The Blog

Report: Israel Bombs Sudan

3:04 PM, Mar 26, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

It's been more than ten years since Bill Clinton order strikes against the Al Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan in response to the bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Then the United States was acting on information that tied Sudan to both al Qaeda, which was said to be using the facility to manufacture chemical weapons, and Iraq (which was believed to have provided funding and expertise to the project).

Now the Israelis are reported to have bombed a weapons convoy traveling from Sudan toward the Egyptian border with Gaza. The attack happened in January, and the weapons allegedly originated in Iran. But it's hard to imagine that the Israelis would have gone to such trouble over a few crates of arms and ammunition. Haaretz speculates that the trucks may have been carrying long-rang Fajr rockets capable of hitting Tel Aviv, and that the secondary goal of the raid was to send a message to the Iranians: Israel can strike at long distances and with precise intelligence.

But the operation also highlights the still festering problems of Sudan. In the last decade the Sudanese have collaborated with terrorist groups like Hamas and al Qaeda and with terror supporting states like Iran and pre-war Iraq, all while waging a genocide against its own citizens in Darfur. Likewise the statements from the Sudanese government are indistinguishable from the statements made by al Qaeda and its ilk. The New York Times quotes a Sudanese government spokesman pushing back against reports that it was the Israelis, and not U.S. jets, that carried out the raid:

"We don't differentiate between the U.S. and Israel. They are all one."

If the weapons were bound for Gaza, the Israelis were well within their rights to destroy them. If the weapons were bound for Darfur or somewhere else, then the strike was a mitzvah. Either way, if this administration is serious about reining in Khartoum, it's obviously going to take a lot more than the appointment of Scott Gration as special envoy to Sudan.