Best of Intentions, Ctd.

So do you recall the “U.S.-Israel MOU from back in January”:http://www.totalwonkerr.net/1837/psi-part-deux-red-sea-regatta?

bq. The United States will work with regional and NATO partners to address the problem of the supply of arms and related materiel and weapons transfers and shipments to Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza, including through the Mediterranean, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea and eastern Africa, through improvements in existing arrangements or the launching of new initiatives to increase the effectiveness of those arrangements as they relate to the prevention of weapons smuggling to Gaza.

Based on “the publicized results so far”:http://www.totalwonkerr.net/1925/best-of-intentions, it didn’t amount to much. So if NATO isn’t going to stop Iranian-made rockets and other “locally strategic” weapons from reaching Gaza, who is?

Well, according to the Khartoum correspondent of _Al-Shuruq Al-Jadid_,* an Egyptian newspaper, _somebody_ started taking action back in January, destroying a convoy of arms-laden trucks on a mountain road near Port Sudan. That would be the United States:

bq. An official source has stated that the US fighter aircraft that carried out the raid were stationed in a number of regional countries. The sources believe it is highly likely that the fighter planes took off from Eritrea or Djibouti.

(The “Sudan Tribune”:http://sudantribune.com/spip.php?article30633 summarizes the story in English.)

But now comes CBS News, “crediting Israel”:http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/03/25/world/worldwatch/entry4892589.shtml?tag=main_home_webExclusive with the attack. The sourcing’s pretty sketchy, but the story’s not entirely implausible. And Israeli officials “didn’t deny it”:http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1074032.html.

As of today, _Al-Shuruq Al-Jadid_* has more on the story, but you have to wonder about some of it, really:

A fresh US raid on Eastern Sudan targeted trucks said to be loaded with weapons headed for Sinai in preparation for smuggling via tunnels into the Gaza Strip. According to informed Sudanese sources, the bombardment continued until yesterday morning.

Awad Mubarak, assistant secretary general of the Eastern Front, pointed out that bombardment of smuggling points started almost two months ago and that it continues until this time. He revealed that the raids have claimed the lives of 300 Sudanese people. According to Awad Mubarak, the sons of the Eastern parts engage in smuggling and trading in weapons to make money and address the problem of “lacking development.”

If fact, this latest report could be a sort of provocation, as _Al-Shuruq Al-Jadid_’s* Rafidah Yasin points out:

bq. Commenting on the reasons behind leaking such reports (on the US raids) after shrouding them in secrecy for a long time, an informed source in Khartoum pointed out that the Sudanese president is trying to mobilize Arab and Islamic public opinion and rally support against the ICC decision to arrest him on the charge of committing war crimes in Darfour, by giving the impression that the United States wishes to punish him for helping the HAMAS movement.

Would that the U.S. media were always equally frank about how they were being manipulated.

For whatever it’s worth, my money is on “CJTF-HOA”:http://www.hoa.africom.mil/. Call it an educated guess, nothing more.

[Update: U.S. Africa Command has “denied any involvement”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/26/AR2009032601859.html. ABC News has a “single anonymous U.S. source”:http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2009/03/exclusive-three.html saying there have been three strikes so far, and attributing them all to Israel. The NY Times has “two anonymous U.S. sources”:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/27/world/africa/27sudan.html. Regardless, the “head of the Shin Bet”:http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ioi_0jtO9RjMwPNRoXNCndRPRq3gD977PPUO0 says that nothing has really made much of a dent in arms smuggling into Gaza.]

*[Update 2: The newspaper in question is more familiarly known as Al-Shorouk Al-Gadid.]

[Update 3: Here come the London papers. The Sunday Times has a version now, and remember, just because “Uzi Mahnaimi”:http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/africa/article5993093.ece reports it doesn’t mean it’s always completely false. Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat has a “version”:http://www.aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=1&id=16239, too. But back here in America, Time Magazine’s version is “probably the most trustworthy”:http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1888352,00.html. Looks like my guess was wrong. Sorry, CJTF-HOA.]

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