Turkey & Iran Vying on Somalia
By Prof. Mohamoud Iman Adan- Keydmedia - Virginia, USA - This is the latest revelation of Turkey and Iran challenges about Somalia. Turkey’s newfound interest in engaging with Somalia was triggered by a combination of different events: From the extension of humanitarian assistance during a time of great famine to the desire to establish a foothold in a strategic location so as to benefit future trade deals with Turkey and Somalia.
It is not widely discussed the core issue of Turkey presence in Somalia, but there’s another underlying reason behind Turkish involvement in Somalia: To curb Iran’s meddling in the affairs of Somalia and sparing the troubled country to pull itself from polarizing effects of natural disasters and man-made disharmony in the internal affairs of the country.
All efforts expanded by Turkey will undoubtedly bring good future in political capital which Ankara intends to gain on countering Iranian influence on the Horn of Africa-a place Iran feels is perfect to act as a fallback position when Bashar Al Assad regime in Syria falls to democratic opposition mostly consisting of Sunnis.
In fact, for years, Iran has been cultivating relationship in Somalia and the surrounding area to gain a foothold in the strategic location of the Horn of Africa. A delegation led by the speaker of the Somali parliament, Mr. Sherif Sheikh Aden has been invited to Tehran in mid 2011and was bestowed upon him substantial cash in USD as a way buying political favors from a friendly nation to the cash strapped leaders of TFG leaders.
Considering that one of the main Iranian shipping lines crosses through the Arabian Sea and by the Gulf of Aden, Iran certainly values its presence in Somalia from an economic stand position since July 2009.
Iran had to send two warships to the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia to protect Iranian commercial and oil cargo ships from piracy; but there’s another important rationale behind Iran interest that weighs in heavily against all other considerations.
From there, Iranian leaders believe they can create or incite schisms within a number of African nations while also keeping Sunni Arab States occupied with mounting unrest and insurgence among Shiite populations in the southern Arabian Peninsula.
For example, intelligence reports detail how the Mullah regime in Iran has been providing arms and ammunitions to the insurgence groups in Somalia, including al-Shabaab. Tehran has been funneling most of its aid to insurgents through the Christian dictator of Eritrea, Isaiah Afewerki, who has been cozying up to Iranian regime for years. This is kind of ironic, yet a perfect case of the convergence of mutual interest.
The Eritrean opposition claimed that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards provided training to the radical Shiite Houthi rebels in Eritrea when they were fighting the Yemen and Saudi Govt. According to Saudi officials, with whom the reporter spoke last month, classified Saudi intelligence reports detail many similarities between the tactics employed by the Houthi rebels and those used from Iranian Shiite groups in Iraq. The footprints show Iranian involvement in both cases.
Keydmedia reminded: In 2006, the Somali Prime Minister Mr. Ali Mohamed Ghedi publically accused Iran of aiding al-Shabaab, militarily and financially, and until now the Iranian commitment to al-Shabaab is not abetted. Instead Iran has a use for al-Shabaab engagement in Yemen and other Gulf states.
If al-Shabaab is defeated in the current war against AMISOM forces- then Iran will take over al-Shabaab hard core fighters and its leaders under the direct guidance of the Revolutionary Guards.
Prof. Mohamoud Iman Adan - Keydmedia.net - Virginia, USA
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