US sanctions retired IDF major general, two others for South Sudan roles

“Ziv used an agricultural company that was nominally present in South Sudan to carry out agricultural and housing projects for the Government of South Sudan as a cover for the sale of weapons."

December 16, 2018 05:36
2 minute read.
south sudan

Camp in South Sudan. (photo credit: LINDA EPSTEIN)


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The United States Treasury Department has sanctioned three people over their roles in South Sudan’s civil war, including retired Israeli Maj.-Gen. Israel Ziv.

A statement released by the department on Friday said that Ziv, the former head of the IDF’s Operations Directorate, used legal entities as a cover for the sale of millions of dollars worth of weapons, which extended for the duration of the conflict in South Sudan.

“Ziv used an agricultural company that was nominally present in South Sudan to carry out agricultural and housing projects for the Government of South Sudan as a cover for the sale of approximately $150 million worth of weapons to the government – including rifles, grenade launchers and shoulder-fired rockets,” it read.

According to the statement, Ziv was paid through the country’s oil industry, as he was in close collaboration with a major multi-national oil firm. He is also said to have “maintained the loyalty of senior Government of South Sudan officials through bribery and promises of security support. He has also reportedly planned to organize attacks by mercenaries on South Sudanese oil fields and infrastructure, in an effort to create a problem that only his company and affiliates could solve.”

The department also sanctioned three of Ziv’s Israeli companies: Global N.T.M. Ltd., Global Law Enforcement and Security Ltd. and Global IZ Group Ltd.

Israel recognized South Sudan on July 10, 2011, but Juba has been accused of using Israeli arms and surveillance equipment in the civil war, which has racked the country since 2013 and has killed close to 400,000 people. Millions more have been displaced from their homes in the fighting, which broke out after President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy, Riek Machar, of plotting a coup.

A 2016 UN report said that Israel’s Micro Galil automatic rifle is “present in larger numbers than before the outbreak of the conflict.” The report added that while the rifles were sold to Uganda in 2007 and then transferred to South Sudan in 2014 without Israel’s permission, Israeli ACE rifles were used in a massacre that targeted Nuer citizens in Juba in 2013.

 The Treasury Department also imposed sanctions on South Sudanese businessman Obac William Olawo and politician Gregory Vasili.

Vasili, while governor of Gogrial State in South Sudan in 2017, “oversaw an explosion of intra-clan ethnic violence that resulted in scores of civilians being killed and thousands displaced from their homes,” the statement said.

“Separate from his aggravation of local conflict, Vasili has been involved in various illicit activities, including involvement in a major food procurement scandal and winning gas contracts from the South Sudanese military while he was still serving in it,” according to the statement.

Olawo meanwhile was accused of being “engaged in the trade and shipment of arms and armaments to South Sudan” and of receiving millions of dollars from Juba for importing armored cars and transporting weapons and troops.

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