Sudan: A Battleground Between Iran and Israel


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The UN Security Council warned the Islamic Republic of Sudan (Khartoum) and the new state of South Sudan in May 2012, that sanctions would be imposed on both countries unless their governments stopped the armed conflict they are engaged in and begin negotiating on how to share oil revenues, and come to an arrangement on border demarcation.  Reuters Africa reported on May 2, 2012, that the UNSC resolution demanded that the parties commence talks within two weeks.

South Sudan gained its independence from Khartoum in July 2011 after a long civil war - two previous civil wars lasted from 1955-1972, 1983-2005.  A Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in January 2005 between the People’s Liberation Movement of South Sudan (SPLM) and the Khartoum government, which stipulated that democratic governance would be put in place for all of Sudan and that oil revenue would be shared.  Moreover, the Agreement set a timetable for a referendum in Southern Sudan regarding their independence. John Garang de Mabior, Chairman of the SPLM Army stated that the “peace agreement, in effect, prescribed a one-country-two-systems model, whereby the people of southern Sudan would decide after six years whether to remain within the Sudan or to opt for independence.”

The latest conflict, which erupted in April of this year, was a result of SPLM forces having seized the Heglig oil fields, located in the border area between the two states, with most of the fields within Southern Sudan. Khartoum bombed the area, in violation of the UNSC resolution of May 2, 2012, which called for the cessation of hostilities.  In the meantime, Sudan’s Islamist president, Omar al-Bashir, turned to Islamist Iran for help. Al-Bashir, considered a war criminal by the International Court of Justice with ties to the genocide in Darfur, has been charged by the IJC with seven counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes.  The IJC issued a warrant for Al-Bashir’s arrest on March 4, 2009.

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, eager to win over the Sunni-Arab world, has been more than happy to comply and provide Khartoum with arms, ideology, and strengthened economic ties, including oil exploration.   For Tehran, Bashir’s Sudan is a major Shiite Islam success story. Sudan is both an Arab and Sunni-Muslim previously allied with the West (under President Jafaar Numeiri). Omar Bashir transformed Sudan into an Islamic theocracy allied with Iran, and turned it into a base of operations for Tehran in Africa and the Middle East (supplying arms to Hamas in Gaza through Sudan).

During the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), Tehran was desperate to gain allies in the Arab world. It supported the coup that brought Omar al-Bashir to power in 1989 and has aided the Islamic government in Khartoum through investment in its oil infrastructure, and mostly by providing arms ever since.  In 1992, Tehran sent more than 2000 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) to advise and train the Sudanese Popular Defense Force. IRGC forces in Sudan were also used to train Hezbollah terrorists, and set up a training infrastructure for various Islamic terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda.  It was in Sudan that Iran and Al Qaeda opened a dialogue, putting aside their religious differences – Shiite vs. Sunni, respectively – to focus on the larger enemy – the U.S.

The special relationship between the theocracies of Tehran and Khartoum was revealed when Israeli jets struck an arms convoy destined for Hamas in Gaza in 2009.  Since both Iran and Sudan are hindered by sanctions, Hezbollah agents in Sudan move Iranian arms shipped to Port Sudan through Egypt’s Sinai desert, using Bedouins to smuggle the weapons through tunnels to Gaza.  Time Magazine (March 30, 2009) reported that “The bombing raid came after an intelligence tip-off. In early January 2009, at the height of Israel’s assault on Gaza, Israel’s foreign-intelligence agency, Mossad, was told by an informant that Iran was planning a major delivery of 120 tons of arms and explosives to Gaza, including anti-tank rockets and Fajir rockets with a 25-mile (40 km) range and a 99-lb. (45 kg) warhead. With little time to plan the operation, naval vessels and helicopters were rushed to the Red Sea in case Israel had to rescue a downed pilot, and the plan was hurried through. “The Israelis had less than a week to pull this all together…” According to Israel Today magazine (December 26, 2011), Sudan is a major conduit for trafficking of arms into the Gaza Strip.

