Category Archives: Africa

Best of Intentions, Ctd.

So do you recall the “U.S.-Israel MOU from back in January”:

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”:, 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”: summarizes the story in English.)

But now comes CBS News, “crediting Israel”: with the attack. The sourcing’s pretty sketchy, but the story’s not entirely implausible. And Israeli officials “didn’t deny it”:

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”: Call it an educated guess, nothing more.

[Update: U.S. Africa Command has “denied any involvement”: ABC News has a “single anonymous U.S. source”: saying there have been three strikes so far, and attributing them all to Israel. The NY Times has “two anonymous U.S. sources”: Regardless, the “head of the Shin Bet”: 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”: reports it doesn’t mean it’s always completely false. Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat has a “version”:, too. But back here in America, Time Magazine’s version is “probably the most trustworthy”:,8599,1888352,00.html. Looks like my guess was wrong. Sorry, CJTF-HOA.]

Happy Birthday, Pelindaba Treaty!

To celebrate the 12th anniversary of the signing of the African Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Pelindaba Treaty), the talented folks at the CNS International Organizations and Nonproliferation Program (IONP) put together a “*resource page on the Pelindaba Treaty*”:

On March 26, Mozambique became the 24th state party to ratify the Treaty, which means the African Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone needs concrete action of just four more states to become a reality. CNS has been actively engaged in promoting the Treaty’s entry into force, so aside from the all you need to know on the Pelindaba Treaty, the resource page also features presentations from a recent “workshop in Pretoria”:, organized by CNS and Africa’s Institute for Security Studies. An accompanying “piece”: by IONP’s Jean du Preez concludes:

If one looks at the current state of affairs regarding the Pelindaba Treaty, then the conclusion should clearly be that the *glass is half full* instead of the more negative half empty perspective.


The *challenge before African countries*, and in particular those that have not yet ratified the treaty, *should therefore not be how to implement the accord, but who will become the 28th state party*, thereby taking credit for ensuring that the longest aspired NWFZ in the world will finally become a reality. Then the symbolism attached to the Zulu name of the treaty, which roughly translates into “the matter or discussion is settled”, will have true meaning. It will not only signal the end of the struggle to make Africa free of nuclear weapons, but it would be *a real step towards a nuclear weapons free world*, and not simply a vision of such a goal.