There are conflicting reports about what happened overnight at the Yarmouk weapons factory just south of Khartoum. The Sudan Tribune reports that Sudanese officials are denying reports that any foreign entity was involved and that the explosion was occurred during routine maintenance of the facility. However, the Times of Israel quotes Minister of Information Ahmed Belal Osman as saying that four aircraft coming from the east struck the facility. The Sudanese minister is quoted as saying that Sudan believes that Israel carried out the attack and that Sudan may seek to take the matter to the UN Security Council.
Weaponry from China and Iran is evidently stored and distributed from Yarmouk in addition to whatever weaponry the factory produces itself. It is entirely possible that Israel did indeed strike the factory. Israel has said nothing about the matter, its usual response to such questions.
Some might ask, why would Israel strike Sudan? It is possible that at least some of the weaponry that reaches the Gaza strip originate in Sudan. Iranian weapons delivered to Sudan could be destined for Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or others in Gaza. Considering the rocket barrages now faced by Israel and the recent cross border attacks against Israeli soldiers, it is entirely possible that Israel chose to strike at the source of the weaponry used. We will likely never know.
The extent of the damage at the factory is unknown at this time.
UPDATE*****November 25, 2012
We now firmly believe that Israel did in fact strike the complex in order to take out 40 shipping containers most likely filled with long range rockets destined for Gaza. Iranian ships docked at the Port of Sudan only a few days after the strike and were likely there to transport the weaponry to the Sinai Peninsula where they would be smuggled into Gaza. Here are a few articles that add more details.
From J.E. Dyer on October 24
From the Guardian Newspaper citing the Satellite Sentinel Project on October 27
Nabil al-Arabi, Arab League Secretary general was in Khartoum for talks with president Omer Hassan al-Bashir over the weekend. The Khartoum regime is seeking aid from the Arab League to combat potential sanctions applied by the US and United Nations failure to work with South Sudan. They haven’t said that explicitly, but it appears to be the truth. The Arab nations have consistently sided with Sudan against South Sudan and exert influence in the United Nations.
Sudan has reached security and peace agreements in the past few months with Chad, with the Central African Republic, and with the newly Ghaddafi-less Libya. It is certainly not a good thing that the newly freed people of Libya have as one of their first activities embraced Omar al-Bashir.
Meanwhile, the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan is being portrayed as one between the Arab world on the one side and South Sudan, Uganda, and Israel on the other. The Sudan Revolutionary Front, the group comprised of people from the Nuba Mountains and Darfur along with others who are persecuted by the Khartoum regime are treated as if they fight for others instead of the truth which is that they are fighting for their own peace, justice, and liberty. This is Sudan’s way of misdirecting the discussion and discouraging western support for the “rebel” groups.
In the meantime, with the focus of attention away from the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile and instead on preventing war between Sudan and South Sudan, the Khartoum regime will be able to continue its efforts to kill or expel the Blue Nile and Nuba peoples, Christians and Muslims, men, women, and children and with the approaching rainy season, the urgency grows rapidly.
Posted in Arab League, Blue Nile, Darfur, Heglig, Israel, Juba, Khartoum, Nuba Mountains, Omar Bashir, South Sudan, SPLA, SPLA-N, SPLM, SPLM-N, Sudan
The Sudan Tribune reports that General James Hoth Mai, the head of South Sudan’s military, said that South Sudan will soon be able to provide anti-aircraft weaponry to the nation’s military. It is likely that such weaponry would come by way of either Israel or the United States. As noted by Help Nuba yesterday, South Sudan’s minister of agriculture and forestry, Betty Achan Ogwaro, is currently visiting Israel. It would make sense that as part of the mission, military assistance was discussed. Israel helped the people of South Sudan in the decades long civil war against the north.
Anti-aircraft weaponry would dramatically turn the tide of the conflict, particularly should any come into the hands of the SPLA-North which is stronger on the ground than the Sudanese Armed Forces, but is no match for Sudan’s air power. In fact, a significant threat that the SPLM-N might acquire such weaponry could well bring Sudan to the negotiating table.
This would be very good news for South Sudan if true.
South Sudan and Israel are cooperating on agriculture and water conservation. South Sudan’s minister of agriculture and forestry, Betty Achan Ogwaro, visited Israel to discuss how Israeli technology could help South Sudan.
Israel has historically helped South Sudan and there is interest in strengthening South Sudan-Israel ties in all areas including security cooperation.