A couple weeks ago, I wrote of the air attack on a munitions factory in the Sudan. It was clear, at the time, Israel was behind it as the Sudanese blamed them almost immediately:
“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.
With a combat radius of 340 miles fully loaded and the target 1,000 miles away, they would need to refuel en route as drop tanks would diminish their ordnance capability- even if they had drop tanks, they would have to refuel.
A couple things stand out in this story.
“Sudan, which analysts say is used as an arms-smuggling route to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip via neighboring Egypt…”
“A huge crater could be seen next to two destroyed buildings and what appeared to be a rocket lying on the ground.”
Last night, there was this story:
Jonathan Schanzer, a former counter-terrorism analyst at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, said the real agenda behind Israel’s assault last month on Hamas’ munitions stockpiles and smuggling tunnels was not simply to end the daily barrage of relatively primitive rockets that have become part of daily life in Israel. The real mission was to eliminate as many as 100 Iranian-built Fajr5 missiles – with the power to reach Tel Aviv – that had been sneaked into Gaza through Egypt. The Obama administration knew in advance of the operation and agreed that the missiles, built in a Sudanese factory, had to be neutralized to protect millions of Israeli citizens who were now within range of the deadly Iranian weapons, according to Schanzer.
That explains the rocket lying on the ground after the explosion in the Sudan.
“There’s little doubt that Iranian-built rockets came from Sudan through Egypt, and that Egypt’s security forces weren’t interested in intercepting the missiles,” Eric Trager, of the Washington Institute, an expert on Egyptian affairs, told FoxNews.com. “Morsi was more interested in furthering his own internal agenda than worrying about foreign policy issues at that time.”
Of course, the Israelis have long considered that possibility, prompting the deployment of a layered anti-missile system, built around the Iron Dome (for short-range rockets); upgraded Patriot units for short-range missiles like the SS-21 and SCUD variants, and the Arrow II system for longer-range missiles from Iran. The recent conflict demonstrated that Iron Dome can handle mass volleys of rockets–including the larger Fajr-5–without assistance from other assets. At one point, the Palestinians even tried to refine their “saturation” tactics, concentrating their launches at a single Iron Dome battery. Their scheme failed; the system engaged rockets that threatened populated areas, while ignoring those bound for the open countryside, just as it was designed to do. Not long after that failed “project,” the Palestinians were pressing for a firm cease-fire.While political motives for the “November war” cannot be discounted, it also seems clear that Hamas (along with its Iranian patrons) wanted a better read on how their tactics would fair against the Iron Dome, which is now entering wider operational service. To say the least, Hamas got its answer during the week-long war, and it wasn’t the one they were looking for.
Not surprisingly, the current activity involving Assad’s CW stockpile has caught the attention of Israel’s neighbors. Turkey has asked NATO to deploy two Patriot air defense battalions, to help defend the country from chemical-tipped missiles that might be fired from Syria.Meanwhile, Israel is considering a much more aggressive approach. Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic reports that Prime Minister Netanyahu has sought Jordan’s permission to bomb Syrian WMD sites on two occasions in the last two months. In both instances Jordan declined, saying the “timing wasn’t right.”With many Syrian CW facilities located near the Jordanian border, Israel believes it is important to have Amman’s permission before launching an attack through its airspace. But as U.S. officials observe, Israel doesn’t need Jordan’s permission to go after Syria; over the years, the Israeli Air Force has struck a number of targets in Syrian-controlled territory with near-impunity. So, why the sudden concern about Jordanian permission?
Israel essentially achieved its main aims within the first few days, said Schanzer, noting that Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., said as much when he remarked on Day Three of the campaign: “We have run out of good targets.”