February 2, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Warms Ties with Chad, Sudan

February 2, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Warms Ties with Chad, Sudan

Latest Developments​

Chad opened an embassy in Israel on Thursday as Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen made an unannounced trip to Khartoum to advance the signing of a peace accord with Sudan.

Officiating at the embassy inauguration near Tel Aviv was Chad’s President, Mahamat Déby, who made his first visit to Israel in what he described as the completion of the work of his late father, former President Idriss Déby, in restoring bilateral ties. Also attending was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who hosted the elder Deby in Jerusalem in 2018 during one of Netanyahu’s previous terms. The current president invited Netanyahu to visit Chad, suggesting a reciprocal Israeli embassy opening in N’Djamena could be in the works. For now, Israel runs its Chad contacts out of its embassy in Senegal.

Expert Analysis

“Mahamat Déby was welcomed upon landing in Israel by Mossad director David (Dadi) Barnea, who also hosted Chad’s president at his intelligence service’s headquarters — a rare honor signaling the depth of covert contacts between the countries. Chad is in a part of Africa wracked by Islamist insurgencies where Israel sees a worrying growth of Iranian and Hezbollah influence, so an open door and sympathetic ear in N’Djamena are strategic assets.”
Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“The fate of the new regime in Sudan currently hangs in the balance. Once a jurisdiction that was fully exploited by the regime in Tehran for weapons smuggling and terrorism, Sudan has altered its course to the point that it can take significant steps toward peace with Israel. But the political instability that has plagued the country in recent years has yet to be resolved. It remains crucial for Israel to stay engaged with this new peace partner. More importantly, the United States needs to help guide the country to stability and prosperity. Indeed, Sudan’s outlook will have a significant impact on the broader region.”
Jonathan Schanzer, Senior Vice President for Research

Sudan Ready to Join Abraham Accords

Separately, Cohen made the highest-level Israeli visit to Sudan since Netanyahu returned to office on Dec. 29. In his talks with Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, chairman of the Transitional Sovereignty Council of Sudan, the two agreed on a draft peace accord that Israel and Sudan will sign when the latter country is under civilian rule, according to Cohen.

The draft peace accord spelled out Sudanese implementation of the normalization deal it signed with Israel in October 2020, which Khartoum had previously said would depend on ratification by a yet-to-be-formed parliament. Sudan would thus fully become an Abraham Accords partner, a move Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated had the consent of the United States.

Related Analysis

Biden Must Act to Make Sure Sudan-Israel Peace Lasts,” by Orde Kittrie and Varsha Koduvayur

Celebrating a Crucial Milestone For the People of Sudan and For the United States,” by Jonathan Schanzer