Israel's Long Arm in Sudan
By Tali Shapiro at Mar 27, 2009
There's been a lot going on in the Gaza negotiations and I was hoping to get a chance to look into that, because it's a mess in my head until I write about it. Unfortunately, "my" government decided it'd be a great time to assault democracy and 20% of the Israeli population, for the past week. If that wasn't enough of a crime, I had just opened my word processor, when Twitters of Israel attacking Sudan started coming in.
There's still not a lot of information about this, since the blood has yet to dry, but the basic flow of events is agreed upon, across networks (CBS- the source attributed to breaking the story):
"CBS News national security correspondent David Martin has been told that Israeli aircraft carried out the attack... In the airstrike in Sudan - said to have been "in a desert area northwest of Port Sudan city, near Mount al-Sha'anoon," according to SudanTribune.com - 39 people riding in 17 trucks were reportedly killed."
I'd like to clarify that the one attack was carried out in the last week of January, while the IDF was busy crushing Gaza, and another in mid-February.
Sudan had the following to say:
"The first thought is that it was the Americans that did it. We contacted the Americans and they categorically denied they were involved," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ali al-Sadig said. "We are still trying to verify it. Most probably it involved Israel... We didn't know about the first attack until after the second one. They were in an area close to the border with Egypt, a remote area, desert, with no towns, no people," he told Reuters."
It seems like the rest of the world already knows Israel is guilty, but Israel- as usual- has yet to align itself with the rest of the world (The Independent):
"Mark Regev, the spokesman for Mr Olmert, would only say that it was not Israel's practice "to respond to these sort of allegations when they arise in the press"."
As I said, there's still not a lot of information about this, but Israel's defense team- the mainstream media- is on, with analyses and interpretations that boggle the mind. Calling it "a fascinating" story and denying that it actually occurred, Amos Harel, Military corespondent for Ha'aretz, goes on to conclude, in a typical Israeli analyses of international affairs:
"Iran learned from the Sudan strike that Israel has excellent intelligence, and that it can, and will take the gamble of carrying out long-range strikes when the prize seems high enough. But Iran already knew that. The Sudan strike, if it indeed occurred, conveyed a deterrent message to Tehran, although it still a long way to assuming that Israel can destroy Iran's nuclear program. That would require wave after wave of bombers against a large number of sites, most of which are deep underground."
Middle East commentator for Ha'aretz, Zvi Bar'el, with his usual mitigator hat, went as far as writing a 480-word piece of demagogy:
"Arab sources report that Sudan allows Hezbollah to operate in its territory, including by purchasing arms both for the organization's own use and for Hamas. Since some areas of Sudan are not under the central government's control, international terror organizations see it as a convenient playground."
(This is one of those rare cases, when "Arab sources" can be translated to "the information is reliable".)
As if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert isn't responsible for enough crap, it seems that he's determined, at the end of his term, to proudly litter his legacy with more crimes against humanity. As Harel articulates between wiping the slobber off his chin:
"If Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's detractors say his legacy is in a failed war (Lebanon) and a problematic one (Gaza) and in not bringing kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit home, here is the response: A series of decisions, some of which are known through foreign reports only, show Olmert's willingness to risk approving distant and covert operations..."
Israeli media has yet to make up its mind as to whether the planes were Israeli or not, and whether they're supposed to strategically deny or glow with pride, but Olmert's words don't leave room for doubt:
"We are taking action wherever we can strike terror infrastructure, in places that are nearby and not that close. We are hitting them, and in a way that strengthens deterrence and the image of deterrence."
Back in the real world, Sudan Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ali al-Sadig, rightfully said:
"If it was Israel then it is clear that they were acting on bad information that the vehicles were carrying arms... It is illegal to infringe the sovereignty of another country... We will reserve the right to react to this later. At the moment it is not confirmed it was Israel."
Harel, However, is not alone in feeling the Israeli pride, here's how Channel 10 introduces this article (Hebrew) (limited by my translation):
"IAF's operation in Sudan stirs the imagination. The cliche of the "long arm" fulfills itself, again."
The USA's Involvement
The USA has denied its involvement in the attack:
"The U.S. military has not conducted any airstrikes, fired any missiles or undertaken any combat operations in or around Sudan since October 2008, when U.S. Africa Command formally became responsible for U.S. military action in Africa..."
The above is probably true and verifiable, but we must keep in mind: If Israel is bombing something, it is supported- financially and politically- by the USA. What does the USA want with Sudan?