By Ibrahim Usman
Former Nigerian ambassador to Iran, Alhaji Abubakar Chika says the religious divide and connotation being promoted in the Yemen crisis was responsible for the escalation of the war, with Saudi Arabia and its western allies on one hand and Iran alone on the other side of the divide.
The former Nigerian envoy was speaking to Radio France International Hausa Service monitored on Monday, while discussing the current crisis in Yemen.
He described as unfortunate the situation created in which Saudi Arabia labelled Yemen as Iranian Shia ideology stronghold, and Iran sees Saudi Arabia as dangerous Wahabbi ideology backed by western nations.
According to Ambassador Abubakar Chika, with this trend the Muslim world has been divide with many countries in the Middle-East and some provinces in Saudi Arabia such as Dahran aligning to Iran, while Arab countries extending allegiance to Saudi Arabia.
When asked why the two countries could not reconcile their differences for peace to reign, the former envoy said, “Iran is not only fighting Saudi Arabia but the whole western nations. This is because, the Saudi monarchy are trying to ensure that leadership of the kingdom does not slip out of their dynasty, and can do everything to protect it. The Saudi monarchy sees the United States as the only power that can protect it, hence the strong alliance. On its side, the United States is trying to ensure full protection of Israel from Iran, whom it sees as a great threat to its existence. To this end, though Saudi Arabia does not openly come out to extend physical allegiance to Israel, it is nevertheless covertly doing it by following dictates of the United States as a close ally. So you can see, it is a war between Iran and the west”.
On the political and economic influence of the two divides in the African region, the former diplomat pointed out that, in some Africa countries such as Nigeria, Niger and Ghana, Saudi Arabia has only religious ties with the countries in the form of Hajj pilgrimage with not so much effort on economic ties.
On the other hand, he said, Iran is spreading its tentacles in Africa both spiritually and economically as a result of the sanctions imposed on it by western nations. “I could remember when I was the ambassador, Iran offered to assist Nigeria to improve its power sector with a grant of 2 billion dollars in the Mambilla Dam Project and 300 million dollars to improve the Unit 5 and 9 of Kainji Dam Project, but due Iran’s sour relationship with the United States and other western countries, it was not feasible. It was sabotaged”.
He also said, to counter the influence of Iran in Africa, Israel is now deep in aspects of the African economy, citing the example of Nigeria, where he said Israel has taken full control of Nigeria security system.
According to him, an Israeli firm is presently constructing a power dam in Ethiopia along the River Nile warning that, “If Israel should construct the dam, Egypt who has been relying on the River for over 100 years for agriculture and food supply, will face great problem”.