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.

Read more at 19FortyFive

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


Israel Is Courting Saudi Arabia by Confronting Iran

Most likely, it was the Israeli Air Force that attacked eastern Syria Monday night, apparently destroying a convoy carrying Iranian weapons. Yoav Limor comments:

Israel reportedly carried out 32 attacks in Syria in 2022, and since early 2023 it has already struck 25 times in the country—at the very least. . . . The Iranian-Israeli clash stands out in the wake of the dramatic events in the region, chiefly among them is the effort to strike a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and later on with various other Muslim-Sunni states. Iran is trying to torpedo this process and has even publicly warned Saudi Arabia not to “gamble on a losing horse” because Israel’s demise is near. Riyadh is unlikely to heed that demand, for its own reasons.

Despite the thaw in relations between the kingdom and the Islamic Republic—including the exchange of ambassadors—the Saudis remain very suspicious of the Iranians. A strategic manifestation of that is that Riyadh is trying to forge a defense pact with the U.S.; a tactical manifestation took place this week when Saudi soccer players refused to play a match in Iran because of a bust of the former Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Suleimani, [a master terrorist whose militias have wreaked havoc throughout the Middle East, including within Saudi borders].

Of course, Israel is trying to bring Saudi Arabia into its orbit and to create a strong common front against Iran. The attack in Syria is ostensibly unrelated to the normalization process and is meant to prevent the terrorists on Israel’s northern border from laying their hands on sophisticated arms, but it nevertheless serves as a clear reminder for Riyadh that it must not scale back its fight against the constant danger posed by Iran.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, Syria