From Kurdistan to South Sudan: Israel’s Covert Operations Push Independence

It is no secret that Israel’s foreign policy has shifted in the last decade to aiding developing countries and regions that share a concurrent enemy in regards to radical Islam.  Most of the time Israel extends its hands in the form of technology and aid, but two nascent states have received far more.

Kurdistan, A Silent Partner Against Radical Islam

Kurdistan has been an independence project long in the making.  Nestled in Northern Iraq, Syria, Southeastern Turkey, and Western Iran, the Kurds are largest indigenous people without a state. Israelis covert cooperation has been primarily focused on ties to the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq (KRG). The ties in the past included weapons training, arms, and other intelligence support.  It cannot be confirmed whether or not there is still a military aspect to the relationship, but it is said Israel enjoys Kurdish oil and helps it transfer the oil to Europe and beyond.  Most analysts believe Israel has been instrumental in helping the Kurds build the Peshmerga into a serious fighting force in which their future independence relies.

An independent Kurdistan plays well in the Israeli strategy of working with non-radical indigenous actors that will in the future work overtly with the Jewish state when the geopolitical arena warms to Israel’s existence.

South Sudan, Forward Ally Against Iran in Africa

The history between South Sudan and Israel goes back to the late 1960’s, long before talk of South Sudan had entered the minds of the global power brokers. Representatives of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army made contact with Israel in hopes of striking a partnership.  Over the years, Israel has given more than just aid, it has trained and delivered arms to those fighting for South Sudan’s independence. It has been so apparent to all observers the role Israel played in prying South Sudan from the jaws of the Northern Radical Islamist regime in Sudan that the South Sudan president Salva Kiir said the following in his visit to Israel in August 2011:

“Without you, we would not have arisen. You struggled alongside us in order to allow the establishment of South Sudan and we are interested in learning from your experience.”

South Sudan’s independence is a roll back on Iran and its proxies’ drive South into the Sub Sahara.  It also proves how long term relationships in Africa that are built on economy and security can be very effective in the face of radical threats.

Is Biafra Next?

Following a similar pattern and necessity in terms of Israel’s geopolitical needs, Biafra is a strong candidate to secure covert aid.  Nigeria was supposed to be Israel’s new Africa ally, but the ascendancy of Islamist Buhari to the Presidency has forced Israel’s government to rethink its strategy.  This is why Biafra, if positioned correctly, could play a vital role in securing the Jewish state’s first long term ally on the Gold Coast.  There is just one challenge, Biafra is no South Sudan.  Last time it tried for independence 3 million innocent Biafrans lost their lives.  Israel will have to weigh whether or not it can be successful in helping Biafra secure freedom.  If so it may be the first time the Jewish state would be able to legitimately plant its flag in West Africa as a partner with the continent’s first Hebraic Nation.