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  • Mel

    The linking of Iran and Sudan is extremely significant. Not only is Sudan (north) mainly Sunni Muslim, but more importantly, has been a power den of Muslim Brotherhood thugs since 1989. Sudan is the first country where the Muslim Brotherhood achieved political power. Anyone who believes, (as the Obama administration attempts to portray), that the Muslim Brotherhood is a moderate and (to quote James Clapper) "largely secular" organization, need only look to the two decades of horrific genocidal jihad conduct of the Khartoum regime to see its real nature. Also, Khartoum has the total backing of our supposed ally, Saudi Arabia, along with the entire Arab League and OIC. The Iran – Sudan alliance is therefore much more than merely Iran finding an ally in one seemingly insignificant African state.

  • Choi

    An interesting note*–During the late 19th Century ,there was a "Mahdi" in Sudan who the British sent General "China Gordon" to STOP.
    The movie "Khartoum" tells this story,with Charleton Heston playing Gordon.
    Iran's LUNATIC rulers are 12'ers,believers in the 12th Imam,or "Mahdi",who has been in a well for 1400 yrs.
    That connection could be a contributing factor.

  • #SudanRevolts

    Sure south sudan has a relationship with Israel – the extent of which I am not personally aware of however i don’t see how south sudan aspires to be like Israel and I dont see how South Sudan is SURROUNDED by enemies !?!? its only enemy is the GOVERNMENT of Sudan (GoS) and unlike Israel this enemy is not borne out of ideological beliefs but is constituted by strategies for GoS to retain its power and control over Sudan by claiming a Jihad against “enemies of Islam.” However, there is no true animosity between the people of Sudan North or South. Thus unlike Israelite (of Jewish heritage) who are at a social level hated among their neighbors South Sudan citizens are not. Dr. John Garang (leader of the SPLA/M was a man with a great vision of a “New Sudan” he never wanted the cession of the South this was an extreme measure or a fallback position ( knwing that such a vision could not be achieved with the current governing regime).

    Moreover, you continue to claim that Sudan is a success Story for Tehran however its a failed state with a failed economy that is slowly but surely losing power and influence so I am confused as how it would be a good example of anything?!
    my problem with your article is that you failed to distinguish the people of Sudan from the GoS. Sudan is ruled by a dictatorship as such the façade of the country does not reflect the true identity of its people. If anything we are an African – Arab nation not the other way round. We have a multitude of ethnicities and religious beliefs. GoS have used this Arab identity pretense to create conflict – the classic "divide and conquer" scenario. So you are actually misinformed in saying Sudan and its capital Khartoum is Arab and Muslim, it’s not. I happen to be from the northern parts of Sudan lived in Khartoum most my life and I am a Nubian and I happen to be Muslim and I do not consider myself an Arab I am Nubian and I am Sudanese.
    Also you failed to consider that the people of Sudan have any say in the matter as if Sudan was battlefield for all these foreign forces and while the people have no choice. What you failed to realize that the people of Sudan have toppled over two regimes before enforcing their will on the ruling regimes and this was long before twitter and facebook! So to disregard that and claim that the final decision of the destiny of Sudan lies between Iran and whomever else is inaccurate.
    However, I understand that Israel has interests it would like to serve and benefits it would like to reap from Sudan as does the rest of the world. Sudan has been dubbed the World Food Basket with it’s vast arable lands, animal wealth and water resources …and oil. So im not surprised that its a battlefield for the world in that sense. But the People Shall Prevail and the Sudanese will have the final say on Sudan. #sudanrevolts

    • ajnn

      Mr. #sudanrevolts; you fail to acknowledge that sudan has a tradition of extremist islam, and that tradition is very recent [the mahdi and his successors ruled with sharia well into the 20th century] . in addition, arabic is the official language of the govt and, most importantly, the current islamist regime is supported by the general populace as demonstrated by its continued security and success over a period of several decades.

      you generalize from your valuable experience, but the world changes and so has sudan.

