On October 23/24, explosions occurred at the Yarmouk weapons factory in Sudan. The Sudanese government has stated that an Israeli airstrike was responsible. The situation remains murky enough that I do not feel comfortable writing an analytical piece on the issue, but the incident has generated substantial media attention, so I thought I would round up some important stories.
International Press Reports
- VOA: “The [US-based] Satellite Sentinel Project released images Tuesday that show six 16-meter-wide craters near the center of the explosion. The group said the holes are consistent with impact craters created by air-delivered munitions.”
- NPR: “Israel Operates Inside Sudan, Israeli Official Says.”
- AP: “In Sudan blast, signs of Iran and Israel’s rivalry.”
- BBC (October 29): “An Iranian naval task force has docked in Sudan, carrying with it a ‘message of peace and security to neighbouring countries,’ Iranian state media report.” Reuters (October 31): “Iran Warships Leave Sudan after Four-Day Stay.”
- Al Jazeera: “Sudan denies Iranian links to bombed factory.”
- VOA: “Sudan’s Iran Alliance under Scrutiny.”
Speculative Commentary (International Media):
- Time: “Did Israel Bomb a Sudanese Ammunition Depot?”
- Reuters: “Sudan: A Front for Israel’s Proxy War on Sinai Jihadists?”
- Washington Post/World Views: “Why Would Israel Bomb Sudan? Theories Cite Iran, Hamas, Even the US”
Sudanese, Egyptian, and Israeli Sources:
- Sudan Tribune: “Sudanese Opposition Groups Condemn ‘Israeli Aggression,’ Criticize Government.”
- Akhir Lahza (Arabic): “Explosions and Fire at the ‘Yarmouk’ Factory”
- Ahram Online: “Egypt Military Dismisses Rumors of Israeli F-35 Overflights.”
- Akhbar (Arabic): “The [Non-Governmental] Egyptian Delegation Returning from Sudan: The World Ignores Israel’s Crimes.”
- YNet: “Egypt Denies Knowledge of Attack in Sudan.”
- Jerusalem Post: “Sudan Strike – A Blow to Iran.”
What do you make of this whole affair?
I’m a bit skeptical of it being a useful test run for attacks on Iran. Even if it is further away than the Iranian targets would be it also wouldn’t be as well fortified against attack.
It would be interesting to find out whether or not the Israelis did fly over Egypt, and if they did then whether or not it was done with Egyptian consent. That would tell us a great deal of about Egypt.
As for the rest, such as Iran and Hamas and Hezhbollah and the U.S., there’s simply too many possibilities to be certain. It could one, some, all or even none of those.
The Egyptian issue is very interesting. I agree with you also that it’s very hard to sort out all the possibilities.
The continued silence seems to suggest at least one thing. Even if Egypt didn’t approve an Israeli fly-over there must still be at least some power in the Egyptian government that finds supporting Israel, or the suggestion that they might support Israel, useful.