South Sudan’s Independence and the Irony of Defeat in Victory

For more than 25 years the people of South Sudan fought their powerful common enemy to a standstill. The enslaving Arab Islamist forces of north Sudan were matched fire for fire until the northerners acknowledged that the southerners who are Animists and Christians have rights to live free and on their own cultural and religious terms. The southerners fought valiantly as men, they fought as one people; they fought long and won their freedom from the oppressors on July 9, 2011.
Vicariously, those of us who are fighting to free Biafra from the vicious grip of the Islamic state of Nigeria participated in the South Sudanese victory like it was our own. Yes, in more ways than not, the Sudanese victory tends to foretell how the eventual Igbo freedom from Nigeria will look like. Why the Biafrans saw in the South Sudanese victory their own is because in Nigeria Igbo people are also faced with the same Arab-Islamist forces of Hausa, Fulani and Yoruba oligarchies which are bent on the total extermination of the Igbo. So, since the South Sudanese withstood similar enslaving forces and defeated them, the victory has remained an evergreen source of inspiration for the Igbo in Nigeria.  
While they fought in the trenches, on the hills and in all the many battlefields; the South Sudanese leaders had some squabbles and disagreements. But they always found ways to settle their differences and disputes and sustained the fight against the enslavers. At the end of the battle they won a country but now this is 2016, they need to win a nation.
Unfortunately, by 2013 the people lost their hard won country to personal interests and power flexing of their leaders. The leaders’ individual interests and show of power plunged the entire country into a civil war which has raged on to their shame and the disappointment of their admirers. These leaders need to put aside for one moment their pursuit for personal prestige and show some example of caring and benevolent leadership styles. Urgently, they must find solutions now; find ways to end childish things and begin the onerous and matured business of governing and managing a country and the welfares of its people.
Earlier on, at the southern tip of the continent, South Africans who had also fought long and arduous against those who oppressed them through Apartheid system, celebrated their freedom in 1994. Some of the leaders of the fight were imprisoned for more than 25 years. But their fight for equality had lasted for about a century. In the end the South Africans also won freedom and the right to be equal participants in the affairs of their country. But perhaps that is where the similarities of the two fights end. Today, and unfortunately so, the leaders of South Sudan are turning their laudable and prideful victory into a tragedy and nightmare. The attitude of the South Sudanese leaders toward leadership and power is largely to be blamed.
In South Africa there were Nelson Mandela and others like him who to a greater extent understood the nature and concept of victory and power – altruistic, magnanimous, camaraderie; transient and flitting. While in South Sudan there are Salva Kiir, Riek Machar and others who believe that victory is personal, individualistic and an end in itself. And that power should be held onto permanently and used vindictively to witch-hunt opposition while the opposition egoistically asserts that it is not weak, after all. That it also has influence. But the truth is that good leaders, whether in opposition or not cannot be vindictive and sour or constantly trying to prove some points.
The big guys of South Sudan are shamelessly flexing unattractive and unimpressive muscles, trying to prove personal superiority while their lowly citizens to whom the victory and power truly belong continue to suffer in pain and devastating impoverishment. In the mind of these leaders, they have come to erroneously think that because they were opportune to be present at the moment of the people’s victory therefore they have become some divine beings who are now infallible and indispensable. This attitude shamefully violates the memory and honor of those heroes who also fought and died before July 9, 2011. Sometimes one wonders if these leaders have ever considered that old saying of leaving the stage while the ovation is still loud.
Down through time, history has not lacked noble and honorable achievers and victors who left exemplary records which those that care can imitate. In the following story we learn that sometimes, because of the feelings of others that good leaders learn to let go of personal pleasures and comfort, even when they can afford them. In other words, true leaders cannot always take it just because they can. The biblical David was a military commander of ancient Israeli army who is still recognized as a successful leader of his people because he understood how to handle victory and power without being sucked into the twilight zone of those two impostors. It is reported that at one point during the heat of a battle, when an enemy force occupied Bethlehem his hometown, David thirsted for water from a well in Bethlehem. When he made his wish known, three of his officers volunteered and risked everything by cutting through the ranks of the enemy to fetch the water from the well. On their return, David would not drink the water but poured it out as libation, saying that there was no way he could drink it because the water equated with the blood of these men who risked their lives in order to satisfy his personal fancies.
As the leader, nothing prevented David from drinking the water but he resisted greed and insensitivity and instead poured the water away. We can play the story forward and contrast it with the attitude of the present South Sudan generals who it seems would rather impoverish and drink the blood of their fellow country men, women and children merely to hold on to power and prove how right and indispensable they have become.

The Monster is in us

My poet friend Jonathan Wilson said that as a little boy he looked for the monster under his bed. But now as an adult he suddenly discovered that the monster was himself. These South Sudanese generals fought so gallantly to win their many battles only to be defeated by mere selfish pursuit of personal glory and the unwillingness to let go and concede personal fancies in the interest of peace in the country for which they have already sacrificed so much. The present arch rivals President Salva Kiir and his former Vice-President Riek Machar fought side by side in the military until the enemy was defeated and the people of South Sudan became free and independent. Now, they are finding it impossible to defeat the enemy in their individual selves. Good leaders aim to leave behind legacies which acceptably, are more difficult to do than winning battles. In trying to win wars the aim is to defeat the enemy, while in building legacies true leaders must defeat their selves. At first it was believed that the problem of the South Sudanese people was the hegemony and evil devises of the Islamic Arabs in the north. Sadly, due to the selfish interests of their leaders, the people seem to be doing a rethink.
To many observers, that victory over the bigoted fanatical forces of Islamic Arab feudalism will not be complete until the leaders are able to defeat their personal demon. But they still have the time and opportunity to save themselves, the country and the people in it. These leaders must come to the realization that power as everything else is only a means and not an end in itself. All powers and attained positions are transient and temporal and should be treated as such.
Nevertheless, we are not pretending to believe that sentiments and emotions may be all there are in making these men to do the right thing. Sometimes there may be need for something extra. So, while we are appealing to the conscience of these men, to reconsider and solve this problem in the same way they had solved other disagreements they had when they fought for their liberation, we are not ruling out the need for genuine external assistance in helping solve this problem. The international community should find a way to use sanctions and other forms of economic and political pressures to force these men to do the right thing.
Part of what I consider to be the right approach in solving the problem is to avoid an obtuse and blanket kind of condemnations and approvals. Let the guilty be blamed and those who out of a sincere and honest heart have done the right thing should be praised and encouraged. It will be more beneficial, especially in the interest of posterity for those who do intervene in this matter to be specific when dealing with all aspects of the issue. There is the need for a comprehensive and holistic approach in trying to solve South Sudan. As an example, in my opinion, I think that the time has come for the review of the country’s political and social structure. The prevailing National Constitution was drawn under the circumstances of strife and war with an external force. As a matter of necessity, since the country as an independent state is now under a civilian regime, it may be a good idea to produce another constitution which takes cognizance of present realities.

