For the last two decades, the UAE has been investing in East African countries, signing billions of dollars-worth treaties, establishing military bases, mitigating intra-African conflicts, and sometimes fueling conflicts. Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Tanzania, Uganda, and some other countries have attracted the UAE for both cultivating profits in the agriculture sector and dominating the Red Sea militarily. In some cases, the starvation of governments like Somalia after funds were seized and feeding breakaway entitles serves the same purpose: regional control and pliable governments.
Mohammed Dahlan has been the UAE’s invisible hand in East Africa, meeting top diplomats, politicians, and businessmen under the pretense of negotiating issues such as the GERD Dam, but actually operating as an advance man for the hiring of mercenaries, moving money to officials and smoothing over problems. While persuading these countries to cooperate with the UAE, he has also led to their normalization with Israel. He was responsible with finding solutions to the conflicts that are unwanted by the UAE, and creating conflicts as in Libya. When two countries in which the UAE invests, gets into conflict, as seen in the case of Sudan-Ethiopia or Egypt-Ethiopia, Dahlan steps in as a mediator to calm the parties. When a democratic government is being forged in wounded nations like Libya, Dahlan again steps in to prime the players and cut deals.