Phillip Smyth, a research associate at the University of Maryland and an adjunct fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, says the Saudi diplomatic surge in Africa is specifically aimed at countering Iranian influence.
“The Saudis are now aggressively reaching out to any state [in the Horn of Africa and beyond] that may have actually had any contact with the Iranians or have dealt with the Iranians,” Smyth said, “in order to bring them under their wing and demonstrate that [Saudi Arabia] can actually function as a regional hegemon [significant regional power].”
Smyth noted the Saudi outreach includes Sudan, a historical ally of Iran, which recently received approximately $5 billion in military aid from Saudi Arabia and was part of the Saudi coalition in Yemen.
The Saudi arms deal with Sudan really is an accomplishment, Smyth said, “in terms of countering [Iranian influence] in the African Horn region.”
There also are reports that Saudi Arabia has promised $50 million to Somalia if Somalia severs diplomatic ties with Iran. Read full on VOA