While the Arab countries were preoccupied with the Second Gulf War, Iran managed to take advantage of their distraction to push an expansion of its power into the region known as Horn of Africa.
There were mainly 3 reasons why Iran chose to drive the expansion program. The main reason was to obtain the uranium it required to finish its nuclear program. Secondly, the expansion would allow Iran to control one of the most pivotal waterways in the world. That would have enabled Iran to take a step closer to becoming a global power. Finally, the move would have helped Iran spread the Shia brand of Islam which could prove instrumental in the creation of local bases.
As per Stratfor, Iran managed to achieve that aim with the help of, none other than, Qatar. At that point of time, Qatar enjoyed a privileged relationship with Eritrea. Additionally, Iran also managed to occupy two islands located in southern Eritrea: Nahlaqa and Fatima. Stratfor is an American geopolitical intelligence publisher and platform.
The island of Fatima became a base for the Iranian military, located beside the port of Assab. There were also training camps meant for the Houthis. This fact is particularly important. The island proved helpful in the arrival of the Houthis from Yemen via the port of Midi al-Yamini. Of course, this movement took place under the supervision of not only the Iranian Revolutionary Guards but also the Quds Force and Hezbollah.
In Yemen alone, Iran increased its sphere of influence. However, its ambitions were cut short after the Al Hazm Storm Operation. The operation proved to be a turning point in the history of the geopolitics of the region. The coalition forces led by Saudi Arabia managed to defeat the Iranian as well as their Houthi forces.
Before the operation, Hanish Island was controlled by the Houthi forces as well as a sizeable Iranian military group. The island was given back to the government of Yemen with the help marine forces made up of Saudi, Egyptian and Emirati soldiers.
During the liberation of this island, some shocking and potentially dangerous information came to light. The forces discovered proof of communications taking place between Iran and Qatar. Qatari devices, meant for eavesdropping and espionage, were also discovered. Finally, the liberating forces also discovered military maps as well as leaked data associated with the GCC countries. All of them were given by Qatar.
Once the Qatar-Iran role in the conflict was discovered, Eritrea decided to bring the conflict with the Gulf countries to a complete end. The president of Eritrea paid a visit to the UAE and Saudi Arabia. He stated that Eritrea would cooperate with the global community, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh for stopping the Iranian threat. He also stated that Qatar was a direct threat to the stability of the Horn of Africa.
In a move of desperation, Doha decided to falsify a statement by the Eritrean Foreign Minister in which they claimed that the relations with Qatar were steadfast. This statement was denied directly by Eritrea.