Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, with Marzieh Hashemi, anchor on Press TV. Azikiwe is a news analyst on various international media outlets., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Sudanese Demonstrate Against Israeli Bombing in Khartoum
Tel Aviv suggests it was responsible for attacks on weapons factory
By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Sudanese citizens have staged protests in the capital Khartoum in the aftermath of the bombing of the Yarmouk weapons factory by the Israeli Air Force (IAF). The strike, which took place on October 24, was not the first time that the IAF has bombed the central African state.
In May, Israel launched a missile attack on an automobile in Port Sudan. Similar attacks occurred in April 2011, which killed two people as well as in January 2009 in the eastern region of the oil-rich country.
In August 1998, the U.S. bombed a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan. This military action ordered by former President Bill Clinton claimed that the facility was used to produce chemical weapons.
No evidence was ever cited that the plant was used to manufacture unconventional weapons. The bombing by U.S. warplanes took place in the aftermath of attacks on Washington’s embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.
Sudanese Ambassador to the United Nations, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, characterized the recent air strikes as a “blatant violation” of the UN charter and called for the international body to condemn the State of Israel.
The demonstrations in Sudan on October 25 accused both Israel and the United States as being culpable in the attacks. Protesters chanted “Death to Israel” and “Remove Israel from the map.” (Press TV, October 25)
Demonstrations in the capital of Khartoum erupted after the Culture and Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman announced that four IAF warplanes bombed the factory that left at least two people dead. The Satellite Sentinel Project through a comparative analysis of Digital Globe imagery says the photos “show six large craters, each approximately 16 meters across and consistent with impact craters created by air-delivered munitions, centered in a location where, until recently, some 40 shipping containers had been stacked.” (Reuters, October 27)
In the aftermath of the bombing, a huge fire erupted at the factory which took firefighters more than two hours to extinguish. Initially, Israel neither confirmed nor denied the air strikes.
However, on October 25, Israeli intelligence officials admitted that the military has been carrying out missions inside Sudan for several years. Israel has accused the Sudanese government of supplying weapons to the Hamas organization in the Gaza strip in Palestine.
An Israeli official was quoted as saying that “It would be in Israel’s interest to hit a factory that was a major source of weapons for the Gaza Strip, no? Sudan has long been a playground for militants, and for Israel it would be important to send the message that they cannot use Sudan as a way station for their arms and training camps.” (McClatchy Newspapers, October 26)
Another Israeli defense official Amos Gilad seemed to justify the air strikes by accusing Sudan of being a “dangerous terrorist state. To know exactly what happened there, it will take some time to understand,” he told Israel’s army radio. (france24.com, October 25)
Gilad went on to claim that “Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is regarded as a war criminal. Sudan has also served as the operational base for the late al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. The regime is supported by Iran and it serves as a route for the transfer, via Egyptian territory, of Iranian weapons to Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists.”
Sudan has been under threat by imperialism for many years. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued arrest warrants for President al-Bashir and other leading officials of the government for actions taken in defense of its territorial sovereignty threatened by rebels operating in the western Darfur region. Several of the rebel organizations are supported by Israel and the U.S.
The country, which was Africa’s largest geographic nation-state until it was partitioned in 2011, is an emerging oil-producing country. The failure of the independence process with South Sudan resulted earlier this year in the eruption of fighting on the borders with the Republic of Sudan in the North.
A mediation process carried out by the African Union has achieved an agreement between the North and the South to re-open oil drilling and shipments between the two states. Nonetheless, many outstanding issues remain with conflicts still taking place involving disputes over demarcations in Abyei, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.
Despite the bombing on October 24, Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) maintains that it will continue the party’s support of the Palestinian people. Nafie Ali Nafie, the presidential assistant and deputy chairman of the NCP said on October 28 that the country will not stop supporting its “brothers in Palestine.” (Sudan Tribune)
Racist Anti-Sudan and African Demonstrations Continue in Tel Aviv
Meanwhile inside the Israeli state, a campaign directed against African immigrants, many of whom are from South Sudan, has continued. Several months ago, after government provocations, racist mobs attacked African immigrants and their homes and businesses.
African migrants have been derisively labeled as “infiltrators” by the government of Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu. The Israeli government has ordered thousands of Africans detained and deported while commissioning the building of a large prison for the sole purpose of their incarceration pending expulsion.
On October 28 at least 150 Israeli residents of Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood marched to a government compound carrying a coffin with the names of various subdivisions written on it. During the march Israelis chanted racist slogans such as “Sudanese go back to Sudan” and “Netanyahu you ruined our homes, our neighborhood, our city and our country.” (Ynetnews.com)
During the course of the march, an African worker outside a local restaurant was taunted and several of the participants attempted to shatter the windows of the business. The worker then went inside the restaurant for safety, when later police were summoned and arrested several of the demonstrators.
Israeli settlers blame African immigrants for destroying their neighborhoods and causing street crime. The demonstrators called for the African migrants to be re-located to the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem’s Caesarea and Rehavia neighborhoods.
May Golan, who stays in Tel Aviv, said during the march that “We are being buried alive and no one cares. People call me a racist but if I have to protect my own life being a racist then I’m proud to be one.” (Ynetnews.com, October 28)
Shlomo Maslawi, a Tel Aviv Councilman said “There is no doubt this is a ticking bomb. Currently only a few infiltrators manage to enter due to the border closure and the government considers its job done, but we are still stuck with 60,000-70,000 infiltrators already present.”