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Claiming target was arms convoy to Gaza

U.S. planes with Israeli pilots bombed Sudan


Published Apr 9, 2009 6:57 PM

In the aftermath of the issuance of warrants for the arrest and prosecution of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan, the imperialists and their allies are escalating political, diplomatic and military attacks on that African country. Al-Bashir was accused by the International Criminal Court (ICC), based in The Hague, Netherlands, of being responsible for war crimes purportedly committed in security operations carried out against various rebel groups in the western Darfur region.

The recently appointed U.S. special envoy to Sudan, retired Maj. Gen. Scott Gration, visited the country in early April. Although Gration spoke very diplomatically with regard to improving relations between Sudan and the United States, developments over the last several months indicate that the current administration’s policies are still designed to undermine the sovereignty of the Sudanese state.

Reports have recently surfaced that Israeli-commanded, U.S.-made jets and drones bombed at least two convoys in eastern Sudan in January and February, resulting in the deaths of dozens of people from several countries in the Horn of Africa region.

The U.S. was initially suspected of direct involvement in the bombings. However, subsequent statements and news agency articles indicate that the Israeli Defense Forces executed the operations under the guise of intercepting arms shipments from the Islamic Republic of Iran to Hamas in Gaza, where the Palestinian people had been resisting a vicious Israeli attack and invasion.

Both U.S. and Israeli officials have confirmed a bombing attack on a convoy of trucks in Sudan, claiming they were carrying arms for Gaza. On March 31, Anti-War News reported that Israeli officials “today confirmed that dozens of aircraft, fighter-bombers and drones were involved in the January attack against a truck convoy in Sudan, which killed at least 39 people and destroyed dozens of trucks allegedly loaded down with weapons.”

Sudan officials said the attacks took place on Jan. 27 and Feb. 11. The government denied that the convoys were involved in arms smuggling, saying that the vehicles were transporting nationals from other countries in the region.

The charge of arms smuggling is the pretext for an international conference to take place in May in Ottawa, Canada, according to a leading Israeli newspaper, which says that “Britain, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Denmark, the U.S. and Israel will also take part. Immediately after the conference a ‘war game’ is scheduled to take place in Washington, with the participation of security officials and diplomats from the countries involved. The ‘war game’ will practice a scenario of foiling arms smuggling from Iran to the Gaza Strip.” (Haaretz, April 1)

Sudan gains support against ICC warrants

Meanwhile, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has won the political support of a number of states and regional organizations. Since the ICC warrants were issued, Al-Bashir has traveled both inside the Darfur region as well as outside the country to Egypt, Libya and Qatar, where the Arab League summit was held. The president has been received warmly and is accepting the support and sympathy of other regional organizations, including the African Union.

Neighboring Egypt, where the regime is wholly dependent on U.S. support, has also been pressured by the imperialists for supposedly not doing its part to stop the transport of weapons from Iran to the Palestinian people in Gaza. President Hosni Mubarak is reported to have warned the Sudanese government to cease arm shipments destined for Gaza.

Since the days of the Bush administration, the U.S. and Israel have been contemplating an aerial bombardment of Iran. Iran has been accused of arming resistance forces in Lebanon and Iraq as well as in occupied Palestine. This latest provocation against Sudan provides the military and political means to implement imperialist aims and objectives in both Africa and the Middle East.

Demand dropping of charges

The ICC has exposed its hypocrisy by indicting the sitting president of an African nation while doing nothing about the tremendous war crimes committed by the U.S. and Britain in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

In Iraq, it has been estimated that more than one million people have died and some four million others have been displaced internally and externally since the beginning of the U.S. occupation in March 2003. Although the administration of President Barack Obama has pledged to draw down its forces in Iraq to 50,000 troops over the next two years, the continued presence of U.S. troops in this Middle East nation still constitutes an occupation. Since the withdrawal of British forces from Basra in March, the U.S. is forced to take even greater responsibility for the war.

At the recent NATO summit in Strasbourg, France, attended by Obama, lip service was paid to the U.S. administration by the European imperialists, who agreed that NATO would send 5,000 more troops to Afghanistan. However, they will not take on a combat role, despite Washington’s insistence. At the same time, Canada and Britain are expressing reluctance about continuing to maintain their troop presence in Afghanistan.

In Afghanistan and Pakistan, more civilians are being killed in so-called anti-terrorist operations by U.S. forces, which have attacked villages with warplanes, drones and direct combat offensives. The U.S. is also threatening to neutralize or possibly remove the puppet leader of Afghanistan, Mohammad Karzai, by appointing a prime minister to the occupation-supported government. Karzai, who is under enormous pressure from the Afghan people, has had to object to these U.S. plans and declare that his government is not a puppet regime.

Despite these crimes of “preemptive” war, occupation and the wholesale massacre of civilians, the ICC has not seen fit to indict any Western states. Neither the U.S. nor Sudan is a signer of the Rome Treaty that created the ICC. If the U.S. is not subject to its jurisdiction, then why should the government in Sudan submit to its arbitrary actions?

In other parts of Africa, the U.S. backed and paid for the Ethiopian invasion and occupation of Somalia, beginning in December 2006. While Ethiopian forces have withdrawn from Somalia after a two-year occupation, this episode created one of the worst humanitarian crises on the continent, leaving thousands dead and a million displaced.

In addition, the southern African nation of Zimbabwe will continue to be a target of economic sanctions by the U.S. despite the formation of an inclusive government headed by President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Because of Mugabe’s program to return white-owned land to the African people, Zimbabwe’s economy has been destroyed by sanctions. The country is now recovering from a cholera outbreak that killed 4,000 people and sickened many others.

A serious double standard operates with respect to countries that attempt to follow a political policy independent of U.S. aims on the African continent. As a result of these contradictions, people in the West concerned about the war crimes of the imperialist states must demand that the ICC charges be dropped against Sudan and its leaders.

At the same time, anti-imperialists should tell the U.S. administration to halt all threats and intimidation tactics against Sudan and any other states or political forces in Africa that seek to exercise their right to self-determination.