Qatar crisis shakes East Africa
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES » Though far-removed from the Gulf, East Africa has been shaken by the Arab diplomatic crisis gripping Qatar.
In recent years both Qatar and the other energy-rich nations arrayed against it have made inroads in the Horn of Africa by establishing military bases, managing ports and showering friendly nations with foreign aid.
As the rivalry heats up, with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain seeking to isolate Qatar, East African nations stand to gain or lose from an increasingly fierce competition for influence. And with Saudi Arabia and its allies mired in a war just across the Red Sea in Yemen, the area has never had more strategic value.
“I think we’re seeing a game of geopolitical chess being played out,” said Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, a research fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University.