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Cobra helicopters
Cobra helicopters

The U.S has blocked any sales of surplus American-made weapon systems by Israel to Nigeria. The Americans also indicated that Israeli made systems should be exported to Nigeria only “under strict limitations”.

The Nigerian government showed interest in buying the American made Cobra helicopters, which were taken out of active use by the Israeli Air Force (IAF). The Nigerians were also interested in purchasing new, Israeli made unmanned air systems (UASs).

The Cobra helicopters have been used by the IAF for over 30 years of operation, and were retired in 2013. The Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) was in search for customers for the helicopters when the Nigerians showed interest. This, according to an Israeli source.

The negotiations between the Nigerian government and Israel’s MoD have already begun, when the latter decided that they should stop after a request was made from Washington in this matter. It is to be noted that the sale of surplus American made weapon systems requires an approval from the American authorities.

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The Israeli source told i-HLS that the motivation behind blocking the sale is probably due to the US government not wishing to become involved in any way in Nigeria’s domestic war.

The fighting is between the army and the Boko Haram terror organization. Boko Haram’s terrorist, militant Islamist movement, is based in northeast Nigeria and operates in addition in the neighboring states of Chad, Niger and Cameroon. According to various reports, the organization is linked with al-Qaeda and ISIS and has similar methods of operation and outlook. It should be noted that Boko Haram recently pledged their allegiance to the Islamic State.

Israeli sources report that in addition to the Cobras, Nigeria has shown interest in purchasing Israeli made UASs. In 2006 Nigeria has purchased a number of Aerostar UASs (Unmanned aerial systems) manufactured by Aeronautics Defense systems, an American manufacturer. The Israeli ministry of defense has refused to comment. Its spokesperson had said it does not make comments regarding the export of Israeli-made weapon systems.