      • #SudanRevolts

        A tradiotion of extremists islam???! damn your looking at the modern history of these people and conclude that they have a TRADITION of islam. Firstly Islam is a religion not a tradition. and the phrase "extremists islam" is one that is coined after 9/11 and has been over used so much that now every1 is throwing it around like a frisbee. So what does that mean when you use it in context of Sudan?? Sure the mahdi was a religious figure and people rallied around him but this was to eradicate colonial powers from sudan. This was not a rally for islam it was a rally for freedom justice and independence. Look there are alot of examples of people all over the world using religion to rally people sometimes even to manipulate or control them such examples can be found trhoughout human history for as long as there belief of a higher being(s) there was always that element. But i digress the rise of almahdi was less to do with islam and more to do with the rise of the sudanese people. And arabic being the offical language is not a giveaway indication that the country has a "tradition of extremist islam"!! that is just ridiculous. "islamist regime is supported by the general populance" ? Its clear you dont have sources in sudan bringing you this info so your going by the media coverage of the country. which means your blind to what is the true reflection in sudan. "its continued security and success" well i give you one thing they are still in power as we speak. But your talking about a country with one of the longest wars in africa. your talking a bout a government that was fought against for over decades from all sides east west and south. (the lack of success of these wars to topple regime is another matter). What success are you speaking off. success in terms of personal profit for government heads (this is evident with bank accounts and assets of basheer for a worth of 9bil) but as a country it is a failed state that was supported only with oil revenues this is not a SUCCESS for the government but evidence of the natural wealth of Sudan.
        The social fabric of sudan allows for the people to withstand alot of hardships cause families, extended families and communities support one another. Meaning that even with living conditions deteriorating year after year they are able to survive. FYI the sudan has knocked off three digits from its currency twice that is to say the sudanese pound was so devaluated that they had to introduce the Dinar which is basically 1dinar is 1000 sudanese pounds. So this success you speak off is related to what exactly? 80% of the labor work in agriculture less than15% of the budget is spent on this sector! less than 5% is spent on education and healthcare. You know nothing about sudans people so dont make assumptions on their behalf.

    • Mel

      When you refer to "foreign forces", you need to include the entire Arab League, and the OIC…both of which have demonstrated unwavering support for Khartoum's butchers. Removing them will involve far more than the type of coup that overthrew Nimeiri, or Mahdi. The world (and much of the Sudanese population) have consistently under-estimated the power of Bashir and his ilk to survive and remain in power. This is because they fail to see how Sudan is front and center to the Islamist's global agenda. Overthrowing Bashir means severing the powerful supply line of the Arab League, Organization of Islamic Cooperation as well as the very powerful Saudi (and Obama administration) backed Muslim Brotherhood. Hopefully this can be done, but not if we underestimate the size of the task.

  • Alex

    Obama does in fact support the Muslim

    Brotherhood. As such, Obama, therefore, is an enemy of Israel. American Jews need to wake up and stop giving in to appeasement. That will get you nothing but death and destruction. Stand up as our brethren in Israel do. Eventually, Jews will be driven out where Islam is entrenched, as we now see in France. News everywhere, fight back and live or appease and die. Being nice gets you nothing.

    • Mel

      The Muslim Brotherhood supports Hamas, and numerous terrorist groups. The MB also supports the Khartoum regime which is waging genocidal war against its own non Islamist citizens. Bush drew a line in the sand: "you are either with us or with the terrorists". If Obama supports the Muslim Brotherhood (which he clearly does) which side of that line does that put him?

  • Alex

    Sorry, not “News everywhere ,” I meant, obviously, Jews everywhere.

  • BlahBlahBlah

    (((The Muslim Brotherhood supports Hamas, and numerous terrorist groups. The MB also supports the Khartoum regime which is waging genocidal war against its own non Islamist citizens. Bush drew a line in the sand: “you are either with us or with the terrorists”. If Obama supports the Muslim Brotherhood (which he clearly does) which side of that line does that put him?)))

