugee camp.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank