The Sudanese-Israeli relations took a wide step with a historic visit to an official Israeli delegation headed by the Minister of Intelligence, Eli Cohen, as this visit, despite security concerns, also proceeded in an executive direction to form a basis for economic cooperation.
An official Israeli delegation led by Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen visited Sudan for the first time yesterday, Monday, to discuss moving forward with an agreement brokered by the United States in October to normalize relations.
“I have confidence that this visit lays the foundations for many important aspects of cooperation, which will help both Israel and Sudan, and will also support security stability in the region,” Cohen said in a statement after returning to Israel.
What is new on the visit?
According to an informed source in the presidential palace circles, what is new in this visit is that the Israeli delegation, which visited Khartoum for a few hours yesterday night, Monday, met with the Prime Minister, Abdullah Hamdok, despite the fact that the file, as it is prevalent in the hands of the military component in the Sovereignty Council Transitional.
It is likely that the source told Al-Jazeera Net that the meeting between Hamdok and the Israeli delegation took place at the General Command of the Army near the Republican Palace (central Khartoum).
It is reported that Hamdok was present in the file from the beginning, warning that he was part of a four-way call in October that included US President (at the time) Donald Trump, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the head of the Sudanese Sovereignty Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
Arab and leftist forces in the ruling coalition reject the path of normalization between Khartoum and Tel Aviv, and Hamdok has previously stated that the file of normalization will be left to Parliament, which has not yet been formed, to decide on it.
The transitional government in Sudan began the file of normalization with a sudden meeting with the head of the Sovereignty Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, with the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in Entebbe, the Ugandan, in February 2020.
Last November, a member of the Sovereignty Council and a spokesman for the Council, Muhammad al-Faki Suleiman, revealed that an Israeli delegation, which arrived in Khartoum at the time, had visited the Sudanese defense industries system.
The same source says that the Israeli delegation, which visited Khartoum on Monday, included, along with Eli Cohen, an official in the Israeli military intelligence and officials in operational fields; Like agriculture, water and aviation.
He explained that the Israeli delegation’s meeting with the Sudanese Prime Minister dealt with, of course, files of an executive nature related to economic and service fields such as aviation, agriculture, water and health.
He warned that the Israeli Minister of Intelligence, in addition to his security position, is a member of the Israeli Knesset; Which makes Khartoum more than after he visited.
What is the future of political and economic cooperation?
The head of the preliminary committee of the Sudanese-Israeli People’s Friendship Association, Hussein Qamar, confirms that security files will continue to dominate relations between Khartoum and Tel Aviv, despite the fact that the visit of the Israeli Minister of Intelligence went in the direction of economic cooperation.
The moon tells Al-Jazeera Net that the security file between the two countries requires more than two years to be closed. Due to the large number and complexity of the pending security files between the two countries, explaining that he does not expect an Israeli political delegation to visit a few months from now.
He mentioned that among the security files, Sudan hosted a global conference during the era of the ousted president, Omar Al-Bashir, that included people wanted by Israel who had resided in Sudan, in addition to Israel’s plans to return about 6 thousand irregular Sudanese immigrants to Khartoum.
“After making tangible progress in the security files, economic cooperation could begin in the fields of agricultural technologies and others,” he said.
Why is Israel focusing on the security aspect?
Major General Amin Ismail Majzoub, a strategic expert and lecturer at the Higher Security Academy, says that the issue of normalization has taken the security dimension; This indicates that Israel is interested in security files that it wants to dismantle and absorb first before entering into political and economic normalization.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera Net, he indicates that the previous Israeli delegation was interested in the defense industries system, as it visited Khartoum two months ago.
Majzoub added that the visit of the Israeli Minister of Intelligence, now, also indicates that Israel has concerns about what was going on in the previous regime in terms of support for the Palestinian factions, specifically Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and arms smuggling.
“Perhaps there is fear of the presence of cells belonging to the Palestinian factions and Hezbollah,” he said.
Is there any connection between Cohen’s visit and that of AFRICOM Deputy Commander?
Due to the prevalence of security files, and the visit of the Israeli Minister of Intelligence coincided with the visit of Ambassador Andrew Young, Deputy Commander of the American Military Command for Africa (AFRICOM), to Khartoum, observers linked the two visits.
Young arrived at Khartoum Air Base yesterday, Monday, and is expected to discuss with Sudanese government officials ways to strengthen relations between Sudan and the United States of America in various fields.
According to Majzoub, despite the two visits coinciding at the same time, and often without coordination; However, there is a race towards Sudan by America and Israel to woo Sudan, and to exploit its difficult conditions politically, economically and on the security level. To find a foothold before others.
He advises the Sudanese government and its negotiators not to give free of charge to achieve the dreams and goals of the Sudanese, who need all help and support from any party in the world.
What drives US interests towards Sudan?
Majzoub says that the visit of the deputy commander of “AFRICOM” comes after the elimination of the name of Sudan from the list of terrorism, and the start of normalization with America, so Washington will have interests and concerns with Sudan.
Among these interests, according to the expert, is the transfer of the leadership of “AFRICOM” from Djibouti to the Sudan, which is old and American dreams and desires; Because Sudan is in the middle of the African continent, it facilitates movement in all directions, and all the listening and detection devices work across Sudan on all African countries in all directions.
He affirmed that America is interested in illegal immigration and the files of the volatile regions bordering Sudan. Such as the ethnic conflict in Ethiopia, the Horn of Africa, Libya, Chad, Central Africa and South Sudan, and the differences between Kenya and Somalia.
He pointed out that “whoever wants to control Africa with information and intelligence must enter through Sudan.”
Will Sudan be an arena for competition between major powers?
The strategic expert believes that there is competition between these forces, as America wants to prevent Russia from winning a logistical base on the Red Sea coast in Port Sudan, and to prevent China from oil sources in Sudan and the State of South Sudan.
He noted that this competition also includes Britain and France, saying that it is a conflict, the theater of operations in Sudan with its huge resources and reserves of uranium, oil, minerals, fertile land and water.
He revealed that America is working to establish training relations and raise the capabilities of the Sudanese security services, which is the correct approach. Because the military component has a great impact on political life and turbulent future.
He added, “America talks about democracy and rejects military regimes, but it deals with it when it achieves its interests and projects anywhere in the world.”
According to the informed source in the presidential palace circles, the Sudanese leadership wants AFRICOM leadership issues related to arming the Sudanese army.
He stressed that the transfer of AFRICOM headquarters to Sudan has been on the table since the era of the ousted president, Omar Al-Bashir, adding that the United States may request the establishment of naval and air bases. But that depends on the return that Washington will provide to Sudan.
And regarding a previous agreement between Khartoum and Moscow to establish a Russian naval base on the coast of Sudan in the Red Sea, the source says that talking about revitalizing this agreement was a maneuver from Khartoum.