(Reuters) – Sudan said on Wednesday that an Israeli air strike had caused the huge explosion and fire at an arms factory in Khartoum that killed two people, but Israel’s defense minister declined to comment.
Sudan, which analysts say is used as an arms-smuggling route to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip via neighboring Egypt, has blamed Israel for such strikes in the past, but Israel has either refused to comment or said it neither admitted or denied involvement.
A huge fire broke out late on Tuesday at the Yarmouk arms factory in the south of the capital which was rocked by several explosions, witnesses said. Firefighters took more than two hours to extinguish the fire at Sudan’s main factory for ammunition and small arms.
“Four military planes attacked the Yarmouk plant … We believe that Israel is behind it,” Information Minister Ahmed Belal Osman told reporters, adding that the planes appeared to approach the site from the east.
The governor of Khartoum state initially had ruled out any “external” cause for the blast but officials later showed journalists a video from the vast site. A huge crater could be seen next to two destroyed buildings and what appeared to be a rocket lying on the ground.
Major damage to the Yarmouk plant would be a blow to Sudan’s army in its battle against insurgencies in the western region of Darfur and the southern states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, bordering arch-rival South Sudan.
I’ll come back to South Sudan in a second, but first…
Khartoum is a thousand miles from the southern tip of Israel.
Now if we check with their air force, their F-16’s have a combat radius of about 340 miles fully loaded. That could be stretched by external fuel tanks and/or in-flight refueling. (Don’t quote me but I seem to recall these tanks can add 560 miles) Thus, this sortie would require refueling.
- Maximum speed:
- Combat radius: 340 mi (295 nmi, 550 km) on a hi-lo-hi mission with four 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs
- Ferry range: 2,280 NM (2,620 mi, 4,220 km) with drop tanks
- Service ceiling: 50,000+ ft (15,240+ m)
- Rate of climb: 50,000 ft/min (254 m/s)
- Wing loading: 88.3 lb/ft² (431 kg/m²)
- Thrust/weight: 1.095
Next, let’s look at the Sudan air force:
|Mikoyan MiG-29||M2 Fighter||MiG-29||12|
|Chengdu F-7 Airguard (MiG-21)||M2 Fighter||F-7M||10||Numbers in operational condition not confirmed.|
|Mikoyan MiG-17||Light attack/trainer||MiG-17F||small number||16 were ordered.|
The MiG-17’s and the Chendu F-7’s are really not a factor here, but the MiG 29’s are a problem.
Sudan has also made a successful deal to buy two different batches of 12 MiG-29 Russian fighter jets each. There are 23 MiG-29s in active service as of late 2008. However, the rebel Justice and Equality Movement claimed to have shot down one MiG-29 with large-caliber machine-gun fire on 10 May 2008, killing the pilot of the plane, a retired Russian Air Force fighter pilot; the Sudanese government denied the allegation. South Sudan also claimed to have shot down a Sudanese MiG-29 during the 2012 border conflict.
In the unlikely event one or more of these aircraft were shot down, Israel would have to have a plan to rescue the pilots. The logical place: South Sudan.
Christian groups had been championing the southern Sudanese since the 19th century. And their efforts paid off in 2000 when George W. Bush was elected president of the United States. He elevated Sudan to the top of his foreign policy agenda, and in 2005, the American government pushed the southern rebels and the central government — both war weary and locked in a military stalemate — to sign a comprehensive peace agreement that guaranteed the southerners the right to secede.
On Saturday, one man held up a sign that said “Thank You George Bush.”
The American-backed treaty set the stage for a referendum this January in which southerners voted by 98.8 percent for independence.
At 1:20 p.m. on Saturday, the southerners officially proclaimed their freedom…
George W. Bush liberated more than 50,000,000 people during his time in office. Today the people of South Sudan were liberated thanks to his efforts.
If this was Obama’s work, you can bet your sweet ass he would be spiking the football right about now. But it’s not, theses are more like his “friends”:
A year-long investigation by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) has found that scores of known radical Islamists made hundreds of visits to the Obama White House, meeting with top administration officials.
George made this possible. We never had to wonder whose side George was on.