Israel Eyes Strong Ties with East African States
Israel is looking at Africa’s east as an important strategic interest, and trying to step up ties with nations in the region under the name of “controlling the spread of Islamic extremists”.
The Associated Press reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosted the leaders of Uganda and Kenya earlier this week.
The Kenyan leader has said that the Zionist entity has promised to provide ‘security assistance’ to his country to help protect its borders.
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga has said Netanyahu promised to help build “a coalition against fundamentalism,” bringing together the countries Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Tanzania. The African country also has said Israel’s president, Shimon Peres, has told him Israel is ready to make “everything available to Kenya” for internal security.
For the Israeli part, Netanyahu’s office refuses to comment on Odinga’s claims, while Peres’ office suggests the Kenyan leader has gone too far.
An official in the Peres’ office says he has boasted that Israel is one of the most advanced countries in the world regarding homeland security and would be happy to share its expertise with any country fighting “global terror.” But the official, speaking on condition of anonymity says no specifics have been discussed.
Another Israeli official says an alliance with Kenya and other eastern African countries is natural.
An agency quotes Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev as saying: “We have joint interests and we believe that mutual cooperation can be beneficial to us all”.
Uganda and Kenya have been battling al-Shabab, a Somalia-based ‘al-Qaeda’ linked group.
According to AP, the Zionist entity also has intentions to build strong ties with the newly liberated South Sudan whose president has held a meeting with Netanyahu at the United Nations in September.
In Israel’s eyes, eastern Africa poses a potential hinterland where ‘al-Qaeda’ and other militants can potentially forge ties with similarly minded groups just to the north in Egypt and Gaza. Israeli officials already believe that Sudan is a pathway for smugglers providing weapons to militants in Gaza and the Sinai, and that ‘al-Qaeda’ linked groups in Egypt have been behind a deadly cross-border raid in August that killed eight Israelis.
The Zionist entity already has military ties with several African countries, including Nigeria, Tanzania and the Ivory Coast.
Relations with Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan have not yet reached that stage, though Israel’s “Defense” Ministry has given clearance for private Israeli security firms to operate in those nations, including some arms sales. Israeli defense officials say intelligence sharing is limited to a few close allies at this stage.
“The Ministry of Defense has excellent relations with a number of friendly nations in Africa, especially internal security and counterterrorism,” an official said, refusing to elaborate. He was not allowed to be identified under ministry regulations.
Israel has a long history of involvement in Africa, sending experts in agriculture and development, as well as military advisers and mercenaries, over the years.