Iran’s influence in Africa poses a serious threat

In the context of the attempts to revive the nuclear agreement with Iran, little attention is given to the Islamic Republic’s meddling beyond the Middle East — especially in Africa. The Iranian regime, as well as its main proxy Hezbollah, is a growing presence there.

The Shiite Lebanese group’s entrenchment in Africa takes its roots from the existing ties between Hezbollah and Shiite communities based there. Through these, Hezbollah established a foothold from which to operate on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a branch of Iran’s armed forces, and the Quds Force, an elite IRGC unit.

In the Central African Republic (CAR) for example, Hezbollah operates along with the Quds Force’s Unit 400 in order to recruit and train members of the terrorist group Saraya Zahra. This strategy is the model through which the Iranians aim to establish similar offshoots in Cameroon, Ghana, Niger, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), all with the intention of undermining Western interests and those of Sunni-Arab nations in these areas.

In February, Ethiopia’s intelligence services dismantled a terror cell established by Iran that was meant to gather intelligence about the US, UAE, and Israeli embassies. Then in April an Iranian national was arrested and deported by Uganda’s security forces over a planned IRGC terrorist attack in that country. Such activities are funded directly by the IRGC. For instance, the IRGC transferred $100,000 to an alliance of rebel militias in CAR, called Séléka, intended for recruitment and attacks against Westerners.

The modus operandi is to operate under the cover of diplomatic missions, often through cultural attaché postings. Iranian organisations such as the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization (ICRO) are used as a facade for the Quds Force’s covert activities.

Source: The JC

Also Read: In a Dangerous Game of Cat and Mouse, Iran Eyes New Targets in Africa

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