How Saudi Arabia Uses Money and Contacts to Court Partners in West Africa

Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, and Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, the Nigerian secretary-general of OPEC, attend an OPEC meeting, Vienna, Austria, May 25, 2017 (AP photo by Ronald Zak).
Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, and Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, the Nigerian secretary-general of OPEC, attend an OPEC meeting, Vienna, Austria, May 25, 2017 (AP photo by Ronald Zak).
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Across Africa, governments have reacted swiftly to the rift between Saudi Arabia, backed by allied states, and Qatar, with a number of countries signaling their support for Riyadh. West Africa is no exception. Mauritania has announced it is cutting ties with Qatar, while Senegal and Niger have recalled their ambassadors in Doha. Such positions reflect Saudi Arabia’s strong standing in the region despite Qatar’s active diplomacy in recent years. In an email interview, Rahmane Idrissa, a political scientist currently based at the University of Gottingen in Germany and the author of “The Politics of Islam in the Sahel,” explains how […]

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