    Neither. Bush is a Republican which is like the Christian Brotherhood. Obama is for all people. The Middle East is really the Middle East’s problem. Their society is still living in the dark ages and don’t want to ever come up to speed. We have more than enough oil here. Furthermore, we’re exploring other avenues that don’t require an imbecile government that believes in imaginary laws from an imaginary being. Killing your own people because they do not agree with your imagination is ridiculous and wrong.

    • Mel

      BlahBlahBlah…I can assure you, there is a huge difference between the Republican party and Christianity. Nor do true Christian believers worship an "imaginary being". But that's a different topic. It is the Khartoum regime, which is backed by the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi Arabia which kills those who do not believe in Allah. And if Obama is not on their side, why does he bow down to the king of Saudi Arabia? Why does he invite the Muslim Brotherhood to his speech in the very nation where it was a banned political organization? Why has his administration called the MB a "moderate" and "largely secular" organization, when it clearly — by its own admission — is anything but that? Obama has bent over backwards to portray the Muslim Brotherhood as "one of us" . How can he not be on their side?

      • #SudanRevolts

        Dear all this is a very intresting discussion, i get the feeling that there is a very strong Jewish influence running through these lines. Which personally i think is the problem with the world. That we constantly look for things that set us apart instead of focus on our "commonalities" (not sureif thats a word..prob. not) I dont see how rallying under the Jewish faith is anything better than what the Muslim Brotherhood is doing and in that sense you are just as bad as those you regard as extremists. The problem is with all faiths of the world is that there is no proof no evidence of anything out there thats why we call it FAITH and we BELIEVE in it. To what extent is'faith' and belief becomes a reality by consensus of the people is debatable. But the point is

        Saying Obama is with the brotherhood is (with no disrespect) the most laughable thing i have heard in a while since we know historically the ties between Israel and US are strategic and unwavering and cannot be severed. I agree with BlahBlah obama is for all the people and after 9/11 muslims whether extremists moderates or liberals were hugely targeted. I personally had several bad experiences at international airports and was exposed to a statistically impossible amount of "random checks" all because my name/passport. I think if Obama if anything is trying to soften the image of islam to the world, which im not sure how he is doing it or how you are getting that impression (but i will take your word for it)- he is trying to do so for the benefit of the moderates and liberals like myself not for the extremists.
        So Mel when you say:
        "Obama has bent over backwards to portray the Muslim Brotherhood as "one of us" . How can he not be on their side? "
        I think you are generalizing all muslims as MB that is insulting, ignorant and not any different than the MB themselves. So its funny that you sport the same narrow-minded mentality that they do.
        Also Khartoum regime in itself are not motivated by religious virtues in these massacres because there are none. They are after wealth power and control and act accordingly using the banner of islam and that southerners are after Islam and all that bullshit. But it is not an agenda to irradicate non muslims not at Basheers level thats for sure.
        As for AJNN, understandably you dont know much about the history of Sudan. "a tradition of extremist islam"?!?! i dont know which word offends more. Islam is not a tradition its a religion and much like in all the world people tend to rally behind religion to overcome hardships. And yes the people of Sudan have used religion to rally people to overcome a ruling regime but this was (at the times of AlMahdi) against the colonial powers (british). This was not a display of extremists Islam this was a stand of freedom and independence for Sudans people. Look i am not an extremist i believe your words to be more extremists than mine so believe me when i tell you that Sharia law as a principle and in its purist form (when applied in the olden days) was not a spiteful hateful system that oppressed minorities. It is just and fair system that in essence could be applied and would be acceptable to all however much like communism which looks good and fair on paper it is difficult to apply in reality due to the nature of human characteristics that fail the system (ie greed, hatred bias…etc) this is part of the reason i dont condone pure sharia to be applied anywhere. Sure islam was a part of sudans history it is A PART of its culture but that is not to deny sudan of any other culture or history. What you are doing is much like these extremist you speak off you are skewing your vision to serve your purpose. More than anything this is a dangerous mentality.