November 22, 2019

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Leader of Chad to visit Israel; countries have had security cooperation for years

From Times of Israel:

The president of Chad, Idriss Déby, will visit Israel this week, an unprecedented trip for the leader of the Muslim-majority nation in Central Africa, which does not have diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.

His arrival was confirmed Sunday by state-owned media in Chad.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Jerusalem has in recent years intensified its contacts with various Muslim states in Africa, including Mali and Somalia.

Senior Israeli officials have recently traveled to N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, to prepare Déby’s visit to Israel and to prepare the ground for a possible renewal of diplomatic relations.

I only found the story in a single Chad news site so far, in Le Tchadanthropus-Tribune, which notes that Israel has provided security services for the country for years:

Credible sources say Idriss Déby will pay an official visit to Israel on Sunday, November 25, 2018. This will be first official visit since his coming to power, and the first since the break-up of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1968.

Israel has always been at the heart of the MPS security system… One can still recall the close cooperation in terms of listening and intelligence between technicians from the Jewish state and the ANS team at the time. Chad’s political police (ANS) had benefited from sophisticated intelligence equipment to deal with Sudan and rebellions that coveted the presidential chair. Many observers still remember having heard on the Chadian radio exchanges between the current chief of intelligence Sudan Salah Gosh and officials of the Chadian rebellion. This interception of the communications was made thanks to the technical tools of the Israelis.

In addition, RAM armored vehicles and some of the current equipment of the presidential guard also come from Israel.

Today in the current context, many observers of the Chadian policy analyze this trip in relation to the current security situation in the country.

… Let’s hope Déby does not say that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel to attract the good graces of Zionism …

The presence of an advance team from Israel was noted in one other newspaper and greeted with suspicion:

About twenty Israeli citizens have been staying in Chad for a month; their arrival and stay are directly managed by Deby in person, even the ANS is not involved. With the direct involvement of Deby, speculation is high on their exact role; some think they would be in charge of Deby’s personal safety, others argue they assist with wiretapping. The fact remains that Chadians have the right to know their true status… aid workers, or even mercenaries like the pilots of fighter jets paid for by the Chadian taxpayer?

This is yet another breathtaking diplomatic breakthrough by Netanyahu. Muslim-majority nations can no longer be expected to automatically adhere to the boycotting of Israel that occurred after 1967.

These diplomatic wins have a snowball effect. In the past, even if a Muslim-majority nation might have wanted to expand relations with Israel, they would have faced the prospect of being economically isolated by the Arab world. But now with Israeli officials openly visiting Gulf states that fear has evaporated; the Arab world’s fracture over the one previously unifying stance about Israel has opened the floodgates for other nations to more openly look out for their own best interests.

The Arab and Muslim lockstep on being anti-Israel has ended, and the Palestinian leadership is panicking.

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