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Sudan’s military leader lauds intelligence ties with Israel

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Sudan’s military General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan looks on during an interview, in Khartoum, Sudan, December 4, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

Sudan’s military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has praised intelligence cooperation between the African country and the Israeli regime, which has seen officials from the two former adversaries exchange meetings in unannounced trips.

Speaking in an interview with Sudan’s state-run TV aired on Saturday, Burhan claimed that it was legitimate for Sudanese security and intelligence agencies to have ties and exchange visits with Israel.

Burhan said meetings between Israeli and Sudanese officials had not been high-level and only involved the security and intelligence apparatuses. “It is no secret that the information shared enabled us to catch several terrorist organizations located inside Sudan,” he claimed. 

The head of the ruling Sovereign Council said the intelligence sharing has enabled Sudan to dismantle and arrest suspected armed groups that “could have undermined the security of Sudan and the region.”

Sudan agreed to normalize ties with the Israeli regime in October 2020 as part of the US-led so-called Abraham Accords, a month after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed similar détente deals with Tel Aviv.

Israeli and Sudanese officials have exchanged unannounced visits in recent weeks. Most recently, a Sudanese security delegation visited Tel Aviv last week, following a visit by Israeli officials, including Mossad intelligence officers, to Khartoum in January.

Protesters have been on the streets for months since Burhan led a military coup in October last year that ended a civilian-military partnership that was meant to lead to democratic elections, a move that was also widely condemned by the international community.

Most of the protesters in Khartoum say they are opposing the normalization of relations with Israel spearheaded by the military junta.

The United Nations, the United States and other Western governments have pressured the military to end the crackdown on protesters and restore a civilian-led government to complete the country’s transition. Congress members have also called for sanctions on military leaders in Sudan.

About 80 people have been killed and thousands injured in the crackdown, according to a count by a pro-democracy group of medics.

“Sanctions and the threat of them are not useful,” Burhan said in the interview, adding that he took personal charge of investigations into the deaths and that five or six were ongoing.

But he added that there were suspicions of involvement by “outside groups,” without elaborating.

While the coup has been censured everywhere, the regime in Tel Aviv has chosen to be silent. Experts see it as an approval of the Sudanese military’s actions by the Israeli regime.

Sudan was once one of Israel’s fiercest foes in the Arab world and hosted the Arab Summit in Khartoum after the Middle East war in 1967. The resolution of the summit has long been known for the “three NO’s;” no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negotiations with Israel.

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