|Africa News Digest
France Demands List of Israeli Firms Selling Weapons to Ivory Coast
The government of France has demanded that Israel turn over the list of Israeli companies selling weapons to the government of the Ivory Coast. France holds Israel responsible for selling to the Ivory Coast the weapons systems it used to attack French peacekeeping forces last year, which led to the deaths of several French soldiers.
This latest demand follows one by the French last year that Israel freeze all weapon sales to the Ivory Coast. Israel claims it has. Nonetheless, since Israeli weapons dealers are the original source of equipment bought in Eastern Europe, an official Israeli weapons freeze means very little.
One of the Israelis involved is weapons dealer Moshe Rothschild, who sold military drones to the Ivory Coast government, which the French claim were used in the attack on its nationals. It is even believed that Israelis could have been operating the equipment.
Another Israeli dealer is Hezi Bezalel, who sold a surveillance system to the government manufactured by the Israeli Verint Systems. Bezalel is a longtime player in the weapons business in Africa, and is the "honorary consul" of the Ugandan government in Israel. He is also a business partner of notorious Gen. Caleb Akandwanaho, better known as Salim Saleh, the brother of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. And, he is the head of the Israeli-Ethiopian Friendship Association, Ethiopia being another country to which Israel has sold a great deal of weapons.
Iraqi Minister Targets Sudan for Feeding Iraqi Insurgency
Speaking at a counterterrorism conference in Saudi Arabia on Feb. 7, Iraqi Interior Minister Falah Al-Naquib went out of his way to single out Sudan's alleged role in feeding the insurgency in Iraq, claiming that 30% of the foreign fighters inside Iraq are from Sudan.