Interview with Israeli General Israel Ziv On Exoneration From Arms Trading Accusations

Interview with Israeli General Israel Ziv On Exoneration From Arms Trading Accusations
Image by Itzuvit 

[Israel] We spoke with Israeli General Israel Ziv this week on his exoneration by the U.S. government on illicit arms trading accusations in conjunction with the General's agricultural work in Sudan. The allegations included providing weapons and ammunition to both sides of the conflict.

The United States Treasury Department has sanctioned three people over their roles in South Sudan's civil war, including retired Israeli major general Israel Ziv, reported The Jerusalem Times in 2018.

The department also designated three of Israel Ziv’s Israeli companies: Global N.T.M Ltd, Global Law Enforcement and Security Ltd, and Global IZ Group Ltd to be on the sanctions list.

Ziv categorically denied the accusations during the length of the ordeal, as did the government of South Sudan.

General Ziv was removed from the sanctions list this week.

His comments are below...

"When you wake up in the morning and you're sure you are doing something very good…My work in Sudan is a fantastic thing,. Then all of a sudden someone is turning off the light, forcing you to look at yourself as a criminal; it's not a nice experience to go through.

"I"m Glad justice was done, I had confidence in the American system.

"OFAC is one of the most important elements to fight terror, to block Iranian spread of proxy armies around Middle East; my appreciation to the organization was not damaged because of this personal situation.

"I am at a good point with no bitterness and can continue with [farming] project

Interview with Israeli General Israel Ziv On Exoneration From Arms Trading Accusations

"South Sudan has no system in-country, no infrastructure, no established economy, no stabilized market, no balance between production and food, commerce, nothing of that kind.

"The Green horizon project is the only light at the end of the tunnel in Sudan to create a system for food production, distribution. It is based in 3 counties, which have a major farm for staple foods - grains primarily. It goes around the whole farming life cycle and supports the school system, medical care, and we support individual farmers, by giving them seeds, training, coaching on how to increase their yield. We buy everything they produce, and there is a logistic element to take the food to the market. We are creating the whole system.

Interview with Israeli General Israel Ziv On Exoneration From Arms Trading Accusations

"My company is a service provider, a private company, but the project is a national project; once we finish our job, the whole thing will stay embedded and sustainable.

"The farms are far away in the bush. You go by the Nile in a small boat, many hours, or a day, to reach the place, then you will see green valley, producing crops.

"Now I can go back to those duties; justice was done."

Interview with Israeli General Israel Ziv On Exoneration From Arms Trading Accusations

US Lifted And Removed All Sanctions On Israeli General Israel Ziv

US Lifted And Removed All Sanctions On Israeli General Israel Ziv

General Ziv: “At long last, justice has been done. I never should have been put on the U.S. sanctions list, and I’m grateful that the American authorities have removed all sanctions against me and my companies.  Now it is time to get back to work on the Green Horizon project in South Sudan.”

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today removed all sanctions imposed in December 2018 on the retired Israeli Major General Israel Ziv and the entities under his control. As a result, General Ziv and his companies were delisted from the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN). 

In late 2018, General Ziv was designated for allegedly supplying both the Government of South Sudan and the opposition with weapons and ammunition.  In doing so, OFAC claimed that Ziv used the Green Horizon agricultural project in South Sudan, as a cover for the sale of approximately $150 million worth of weapons. General Ziv denied these allegations, and OFAC never produced any evidence to substantiate them during the delisting process.

Following OFAC’s designation, the Israeli Ministry of Defense, through the Defense Export Control Agency (DECA), held a special hearing on General Ziv.  Its review of the matter did not result in any restrictions against Ziv. In addition, a United Nations (U.N.) Panel of Experts on South Sudan, charged with overseeing the U.N. Security Council’s arms embargo, found no evidence that General Ziv or his companies were involved in arms trading in South Sudan.  As part of its work, the U.N. panel visited the Green Horizon agricultural project’s Juba location after OFAC’s allegations were made public and explicitly attested to the legitimacy of the Green Horizon project in its report. The panel also commended General Ziv and his companies’ cooperation and transparency during its work.

