Israel, Nigeria and the Biafra Civil War, 1967–1970

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Introduction This chapter analyzes Israeli policy toward the Nigerian civil war, exploring Israel’s relations with both the Federal Military Government of Nigeria (FMG) and separatist Biafra. Israel encountered obstacles in Nigeria that turned that country into one of the most difficult tests of its African statecraft. The most severe challenge Israel faced in Nigeria was the 1967 Biafran secession, the product of Nigeria’s acute political and ethnic conflicts. By that time, Israel had begun to sell Nigeria military equipment on a modest scale and hoped to heighten security ties in order to further consolidate relations with that government. The civil war forced Israel to choose between the expansion of ties with Nigeria, an exigency of realpolitik, and the moral imperative of aiding a people whose plight was, for many Israelis, a disturbing reminder of recent Jewish experience. While the literature on the Nigerian civil war affords some insight into Israel’s policy toward that conflict, files made available by the Israel state archives (restrictions notwithstanding) comprise the material most salient to this study. That documentary record reveals that Israel transferred arms to Nigeria while at the same time secretly providing assistance to the Biafrans.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPostcolonial Conflict and the Question of Genocide
Subtitle of host publicationThe Nigeria-Biafra War, 1967-1970
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781351858663
ISBN (Print)9780415347587
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 selection and editorial matter, A. Dirk Moses and Lasse Heerten; individual chapters, the contributors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


Dive into the research topics of 'Israel, Nigeria and the Biafra Civil War, 1967–1970'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this