Carl Thiese

Could Sudan be a Key Strategic Ally of Israel?

Sudan’s sovereign council head General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan meets Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen in Khartoum, Sudan, February 2, 2023. (Sudan Sovereignty Council Press Office)

In recent years, and prior to the October 7th massacre by Hamas, the global geopolitical landscape has experienced a significant transformation, particularly with signing of the Abraham Accords in 2020. This shift towards collaboration and moves toward peace has opened avenues for potential strategic alliances between nations that we once thought could never be allies, such as Israel with the U.A.E., Bahrain, and perhaps now, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Now, since the brazen and bloody attacks on Israel that began Israel’s war to eradicate Hamas – a war that has sparked self-righteous and hypocritical outrage, as anything involving Israel defending itself does – is forcing Israel to work even harder to forge alliances.

Even through the storm of duplicitous diplomacy and politics, and disingenuous news reporting about the evils of Israel against the oppressed and colonized Palestinians, there are lights at the end of the tunnel – the Arab beneficiaries of the Abraham Accords seeking to help end the war, end the relentless calls to eradicate Israel and find workable solutions to peaceful Palestinian aspirations.

Yes, for all of the talk about Arab neighbors, buffering Israel’s defense from attacks by Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and other nations bent on the most radicalized Islamist calls to destroy the one Jewish state, African states and countries that could be strategic Abraham Accord allies are not often discussed. One such mostly uncultivated possibility lies in the partnership between Sudan and Israel.

Sudan is strategically located by the Red Sea, which separates the coasts of Egypt, Sudan, and Eritrea to the west from those of Saudi Arabia and Yemen to the east. Sudan borders Libya and Ethiopia, and can provide measures of security for smuggling of weapons. It should be distinguished for its robust forceful efforts in counter-terrorism through the General Intelligence Services, run by General Ahmed Ibrahim Mufaddal. Early on, Sudan quietly signed onto the Abraham Accords, but internal strife has prevented any significant moves to date. Still, Mufaddal, the GIS and Sudan can emerge as dependable allies in the collective fight against extremism.

The GIS has played a crucial role in thwarting extremist networks. Sudanese investigators have conducted intelligence operations, monitoring and dismantling terrorist cells. These efforts have not only reduced domestic terrorism but have also had a positive impact on neighboring countries entangled in organized crimes related to terrorism, including those linked to Somalia, Libya, Nigeria, Syria, Mali, and internal threats.

Preventive measures have been a key component of the intelligence service’s operations, successfully demolishing cells planning terrorist attacks within the large country. Their comprehensive security initiatives have allowed for the identification of extremist individuals, contributing to a proactive approach in maintaining security.

Mufaddal’s strategy is multifaceted, focusing on dismantling terrorist cells, providing counseling for citizens returning from conflict zones, fostering regional intelligence cooperation, and ensuring operations adhere to the law while respecting human rights. It may sound lofty, as civil war seems to dampen the progress.

Before the December 2018 Revolution, the agency adopted a pre-emptive and preventive strategy, targeting members of prominent terrorist organizations such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda. This approach led to the dismantling of various terrorist cells associated with Takfiri groups, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and ISIS.

Since then, despite political upheavals, the General Intelligence Service continued its operations and major security operations were conducted to dismantle radicalism and terrorist cells.

One notable success, during the period from 2020 until April 2023 involved proactive measures to prevent terrorist acts. Operations targeted foreign elements, including Arab nationals, planning to attack a Western embassy in Khartoum. These operations were successfully thwarted, highlighting the complex nature of undocumented immigrants and connections with terrorist organizations.

Sudan’s efforts in combating terrorism should be more commendable in a difficult region. It should also be positioned as an ideal candidate for regional collaboration, including resuming the conversations surrounding an alliance with Israel. The Abraham Accords provides the framework for such a partnership, as it allows Sudan to leverage its counterterrorism expertise for the greater goal of regional stability. Notable should be Sudan’s quiet role in catching weapons smuggling through Sudan to arms smugglers headed to Gaza through the Port of Benghazi and Rafah.

Should Israel and Sudan come to an agreement, the prospect of inviting Israel to establish a Red Sea base in Sudan could be a strategic move. Such a base would enhance maritime security, counter illicit activities, and foster economic cooperation. Sudan’s commitment to combating terrorism aligns with Israel’s security concerns, making this collaboration mutually beneficial.

Sudan, with its robust General Intelligence Services has played a pivotal role in standing up for peaceful and economic strength, reflecting the nation’s dedication to regional security. The potential alliance with Israel not only strengthens bilateral relations but also contributes to a more stable and secure Middle East. As Sudan progresses, cooperation with Israel stands as a beacon of hope for enduring peace in the region and a method of firming up any peaceful solutions being developed by the western world, with the U.A.E, Saudi Arabia, and even older peace partners such as Jordan and Egypt.

About the Author
Carl Thiese is a CPA by academics, who has served as a business consultant at the United Nations and several European embassies. He has studied the growth of the Jewish communities around the world, and consults on management audits for fortune 500 companies. My expertise lies in helping bridge business opportunities with local communities to help governments help people become more self sufficient.
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