Sudan: Israeli Air Strikes


April 12, 2011: The national government of Sudan (northern Sudan) is definitely beefing up its forces along the north-south border, particularly in the Abyei region. A month ago, photos taken by civilian satellites indicated a northern build-up and there were the routine accusations from southern forces. Now the evidence is very solid. The north has moved a company of tanks toward the border, stationing it at Muglad (175 kilometers north of Abyei). A company (nine to eleven tanks) may not sound like much but the north enjoys an armor advantage over the south. A recent satellite photo found two attack helicopters at Muglad. Abyei has oil. So far oil has calmed the roiled waters, so to speak, between the north and the south. Both sides want to keep the money flowing from oil exports. However, the ethnic divide in Abyei is a huge problem. Arabized Muslim tribes who are pro-north have a claim to parts of the region. Christian black African tribes like the Dinka Ngok, who are pro-south, also have solid claims. Abyei was supposed to have its own independence referendum but the north and south cannot reach an agreement about who should be allowed to vote in the referendum.

April 10, 2011: A senior U.S. diplomat said that Southern Sudan and the national government (northern Sudan) have both violated agreements regarding the Abyei region. The U.S. believes that both sides have reinforced military units positioned near Abyei. In late March representatives from the south and the north said that they had reached an agreement to withdraw forces in the area. The U.S. believes that the evidence indicates the exact opposite has occurred.

April 6, 2011: According to the UN, on and off tribal fighting since the end of February has forced around 34,000 south Sudanese to flee their villages and seek aid. Arguments over water rights and cattle rustling started several of the conflicts. The worst incident occurred along the border of Lakes state and Western Equatoria state. Fighting over water resources really gets going just before the rainy season starts, as the long dry season shrinks water holes and wells go dry.

A peacekeeper serving with the UN-African Union hybrid peacekeeping force in Darfur (UNAMID) was killed, near the town of Kutum, by armed insurgents. Two peacekeepers who were kidnapped in the attack were later released.

The national government accused Israel of launching an airstrike (a missile fired by an airplane) that destroyed a car on a highway along the Red Sea near the city of Port Sudan, killing two. The Israeli government refused to comment. The mysterious attack took place late on the evening of April 5. The Israelis launch attacks on Islamist militants throughout the region. Israel accuses Sudan of providing militant Islamist terrorists with safe havens. Sudan is also a transit point for Iranian weapons going to militant groups in Africa and the Middle East. In the past, Israeli has sent armed UAVs to attack trucks carrying weapons north to Egypt.

April 5, 2011: Southern Sudan has offered rebel militia groups in the south amnesty if they will end their troublemaking. Details about the offer remain sketchy, the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) has said the offer is designed to foster reconciliation between southern tribes.

April 4, 2011: A senior leader in the National Congress Party (NCP), which controls northern Sudan, said that the NCP will not compromise with anyone over the Abyei region. The NCP is now taking the position that the United States is in league with Southern Sudan to gain control of Abyei.






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