Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Imperialists Intensify Attacks Against Sudan: Israeli Bombings Result in Numerous Deaths

Imperialists Intensify Attacks Against Sudan

US-backed Israeli bombings result in numerous deaths

by Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor
Pan-African News Wire

Imperialist countries and their allies are escalating political, diplomatic and military attacks on Sudan in the aftermath of the issuance of warrants for the arrest and prosecution of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. 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 United States government has recently appointed a special envoy to Sudan, retired Maj. Gen. Scott Gration, who visited the country in early April. Although Gration spoke very diplomatically in regard to improving relations between Sudan and the United States, the reality of developments over the last several months would make any objective observer conclude that the current administration's policies are still designed to undermine the sovereignty of the Sudanese state.

In recent weeks reports have surfaced that Israeli commanded American-made jets and drones bombed at least two convoys in eastern Sudan resulting in the deaths of dozens of people from several countries in the Horn of Africa region. The United States was initially suspected of direct involvement in the bombings which took place during January and February. However, subsequent statements and news agency articles indicate that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) executed the operations under the guise of intercepting arms shipments from the Islamic Republic of Iran to Hamas in Gaza.

A report issued by the Anti-War News web site on March 26 stated that "US officials have confirmed today that the attack against a convoy of trucks in Sudan was in fact carried out by Israeli warplanes."

Later on March 31, Anti-War News also reported that "Israeli security 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."

The Sudan Tribune reported that government officials said the attacks took place on January 27 and February 11 repsectively. Nontheless, the government denied that the convoys were involved in arms smuggling but that the vehicles were transporting nationals from other countries in the region.

The Tribune says, "However an unnamed US official speaking to ABC network said that Israeli warplanes launched three airstrikes since January. Sudan acknowledged the bombings took place but said that the government kept it under tight wraps while an investigation is completed.

"Foreign ministry spokesman Ali Sadiq said there were two separate bombing raids against smugglers in a remote desert area near the Red Sea town of Port Sudan in January and February, killing about 40 people." (Sudan Tribune, March 28)

A leading Israeli newspaper Haartz reported on the bombings of Sudan in an article published on April 1. This reports states that "Meanwhile, in May, an international conference is scheduled to take place in Ottawa, the third of its kind since the end of Operation Cast Lead, which will discuss how to prevent arms smuggling from Iran to the Gaza Strip."

The newspaper goes on to point out that "In addition to host Canada, 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."

Sudan Gains Support Against ICC Warrants

During March and April, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has won the political support of a number of states and regional organizations. Al-Bashir has traveled both inside the Darfur region as well as outside the country to Egypt, Libya and Doha, 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, which is a staunch ally of the United States, 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. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, it was reported that Hosni Mubarak had warned the Sudanese government to cease the arm shipments destined for Gaza.

Another article published in the Sudan Tribune addressed the role of the U.S.-backed government in Egypt. The article says that "The US and Israel have blamed Cairo in the past for not doing enough to stop arms smuggling on its borders to Gaza."

The article goes on to say that "However the Egyptian government dismissed the criticism saying that it has taken robust measures to close a network of smuggling tunnels, mostly used for food and fuel, linking it to Gaza." (April 2)

At the same time, raised a rhetorical question pondering over how Egypt could not know about arms convoys to Gaza from the Port of Sudan. The reports of the operations against Sudan and the statements issued by the U.S. and Israel in recent weeks illustrates that both Sudan and Iran are being targeted for destabilization and regime change.

Since the days of the Bush administration, the United States and Israel have been contemplating an aerial bombardment of Iran. Iran has been accused of arming the resistance forces in Lebanon, Iraq as well as 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.

Anti-Imperialists Must Demand Dropping of Charges

The International Criminal Court has exposed its hypocrisy by indicting the sitting president of an African nation. Other warrants and detentions of former African leaders and opposition figures ring hollow in the face of the tremedous war crimes committed by the United States and Britain in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

In Iraq, it has been estimated that over one million people have died and some four million others have been displaced internally and externally since the beginning of the United States occupation in March 2003. Although the Obama administration has pledged to draw down its forces in Iraq to 50,000 troops over the next two years, the continued presence of U.S. soldiers in this Middle Eastern nation will still constitute an occupation. With the withdrawal of British forces from Basra in March 2009, the U.S. is forced to take greater responsibility for the war.

At the North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO) Summit in Strasbourg, France held in early April, the U.S. administration was paid lip service for the planned deployment of thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan. Nonetheless, both France and Germany are refusing to commit additional combat troops to assist in the occupation. At the same time, Canada and Britain are expressing reluctance in continuing to maintain their troops presence in Afghanistan.

In Afghanistan and Pakistan, more civilians are being killed in so-called anti-terrorists operations. U.S. forces have engaged in attacks on 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 has objected to these U.S. plans and delcared that his government is not a puppet regime.

Despite these crimes of pre-emptive war, occupation, and the wholesale massacre of civilians, the ICC has not seen fit to indict any western states. In fact the U.S. nor Sudan are signatories to the Rome Treaty that created the ICC, therefore, 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 the Ethiopian invasion and occupation of Somalia beginning in December 2006. Ethiopian forces have withdrawn from Somalia after a two year occupation, however, this episode created the worse humanitarian crisis on the continent, leaving thousands dead and a million displaced.

In addition, the southern African nation of Zimbabwe continues 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. Zimbabwe's economy has been destroyed as a result of sanctions and the country is now recovering from a cholera outbreak that killed four thousand people and sickened many others.

Consequently, there is a serious double standard operating 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 who are 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 other states and political forces in Africa that seek to exercise their right to self-determination.
Abayomi Azikiwe is the editor of the Pan-African News Wire and has been following the situation in Sudan over the last several months.

No comments: