* Israeli security sources: one air strike on Sudan, not three
* The only thing the Arab League summit agrees on this week: Embracing Sudanese President Bashir, the architect of a campaign of rape and murder in Darfur. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon attends the summit and sits near Bashir, even though Bashir was indicted by the International Criminal Court this month for crimes against humanity. Western human rights groups are totally silent over the embrace of Bashir by Arab governments
* Arab dictators have a long history of welcoming war criminals, including many senior Nazis, and Ugandan tyrant Idi Amin who lived out his final years surrounded by luxury in Saudi Arabia, something that Bashir also perhaps aspires to
* Libya’s Gaddafi proclaims himself “king of kings”
1. “Israel, not U.S., carried out raid against arms convoy in Sudan”
2. Olmert: “No place is out of Israel’s reach”
3. Strike reportedly obliterates Iranian ship at sea
4. Time magazine: F-16s and F-15s were used, not just drones
5. Sudanese leader receives warm welcome at Arab summit…
6. … while Gaddafi proclaims himself “king of kings”
7. Shin Bet: Nearly 70 tons of explosives smuggled into Gaza since January op
8. Standard of living in Gaza higher than in Egypt; rockets continue to fall on Israel
9. “Palestinians firing Chinese-made rockets”
10. Israel concerned as Damascus set to receive MiG 31E planes
11. Israeli-Turkish relations on the mend?
[All notes below by Tom Gross]
“ISRAEL, NOT U.S., CARRIED OUT RAID AGAINST ARMS CONVOY IN SUDAN”
In the past few days, several international news outlets have made public allegations that in January Israel bombed a major arms convoy in Sudan. The 23-truck convoy was said to be carrying Iranian weapons through Sudan en route to Egypt and on to Gaza for use by Hamas.
The American news network CBS was the first to report last week that it was Israeli and not American forces that destroyed the arms convoy in Sudanese territory in January. According to a report in a Sudanese newspaper, 39 people were killed in the attack which occurred in an unpopulated desert area north of Port Sudan.
A Sudanese government minister has admitted that Iranian arms were destroyed in the incident. According to Israeli sources, the convoy included long range Fajr-3 rockets which, had they reached Gaza, could have been used to strike Tel Aviv, Israel’s largest city, as well as Dimona, home to Israel’s alleged nuclear facilities.
According to the (London) Sunday Times, Israel used unmanned Hermes 405 drone aircraft to carry out the mission. A number of Iranian Revolutionary Guards were killed, and all the trucks carrying the long-range rockets were destroyed, the paper said.
The attack on the convoy occurred during the 22-day battle between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip. ABC news is reporting that Israel has conducted at least two more air strikes in Sudan since January.
OLMERT: “NO PLACE IS OUT OF ISRAEL’S REACH”
The New York Times cites unnamed American security officials as saying that the attacking jets were Israeli even though the Israelis themselves will not comment on the raid.
Israel’s biggest selling daily, Yediot Ahronot, (which is subject to certain reporting restrictions on grounds of national security), commented “Bombing Sudan, if it indeed happened, is but one piece in Israel’s secret war against the smuggling of weapons and money to Hamas.” The paper added, “Iran’s war against Israel is global” in various ways that are not being made public.
Israel’s outgoing prime minister, Ehud Olmert, said simply “that no place is out of Israel’s reach.”
“Everyone can use their imagination. Those who need to know, know. There is no place where Israel cannot operate, near and far. Such a place doesn’t exist,” Olmert said.
Israeli agents previously entered the Sudan in the mid-1980s to facilitate the airlift of Ethiopian Jews to Israel in Operation Moses.
“The air force knows eastern Sudan well. It flew at low altitudes there during Operation Moses,” an Israeli official said.
STRIKE REPORTEDLY OBLITERATES IRANIAN SHIP AT SEA
The United States and eight other NATO members have in recent days signed a memorandum of understanding with Israel to combat smuggling into Gaza. The NATO counties said they would share intelligence with Israel on the matter.
An Iranian arms ship, the Monchegorsk, was reportedly intercepted recently off the coast of Cyprus. Following American pressure the Cypriots boarded the ship and confiscated its cargo.
The Iranians are continuing to try to smuggle arms via Turkey into Syria and Lebanon and on to Hizbullah.
In a separate incident, American sources say there was an additional airstrike in February, believed to be carried out by Israel, on a ship making its way to Sudan from Iran.
“The second strike was against a ship at sea and it was completely destroyed,” a Sudanese official interviewed by Israel’s Channel 10 news, said.
The Islamist regimes in Tehran and Khartoum enjoy close ties with one another and with Hamas. With the exception of Syria, Sudan is the only Arab government that supports the Iranian regime. The new Sudanese armed forces were trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Up to a quarter of a million non-Arabs have been murdered as a result of the genocidal campaign by Sudan’s Arab-led regime in the country’s Darfur region. The government is trying to drive non-Arab black Africans from the region.
TIME MAGAZINE: F-16S AND F-15S WERE USED, NOT JUST DRONES
According to a report appearing yesterday on Time magazine’s website, “two highly-placed Israeli security sources” told Time that while Israeli fighter-bombers, backed by unmanned drones, were responsible for the attack in mid-January, claims by a U.S. television network that a ship and a second convoy were destroyed, were wrong. “There was only one raid, and it was a major operation,” reported Time, adding that “dozens of aircraft” were used, including F-16s and F-15s, not just drones.
