The Israeli Steps in Africa: Normalizing the Diplomatic Relations with Chad

الكاتب: 

Dr. Tarek Fahmy[1]

The Israeli government managed to resume its diplomatic relations completely with Chad after the Israeli Prime Minister’s “Netanyahu” visit, which took place on January 20, 2019, in response to the Chadian President “Idriss Déby” visit to Israel in last November. The two sides agreed to enhance the diplomatic, security and strategic relations.

First: The Context of Normalizing the Israeli/Chadian Diplomatic Relations:

The normalization of the relations between the two countries was a result of diplomatic and strategic steps that the Israeli government adopter especially at Centre and West Africa. It seems like Israel has a clear strategy towards Africa that is obvious in the frequent visits of Israeli officials to many African countries.

  1. Netanyahu participation in a meeting for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in addition, he held multiple meetings with many African presidents.
  2. The announcement of the resumption of Israeli-Ghanaian relations but only in the economic and humanitarian fields without political normalization, in addition, the Israeli government seeks to consolidate its steps in the future by attending the meetings of the African Union as an observer.

Second: Normalization: the Important Gains for Both Sides:

  1. The Gains and Goals of Israel:

This step consolidates the Israeli plan to construct a new approach in Africa which focuses on specific countries (Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya, chad, and Uganda). As a result, this favours “Netanyahu’s” position internally, because his policies have opened up new prospects, which could not be achieved without the current Israeli government that proves “Netanyahu’s” experience and political wisdom. He will benefit from that later in addressing the public opinion during the upcoming Israeli elections to show his ability in countering the anti-Isreali stances in the region.

Generally, the Israeli steps indicate “Tel Aviv’s” determination to be present in Africa gradually with a well-planed strategy, which focuses on the following:

  • Normalizing the Israeli relations with African countries such as Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, which affirms new political Israeli approach.
  • Weakening the African stance, which support Palestine in order to decrease the pro- Palestinian votes at the United Nations to change its membership status.
  •  Sending indirect messages to some Arab countries including Egypt for example, that Israel has real pressure cards; especially that Egypt chairs the African Union.
  • Coordinating with the current American existence in some African countries to counter the French existence particularly (Israel proposed its ability to participate in developing the southern American military fleet) and the Arab countries that construct military bases in some countries in the region.
  1. For Chad:

Chad seeks normalization to achieve real gains, including the following:

  1. Gaining intensive Israeli support to counter militias in the North and the East, which enables the authority to impose stability.
  2. Agreeing on new weapon deals with Israel, which were announced during “Netanyahu’s” visit in addition to increasing the number of the Israeli experts and consultants to support the strategies of the Chadian government towards the militias.
  3.  Coordinating with the Israeli government to counter the expansion of “Boko Haram” and other terrorist organizations, in addition to revealing “ISIS” operations.
  4. Benefiting from the Israeli experience in securing the borders with Libya and Sudan.

Conclusion:  

Normalizing the relations between Israel and Chad is a new phase in African/Israeli relations, which were limited for years due to the Palestinian cause. It is clear that the next period will witness major developments in the pattern of the Israeli relations with other countries, which will go further than the diplomatic relations. This affirms that Israel will develop its interaction tools with African countries as “Netanyahu” exploits the Israeli openness to African and Arab countries for his personal sake before the upcoming elections. The Likud bloc that is led by “Netanyahu” realized the positive sides of normalization to affirm “Netanyahu’s” skills in achieving strategic gains in the African and Arab countries.

On the other hand, the only loser from the Israeli achievements is the Palestinian side, which could not stop the African wave towards Israel. In particular, the economic, strategic and intelligence benefits that link Israel with these countries were obvious recently, which will be influence later the African position and voting behaviour in the international organizations.

To read the full study in Arabic click here: http://ncmes.org/ar/publications/middle-east-strategy-bulletin/352



[1] Head of Israeli Studies at the National Center for Middle East Studies.

 

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