Palestinian Authority is Teaming up With Sudan, Will it Matter for Israel?

So the best the Palestinian Authority can do on the African continent is to partner with Sudan? Somehow partering with a genocidal radical Islamic regime does not sound like a good PR move.  Then again, Abbas had very little to choose from.  Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and now Guinea have all pushed forward their relations with Israel.  This is besides Ghana who has been a stable partner of Israel since th 1990’s.  In the coming weeks Togo too will be publicly reaching out and moving forward with Israeli partnerships.

The irony of a known terrorist turned politician in the form of Abbas running to Sudan, a terrorist state that still practices slavery, almost guarantees that the PA has given itself no chance to make friends in the Sub-Sahara. The continent is increasingly being split between Arab or Arabized forces in the northern countries and those of Christian background to the south. At the end of the day, Israel’s growing allies in the Sub Sahara have grown to detest Islamists, especially ones they have had to deal in their immediate proximity.

So does the PA’s cozying to Sudan have any ramifications for Israel? The answer is not many.  Sudan and countries of similar dispositions are never going to be swayed to partner with Israel.  The fact that the PA decided to partner with Sudan should put to rest their claim of being a peaceful, liberty loving “state”.  By running to a known terrorist regime, Abbas has little room to find willing partners.  One place he can probably run to is Buhari’s Nigeria, which is increasingly becoming more and more radicalized at the expense of the Igbo and other tribes in Biafra.

When all is finished Sub Sahara Africa much rather build a partnership with a state that can offer them progress. The PA represents a rewind to the years when Africa floundered under autocratic despots too willing to trade their people’s future in order to enrich themselves.

The Kurdish-Russian-Israel Detente is Set to Change the Middle East

“We don’t aspire to create an autonomous zone that is exclusive to the Kurdish nation,” said Rodi Osman, director of the Syrian Kurd’s representative office in Moscow. “We envision to install a federal regime, democratic and secular, in which all parts of Syrian society can live and by which they will feel themselves represented,” he told reporters.

The fact though, is that the newly declared autonomous zone is another step along the way towards an independent Kurdish state, not only in Syria, but in Iraq as well.  The Kurds are the largest indigenous group of people still without a sovereign state.  However, that may be changing.

If the Kurds do in fact reach independence, in at least a partial part (Iraq and Syria) of their historic homeland, they will have ISIS to thank. Without ISIS, the Kurds would have at little leverage on the world to back them towards independence.  Interestingly enough, it has been Russia as of late that has come to bat for the YPG (People’s Defense Units) in Northern Syria. While the USA, Turkey and all parties in Syria rejected the Kurdish declaration, Moscow, did not.

Russia’s abrupt pullout of Syria, maybe more to do with a realignment in Putin’s strategic thinking in who he can support to continue boxing in Turkey and bolstering his control in the Middle East.  Remember, the Kurds are primarily secular and they have proven themselves very efficient in rooting out and destroying ISIS.  An independent Kurdish state in Northern Syria and Iraq, backed by Russia would not only put an end to American hegemony in the region(if there is any left). It would however be a death knell to Turkey’s expansionist philosophy.  For Putin, he cannot accomplish this with Iran and Syria’s Assad as they bring far more downside.  

For Israel, A South Sudan Redux?

As the Western world continues its decline, Israel has been carefully continuing its strategic realignment. It is no secret that Israeli officials met with Russian representatives about security issues in the North. This meeting took place just days before the Syrian Kurds declared their autonomy. It is also known that not only does Israel buy Kurdish oil and train the Peshmerga in Iraq, but Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has gone on record supporting Kurdish independence.

Some would point towards South Sudan as a model for Israel to replicate with the Kurds. However similar, there are some very big differences.  The first is that Turkey, the USA, and the rest of NATO is in direct opposition.  The Kurds seem to have the entire world against them, except Russia. Yet, expecting Russia to rush a Kurdish state is to expect them to drop both Syria and Iran. This was very unlikely until now and that’s what makes the situation very interesting.

The Sunnis and Shiities look upon Kurdish independence as a break up of Arab colonialism from the South and Turkish colonialism from the North.  The Kurds, as are the Jews, Druze, and Arameans are the true indigenous people’s of the region. An independent Kurdish state would help no other Middle Eastern country except for Israel and with Putin’s increasing involvement in the region, an independent Kurdistan is becoming more of a reality than ever before. If the switch is on for Russia, Kurdistan would only need Israel’s tacit support, since the Russian Bear could offer it far more. For Israel, it needs to make sure it is on the right side of this geopolitical shift.  If not it could risk becoming further isolated.