I wrote, a few days ago, that Israel endorsed Sudan’s military coup, and did so in direct contradiction to the stance of its strongest ally, the US. Pres. Biden announced after it happened that he was suspending $700-million in aid and that he was also postponing efforts to add Sudan to the Abraham Accords. The latter action is significant, because under Pres. Trump, the US had made normalizing relations with Sudan and ending crippling economic sanctions, dependent on the country joining the four other Arab states who have already done so.
Israeli sources have introduced the false claim that the government has remained neutral in the aftermath of the coup. But Israel HaYom showed this is far from the truth:
The country [Sudan] is not democratic as it was ruled for 30 years by the authoritarian regime of Omar al-Bashir. While we understand why the US would like to see the democratization of Sudan, between the two Sudanese leaders, it is Burhan who is more inclined to bolster ties with the US and Israel,” the official said.
The official further added that “in light of the fact that the military is the stronger force in the country, and since Burhan is its commander in chief, the events of Monday night increase the likelihood of stability in Sudan, which has critical importance in the region, and it increases the chances of stronger ties with the US, the West, and Israel in particular.”
I suggested too that the leaders of the junta likely received encouragement when they visited Israel two weeks before it was mounted. It stretches credulity to think the generals didn’t apprise their Israeli military and intelligence hosts of what they planned. We can also assume that the Israelis touted all of the benefits they could offer in the way of military hardware and commercial trade should the junta normalize relations with Israel. What general who’s just crushed a civilian democratic opposition wouldn’t love to get his hands on some shiny new toys to prove his manhood? Of course, the only way to achieve this objective would be for the Sudanese military to hold the line and refuse to concede defeat to the civilian opposition, which organized mass rallies in the streets against it.
An anonymous Israeli source rejected this view:
Israeli officials told Walla that while the sides discussed the political situation in Sudan and the stability of the civilian government during the Israel visit, the Sudanse [sic] did not offer any indication that they would be carrying out a coup and deposing the civilian-led government later that month.
I can smell an official Israeli lie a mile away and this one stinks to high heaven.
Now, Israeli journalists reveal that an Israeli delegation consisting of Mossad intelligence officials doubled down on Israel’s support by visiting Sudan this past week. What did they talk about? I can tell you what they didn’t talk about: the fabulous weather Khartoum has been enjoying lately. The official Israeli version explaining the purpose of the trip is this:
An Israeli delegation reportedly visited Sudan in recent days, meeting with military leaders involved in the recent coup in order to gain a better impression of the volatile situation in the north African country and how it might impact efforts to finalize an agreement to normalize diplomatic ties.
Again, this is nonsense. Israel is afraid that the generals will vacillate in their resolve in the face of strong civilian opposition. Israel doesn’t want a democratic Arab country on its flanks. It fears that such a popular government would be friendly to Islamist interests and once again serve as a transshipment point for Iranian arms to Hamas, as happened in the past. Israel believes that only Arab strongmen can hold the line against such a development. That is why it gravitates toward figures like Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Mohammed bin Salman and Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Not to mention, that it is far easier to buy off a few generals with the prospects of drones, tanks, and Israeli warplanes, than an entire democratic government.
Interestingly, Ynet claims (one not mentioned by other Israeli media outlets) that the Israelis met not only with Gen. Burhan, the coup leader, but also with Abdullah Hamdok, the ousted prime minister in the transitional government. If this is true, it’s hard to understand what Hamdok would gain from such a meeting. The Mossad would have no interest in supporting a civilian government. The only purpose for such a meeting for the Israelis would be to promise, persuade or cajole Hamdok to accept the coup; or to hold out some provisional promise that might tempt him to support it.