Sudan attack demonstrates new U.S.-Israel counter-Iran policy

it will use against Iranian nuclear weapons facilities if it decided to attack Iran — to destroy about 500 of the 800 smuggling tunnels Hamas had dug. After the Gaza operation ended, that determination is manifested in three ways:

  • Since the middle of January, when the campaign in Gaza ended, Hamas and other militant organizations continued to launch rockets against Israeli towns in the south. Israel, when it retaliates, has so far chosen to bomb and destroy additional tunnels, thus trying to complete the tunnel-destruction effort it began on 27 December.
  • The United States and the Europeans have provided Egypt with sophisticated detection equipment which will help the Egyptians detect tunnel-digging activity by Hamas. Egyptian soldiers have been trained in using this equipment.
  • By far the most important element of the new determination is the protective envelope the United States has placed in the Gulf of Aden, to the south of the Sinai Peninsula. Iran has moved large amounts  of weapons and equipment to warehouses and storage facilities in Somalia and Sudan. From these storage facilities the equipment is ferried to the Sinai — often by Somali pirates — where it is picked up by Bedouins and carried north to the Gaza strip. By interfering with Iranian and pirate shipping, the United States is cutting the supply of Iranian arms to Hamas at the source.

This is the meaning of the January operation in Sudan. This is what we know: Israeli planes, supported by the U.S. Air Force and by information from U.S. satellites, attacked a convoy carrying Iranian weapons from their storage facility to the shore, where small boats were waiting to carry the weapons into Sinai. Seventeen trucks were destroyed and some forty Sudanese were killed (the president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, today claimed that 800 people were killed in the attack).

Intelligence sources who track the Iranian weapon smuggling activity say that until the January attack, Iran was sending two or three similar convoys a months from Sudan to the Sinai.

Whoever needs to know, knows”
Few analysts have better access to intelligence information in Israel and the United States than Yediot Ahronot’s Ronen Bergman (author of the excellent The Secret War with Iran). In today’s column he writes:

Since the end of the Second Lebanon War [July-August 2006], where we [Israelis] tried to show our neighbors that we’ve gone crazy, yet didn’t quite succeed in doing it — something changed