Israel never officially admits to carrying out overseas actions against its foes, but it is suspected of sending planes to destroy a Syrian nuclear facility in 2007.
SUDANESE LEADER RECEIVES WARM WELCOME AT ARAB SUMMIT…
Although an international warrant for his arrest has been issued by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity, Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir was greeted with extraordinary red carpet pomp-and-circumstance, including hugs and kisses from the royal family, when he arrived in Qatar to attend the 22-nation Arab League summit that began on Sunday. The extravagant welcome was seen by some as a poke-in-the-eye for the West. The hugging and kissing of Bashir was led by the emir of Qatar, followed by the head of the Arab League, Amr Moussa.
Arab dictators have a long history of welcoming war criminals, including many senior Nazis, and Ugandan tyrant Idi Amin who lived out his final years surrounded by luxury in Saudi Arabia, something that Bashir also perhaps aspires to.
Ironically, the conference – the theme of which is Arab unity – is being boycotted by the head-of-state (Hosni Mubarak of Egypt) that is trying to broker unity among Palestinian factions.
Rare and courageous criticism of the Arab dictators’ embrace of Bashir came from Saad al-Ajmi, a former Kuwaiti minister of information. He said: “The leaders’ position is their own self-defense, because they don’t want to open the door to an international tribunal of any kind that will open the file of any crimes they committed against humanity or against their own people. Most of those regimes are actually dictatorships, and most of them have their hands smeared with the blood of their own people.”
… WHILE GADDAFI PROCLAIMS HIMSELF “KING OF KINGS”
Indeed supporting al-Bashir, who is pursuing his policy of ethnic cleansing against the non-Arab indigenous Black African tribes of Darfur, is about the only thing the Arab governments seems to agree on.
Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi walked out of the opening session of the summit after lambasting King Abdullah ben Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia and then proclaiming himself “king of kings of Africa”.
Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh also walked out after the summit ignored his initiative for setting up “an Arab Union to boost Arab-Arab relations.”
SHIN BET: NEARLY 70 TONS OF EXPLOSIVES SMUGGLED INTO GAZA SINCE JANUARY OP
At least 70 tons of explosives have reached the Gaza Strip since the end of Operation Cast Lead, Yuval Diskin, the director of Israel’s domestic security agency, the Shin Bet, said yesterday. In addition to tons of explosives, anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, 45 tons of raw materials for the production of weapons, rockets and mortar shells have been reaching Gaza-based terrorists, adding further to the belief by many Israelis that the army stopped the Gaza operation too early as a result of international media pressure, including reports of “massacres” which later transpired not to have occurred.
STANDARD OF LIVING IN GAZA HIGHER THAN IN EGYPT; ROCKETS CONTINUE TO FALL ON ISRAEL
In the latest round of rocket fire against Israeli civilians (completely unreported in the very same international media that ignores murderous Palestinian behavior even toward other Palestinians), Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired three Kassam rockets at southern Israel yesterday afternoon. An IDF soldier was also wounded by gunmen on the Gaza side of the Israel-Gaza border.
Hamas sent a text message to reporters saying the group’s “fighters” had fired 18 rockets at Israel. (In fact they fired three.)
Despite the ongoing attacks Israel continues to provide substantial quantities of aid to Gaza, where the standard of living remains higher than, for example, in neighboring Egypt.
Last week, for instance, Israel transferred 17,385 tons of humanitarian aid, food commodities, medical supplies and medication, to the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom and Karni crossings.
2,172,000 liters of heavy duty diesel for the Gaza power station were delivered via the Nahal Oz fuel depot, and 1170 tons of gas for domestic use were transferred to the Gaza Strip. This represents a further increase on the previous week, when 1017 tons of domestic gas were delivered to Gaza.
191,602 tons of humanitarian aid has been delivered to Gaza since Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire on January 18, 2009.
“PALESTINIANS FIRING CHINESE-MADE ROCKETS”
A growing number of Chinese-made rockets are being smuggled into the Gaza Strip from Sinai and fired at Israel, the deputy head of the Israel Police’s national bomb disposal laboratory, Supt. Kobi Preger, revealed at a press conference yesterday.
He identified at least three types of Chinese-made rockets among those being fired from Gaza: the 107 mm rocket, often called a “Grad,” and two types of 122 mm rockets. He added that one version of the 122 mm rocket had a range of 40 kilometers which, given the small size of Israel, puts a large proportion of southern Israel in range.
Both forms of the 122mm rocket can carry 6.3 kilograms of explosives, Preger said.
ISRAEL CONCERNED AS DAMASCUS SET TO RECEIVE MIG 31E PLANES
Damascus will soon take delivery of advanced MiG 31E fighter jets, the outgoing head of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt.-Gen. Michael D. Maples, told the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee. Russia is to supply the jets. “Recent Syrian contracts with Russia for future delivery include new MiG-31 and MiG-29M/M2 fighter aircraft,” Maples said.
Israel is concerned that any such delivery will impact the balance of power in the region. Some Israelis say that those Israeli defense officials who recommend rapidly pursuing a peace treaty with Syria have not fully comprehended that afterwards the U.S. may arm Syria to the teeth, as it did with Egypt.
ISRAELI-TURKISH RELATIONS ON THE MEND?
Israel and Turkey will take part in a joint naval exercise this summer despite months of tense relations between Jerusalem and Ankara. (Please see dispatches from earlier this year for background on the poor state of relations between Israel and its crucial ally Turkey.) Other NATO member countries are expected to join the drill. The Israeli and Turkish navies have enjoyed years of strong ties.