Steve Paterno: Israel Ties to South Sudan a Must

Posted: December 6, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Steve Paterno
The Khartoum’s ruling party mouthpiece, al-Intabaha is reporting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will pay a historic one day visit to South Sudan, where the Prime Minister will hold meetings with both political and military leadership of South Sudan. As a sworn enemy of the Jewish people, Khartoum is anticipating such events with great deal of suspicion. For a very long time, Khartoum has been pointing fingers against Zionists for meddling in the conflicts that the regime orchestrated and nurtured in the country. Nonetheless, the historic ties of the Jewish State to the people of South Sudan has its deep roots in the sheer struggle of the people of South Sudan, which dates back to the early 1960s. In 1960s through earlier 1970s, Israel was overtly assisting South Sudanese freedom fighters with weapons, training, and even sending in mercenaries, in order for the Southerners to resist against the onslaught of the regime in Khartoum.
At the time, which was the height of Cold War, Israel presented itself as an alternative, by curving a niche of its own little influence in the continent, which was a battleground for the Cold War warriors. Since then, Israel has diagnosed so well the regional threats and the shared strategic mutual interest it has in South Sudan and the entire East African region. The Jewish State figured out that it could not abandon the fate of the region to be ultimately determined by the two warring superpowers. Hence, Israel establishing significant and long lasting relationship with the East African region.
When South Sudan gained its independence, Israel never wasted time, but moved swiftly to establish a full diplomatic relationship with the newly independent state of South Sudan. Therefore, it will not be a secret that Israeli prime minister will pay a visit to South Sudan to discuss issues of mutual interest. After all, in September of this year, President Salva Kiir and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had met at the sideline of UN general assembly meeting. If anything, the Israeli-South Sudan relation needs to be enhanced, particularly at this point and time, where both countries have more in common.
Israel is already considering Sudan as a gateway for weapons smuggling—weapons which often originate from Iran through Sudan and into Egypt and finally, destined for Gaza Strip. As a proof, Israeli Air Force and commandos, managed on several occasions to intercept and destroy weapons bound for Gaza as they are being docked of Sudanese sea port. The Sudanese weapons smuggling ring clearly poses serious security risk to the state of Israel.
Sudan has also over the years established itself as a fertile ground for Islamic radicalization. Many brands of the radical jihadists and terrorist outfits, including the al-Qeada, Hamas, Hizbullah, and Islamic Jihad, called Khartoum home. Khalid Mishaal, the leader of Hamas just concluded a successful official visit in Khartoum, where he was hailed by his host as a hero.
Another issue of serious Israeli concern with Sudan is the country’s cozy relationship with Israel’s foe, Iran—a country that stands ready to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Since forceful taking power in 1989, the Islamic regime in Khartoum immediately made contact with Iran, flying in Iranian military trainers to model the country’s armed forces along the dreaded Iranian Revolutionary Guards—a military built with clear aim to safeguard the Islamic system. That is why it is not surprising that Sudan is a major Arab country that forms the unholy Iranian-Arab alliance, alongside Syria, Hizbullah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The strength of this alliance is clearly evidenced when a delegation of this group traveled to Khartoum, led by Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Iranian parliament to express their full support for President Omar al-Bashir in wake of issuance of international arrest warrant against the Sudanese president.

With the anticipations of unpredictable governments in the neighboring countries, due to the recent Arab upraising, Israel stands a better chance by strengthening the old alliance to the South. Thus far, two of the principals of East African countries of Kenya and Uganda, have respectively made separate trips into Israel, in efforts to bolster the existing relationships. Therefore, South Sudan boosting of relationship with Israel is an added bonus to the regional strategic interest.

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