Following his delisting, General (Ret.) Israel Ziv stated, “I’m very happy that justice was finally done. For more than a year,I found myself facing groundless allegations that came out of nowhere, stained my reputation and severely damaged my life and my business. I fully engaged with U.S. authorities to clear my name, including making numerous submissions of facts to OFAC and answering all of their questions.  I knew all along that I never conducted arms trading or any other illegal activity in South Sudan. It was a long and difficult process,but I believed all along that the U.S. authorities would ultimately reach the right conclusion – which OFAC did with its delisting determination, concluding that the sanctions are no longer warranted. Above all I’m pleased that now I’ll be able to restore the agriculture project that we have established in South Sudan. I am very proud that this project generates food security and meets humanitarian requirements for this country. I am grateful for both the trust and the support of the Israeli authorities and I thank all those in Israel and in the US who helped to do justice”.  

Defeat Of Sudanese Coup Attempt May Have Lead To Deal With Israel

Defeat Of Sudanese Coup Attempt May Have Lead To Deal With Israel

Sudan’s transitional government headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan saw off an armed uprising last month which helped strengthen confidence in the government. The events are worthy of a second look now that Burhan announced, following a historic meeting in Kampala, that Sudan and Israel would normalize their relations. At present only three other Arab League members – Israel, Jordan and Eritrea have such a relationship with Israel.

Many believe the revolt whose gunfire lit-up the night sky was more than a mutiny and was in fact a coup attempt. 

If true, it is worth pointing out that Sudan is no stranger to coup attempts.  During the rule of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir he saw off more than his fare share. Al-Bashir knew a thing or two about coups. In 1989 a coup, launched by Gordon College students and military officers in Khartoum with the support of Muslim Brotherhood affiliated groups, was bloodless. The deposed dictator was permitted to fly to Egypt with his family, aides and heirlooms by Omar Al Bashir who would rule until being toppled in another coup following weeks of protests in Sudan last year. Al Bashir is currently under trial and there are some who would like to see him executed but, Sudan famously doesn’t execute former leaders.  They depose them. 

The January mutiny appears to have emerged from the elite Operations Corps of the General Intelligence Service, Sudan’s umbrella organization for intelligence agencies. Under former President Bashir, the Operations Corps was armed with heavy weapons, armored fighting vehicles, and helicopters. It was a sort of a palace guard within a palace guard. Such arrangements are not unusual in Arab states where the military and security forces are more often then not positioned against domestic rather than foreign foes.

Under al-Bashir Sudan’s security services and defense forces included multiple forces with overlapping jurisdictions. Many of these forces were staffed with officers loyal to the National Congress Party – the former party of al-Bashir which was formally disbanded last year. (For those really interested in the background behind Sudan’s politics  this paper is highly recommended). 

At the party’s final national congress in 2017, Bashir put forward a firm vision for the future and even called for reunification with the south but, he would be gone just two years later.

Sudan’s transitional government blamed the uprising on Salah Gosh, who was twice former head of the intelligence services and is believed to be in hiding.  Gosh resigned his post two days after al-Bashir stepped down from power. NISS agents loyal to Gosh have supposedly helped him avoid an arrest attempt and he is believed to be in Egypt. Meanwhile his beloved NISS was renamed the Directorate of General Intelligence Service last year. 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced this summer that the State department had placed Gosh under sanctions which bars him and his family from travelling to America. Gosh now finds himself in the position of being a pariah vis-a-vie the United States. It was once far different; in 2005 Gosh traveled to the United States to assit the American intelligence community 

The defeat of the mutiny and the signing of a preliminary peace deal with Sudanese political groups gave Burhan and those loyal to him the confidence to push for diplomatic breakthroughs on the international stage. 

With his flank secure for the moment, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the sovereign council, has moved quickly this past week as he met with Israel's embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pledge a future normalization of ties.  It is unclear if either leader has the authority to make such a historic agreement. Sudan’s communist movement, long one of the strongest in the region, was quick to criticize the deal as were some in Burhan’s own government.

“I think Sudan needed a meeting like this, it is time for Khartoum to deal directly with [Israel] like other countries in the region,” said Mekki El Mograbi a former Sudanese diplomat who is not involved with the current Sudanese government,”This is better than to have other countries broker deals on Sudan’s behalf. It is not an issue to speed up or to slow down the process of normalization but the issue to start talks directly.”

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