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Studies 19 September, 2011

Israeli Interference in Sudan

Keyword

Mahmoud Muhareb

Palestinian Professor and Associate Researcher at the Arab Center for Research and Public Policies.

As part of its initial publications, the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies will soon issue a book in Arabic, titled The Secession of Southern Sudan: Risks and Opportunities. The book is the outcome of intensive interaction among a number of Sudanese and other Arab researchers and scholars who specialize in Sudanese affairs. This interaction includes studies on historical, social and geopolitical issues essential to an understanding of Sudan today. 

The current article is the seventh chapter of the book, by researcher Dr. Mahmoud Muhareb, in which he details a history of Israeli penetration of successive Sudanese governments, and examines the role played by Israel in the South Sudanese rebellion. Dr. Muhareb reveals evidence, culled from official Israeli archives and the memoirs of key Israeli decision-makers, which clearly shows that Israeli interference  is indeed at work, and that it has been since the 1950s on the eve of Sudanese independence.


Introduction

The vast majority of documents relating to Israel's relations with Sudan remain cloaked in the secrecy of Israel's closed archives, due to their importance, their sensitivity, and the fact that the interval required before such documents are made available to the public has yet to pass. Some of the documents relating to this relationship, those dealing with the 1950s, have come to light. These documents, now available to researchers at the Israeli state archives, in addition to a number of historical works and memoirs, serve as the basis for this research.

When Israel was established, the man who formulated its national security policies - David Ben-Gurion - was deeply concerned about the possible emergence of an "Arab Ataturk" who could unite the Arabs to face off with Israel. Following the Egyptian Revolution July 23, 1952, the demand for Arab unity transformed from an elitist concept into a comprehensive political project enjoying the overwhelming support of the Arab peoples. It seemed to Ben-Gurion that what he had feared had become a reality; he thus focused his efforts on thwarting this project and ensuring its failure. He believed that the threat to Israel lay in the heart of the Arab world, i.e. those countries surrounding Israel, particularly Egypt. In order to strike a fatal blow to the Arab unity project, Ben-Gurion would have to strike at the project's cradle, Egypt, and Gamal Abdel Nasser, the project's leader and main symbol. To do so, he sought to find "cracks" in the Arab body in the narrow and short-term interests of sectors within the Arab elite, and to find "common interests" with sectarian and ethnic minorities in the Arab world. Ben-Gurion also sought to establish alliances with the countries of the Arab world's "periphery", which he could then pit against the Arab heartland around Palestine. In the 1950s and 1960s, this outer belt included Turkey, Iran and Ethiopia, as well as Sudan and Yemen. 

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