Procurement: Gold And Lead Transform Sudan

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August 23, 2013: The wealthy Persian Gulf oil state of Qatar has been very active in the international black market for the last year, scrounging up weapons for the secular rebels it (and neighbors Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE) support in Syria. The weapons are sent to Syria via Turkey or Jordan.

In a very curious development, it’s recently been revealed that one of the sources for these weapons has been Sudan. While a Sunni Moslem country, Sudan has been very chummy with Iran for more than a decade. Sudan even allowed its territory to be used to smuggle weapons (via a Sudanese port and roads to Egypt) for the Hamas Sunni terrorist group in Gaza. It may be increased Israeli military pressure that Sudan shifted allegiance to Qatar, which is also deep (along with its wealthy Sunni neighbors) into an arms race and religious conflict with Iran. Sudan denies supplying the weapons, but small arms made in Sudan and China are showing up in Syria and other evidence indicates that Sudan is the original source of all this stuff.

The Israeli threat goes back several years and only stopped after Qatar began buying weapons from Sudan. The most recent attack was last October 23rd, when Sudan reported that one of their ammunition factories blew up and blamed an Israeli air raid. Many Sudanese believe the bombed factory actually belonged to Iran. Sudan says they have proof it was an Israeli attack, in the form of fragments of Israeli missiles. Israeli officials refused to comment. Earlier in 2012, a local businessman in Port Sudan, Sudan died when his vehicle exploded. The dead man turned out to be a major arms smuggler (to Egypt and eventually Gaza) and the Sudanese government blamed his death on Israel. Sudan denies that it allows weapons to be smuggled into Egypt, but the Egyptian government believes otherwise. Israel denied any involvement with the Port Sudan explosion, as well as with similar events in the past.

Israel has been attacking the Iranian weapons pipeline via Sudan for at least five years. The 2012 attack was documented by subsequent satellite photos showing large craters, like those made by large (one ton and half ton) bombs. The Israelis were apparently aiming for specific targets, like a number of shipping containers that had recently arrived from Iran. Two buildings in the factory compound were destroyed and 21 structures damaged. Not only are the Israelis bombing Sudan, but they are getting good information about what is where and when. This sort of thing has been going on for some time.

For example, in January 2009, Israel sent warplanes down the Red Sea to attack a convoy of trucks, near the Egyptian border in Sudan, carrying Iranian long range rockets destined for Gaza. Iran brings the rockets (and other weapons) in through Port Sudan and then trucks them to Egypt. Sudan does not interfere. Egypt is not a friend of Iran but the border police can be bribed. The 2009 attack destroyed 17 truckloads of weapons and killed the 39 drivers. Since then the smugglers resorted to individual trucks and the use of small boats moving up the Red Sea coast.

In April 2011, a car travelling north, from Sudan towards Egypt, exploded. One of the dead was a Hamas official. Sudan blamed Israel for this, claiming that an Israeli aircraft must have fired a missile. No proof was offered, other than fragments from a Hellfire missile. But these could have been obtained from any number of Islamic terror groups who have lost members to Hellfire attacks. The Sudanese claimed that a U.S. AH-64 Apache helicopter gunship was used for the attack. The helicopter was said to have flown in from the sea.

In November and December 2011, Israeli aircraft bombed truck convoys carrying weapons from Sudan to Egypt. The Sudanese military refused to admit that Israeli aircraft were operating over northern Sudan but the Sudanese don't really have the means to prevent it.

Last year Israel and the newly independent South Sudan became allies, an arrangement sealed by a visit by the South Sudan president to Israel. For years Israel quietly aided the South Sudan rebels, who are largely Christians or animists. Two years ago South Sudan became a separate state, and apparently Israeli aid (which has to come in via Kenya) has increased as a result. Israeli has long been on good terms with Kenya and most non-Moslem African nations. Israel and non-Moslem African nations have a common enemy in Islam, and especially radical Islam. As Islamic radicals have become more active in the past four decades, these alliances with Israel have become more popular in Africa.

Israel has no objection to arming the secular rebels in Syria, as these Syrians are fighting a government that has long been hostile to Israel. The secular rebels will eventually have to deal with the Islamic radical rebel groups, who see Israel as next on their target list after the pro-Iran Syrian government is taken down. Israel doesn’t mind having a reason to suspend the long-range attacks on Sudan. These efforts risk Israeli pilots and aircraft, as well as agents on the ground. Iran is not happy with Sudan switching sides but can’t do much about it. The anti-Iran Sunni Arab coalition (led by Saudi Arabia) has been pressuring Sunni leaders in places like Sudan and Gaza to remember who they are and whose side they are on. These warnings are often accompanied by gifts of cash and diplomatic support and have been very successful, as can be seen in Sudan.

 

 


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