Within the week, Chadian President Mahamat Déby traveled to Israel, where he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as part of formalities before the official unveiling of the central African nation’s embassy in the Jewish state.
According to a spokesman of the Chadian president, Mr. Mahamat Déby was visiting Israel to open the embassy as the country continues to build on the diplomatic relations established five years ago between the two countries.
In 2019, Netanyahu met with the former president of Chad, the late Idriss Deby Itno, Mahamat Deby’s father, where the pair announced the reestablishment of official diplomatic relations between the two countries. The announcement came as a shock to many critics and socio-political pundits owing to the fact that Chad is a predominantly Muslim country.
Despite their obvious religious parity, the official diplomatic ties between the two countries caused many critics to raise eyebrows, arguing that there may be more than meets the eye.
There are some who believe that the move was a way of rallying more support against the fight against increased terrorist attacks in the country. While there are some who believe it could be a result of the country’s determination to build a resistance against Russia, who authorities claim is systematically making unlawful entrants into the country.
The late Idriss Deby ruled the Muslim-majority nation for more than three decades before he was killed in 2021 on the battlefield in a fight against rebels. His son replaced him as president at the head of a military junta.
Upon landing in Israel Tuesday night, Mossad chief David Barnea received President Deby at the airport. The Chadian delegation then headed to Mossad headquarters in Glilot for a celebratory meeting. Mossad played a central role in maintaining quiet ties with Chad after 1972 and working towards full normalization in recent years.
“It is in our view a tremendously important relationship with a major country in the heart of Africa. It is something that we want to carry to new levels, new heights, and your visit here in Israel and the opening of the embassy reflects that,” shared Benjamin Netanyahu.
“It is above all thanks to the efforts made by the Marshal of Chad Idriss Deby Itno, rest his soul, and your personal investment which made it possible to renew relations after 5 decades,” He added.
Before the unveiling of the embassy in Israel, the location was kept secret, and no details about its operations have been made available to the public. But many experts believe the location would be in Tel Aviv, where most countries cite their embassies in Israel.
Those who believe that the embassy in Israel is connected to the rumours of a Russian invasion remain adamant about their assertion. Last year, Chad’s foreign minister warned against outside interference, referencing Russian paramilitaries operating in neighboring countries.
Cherif Mahamat Zene said, “external interference, wherever it comes from, poses a very serious problem for the stability and security of my country,” when asked about Russia’s Wagner Group.
He told AFP and Africa Confidential on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York that every measure would be taken “to ensure” Chad is protected.
“There are Russian mercenaries present in Libya, who are also present in the Central African Republic,” he said.
Zene said rebels who killed former president Idriss Deby Itno in fighting in April had been trained by the private security Wagner Group.
“We have reason to be concerned about the presence of these mercenaries,” he said, adding though that Chad did not have proof that the mercenaries were in the country.
Russian paramilitaries, private-security instructors, and companies have grown increasingly influential in Africa in recent years, particularly in the conflict-ridden Central African Republic (CAR), where the United Nations has accused Wagner contractors of committing abuses.
Zene said an attack on Chad near the Central African border on May 30 was “certainly backed” by the Russians.
“We have all the evidence of the presence of these Russians alongside the Central African forces and that concerns us,” the minister added, saying Chad detected telephone communications between Wagner groups in CAR and Libya.
What are your thoughts, do you see a relation?