A very interesting article from Deutsche Welle, about the consequences of the Saudi-Iranian rivalry in Africa. Deutsche Welle is the German state-run news agency. I must also say that it has great newsletters, classified by geographic region. For example you receive Deutsche Welle Germany, Deutsche Well Asia, Deutsche Welle Africa etc. If you want to subscribe go at the bottom of the home page http://www.dw.com/en/top-stories/s-9097 and choose “Newsletter % Co”.
The article says that after the crisis in the Saudi-Iranian relations in January 2016, Sudan, an Iranian ally until recently, asked the Iranian diplomats to leave the country within two weeks. Somalia and Djibouti officially supported Saudi Arabia too. According to Deutsche Welle the Saudis have promised Sudan and Somalia to construct large dams in order to promote agriculture and also the production of hydroelectric energy.
I must also say that Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, and Djibouti are countries of high strategic importance for the control of the Red Sea. At the other side of the Red Sea there is a civil war in Yemen, with the Saudis backing the Yemen government, and the Iranians backing the Houthi rebels.
Map 1 Red Sea
The above information does not mean that the Iranians do not have influence in these countries. In all these countries there are many terrorist organizations and Iran is one of the main backers of international terrorism, together with the Saudis and the Turks. The United Nations accused Iran of supplying the terrorists of Somalia with arms, something that the Iranians denied. See Reuters “Iran denies shipping arms to Islamist militants in Somalia”, February 2013.
Note that ISIS and Al Qaeda are fighting for the eyes of the largest terrorist organization of Somalia i.e. Al-Shabbab. See Telegraph “How al-Qaeda and Islamic State are fighting for al-Shabaab affections in Somalia”, November 2015. Al-Shabaab (Somalia) and Boko Haram (Nigeria) are the two largest terrorist organizations of Africa. In 2015 Boko Haram declared her alliance with ISIS.
ISIS is the largest terrorist organization in the world, because it has moved beyond the traditional limits of terrorism, and it basically represents the Sunni parts of Syria and Iraq, it has its own oil fields, and that’s why ISIS wants to have a country too i.e. the Sunni parts of Syria and Iraq. Before the rise of ISIS the largest terrorist organization in the world was the Saudi Al-Qaeda, which was the queen of terrorism.
On the following map you can see a possible state for ISIS. With brown you can see the Sunni parts of Syria and Iraq, with orange the Shiite part of Iraq, with dark brown the Alawite part of Syria, and with beige the Kurdish parts of Syria and Iraq.
Map 2 A Possible State for ISIS (Sunni Syria and Iraq)
For Al-Qaeda I must say that it is not controlled by the Saudi King as many people might think. Al-Qaeda is a complex organization which has to do with the Saudi elites and the power game within Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden, the father of Al-Qaeda, was targeting the Saudi King too, and that’s why he could work with the Iranians too, even though Iran was a rival for Osama bin Laden too. See Breitbart “Iran Worked with Al Qaeda, Docs from Raid on Bin Laden Compound Show”, July 2015.
See also “The Alliance Between Iran and Al Qaeda”.
The Deutsche Welle article also says that the growing tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia will lead to growing tensions in African countries with Shiite minorities, and offers Nigeria as an example. In Nigeria the army clashed with the Shiite Muslims of Nigeria. Note that Nigeria is one of the richest countries in oil and gas, she is half Christian and half Muslim, and there are clashes between Christian and Muslims, and also between Sunnis and Shiites (Shia).
“Saudi-Iran row spills over into Africa”, January 2016
“Nigerian military attacks Shia group over blocked road, killing some”, December 2015
“Iran denies shipping arms to Islamist militants in Somalia”, February 2013
“How al-Qaeda and Islamic State are fighting for al-Shabaab affections in Somalia”, November 2015
“Iran Worked with Al Qaeda, Docs from Raid on Bin Laden Compound Show”, July 2015