International media outlets did not wait for a response from Jerusalem before reporting on an "Israeli attack" on a weapons factory in Khartoum. Israel, it was claimed, considers Sudan to be a "dangerous terrorist state." But also from the world's perspective, Sudan is far from an exemplary nation.
Officials in Sudan are angry, and making threats against Israel. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, facing genocide charges by the International Criminal Court in the Hague, has been shunned by the West, so he bet his survival on bolstering ties with Iran. He is not the first to have responded to Tehran's advances. This previously occurred in Mauritania. In general, Iran is vigorously wooing underdeveloped nations in Africa with considerable success.
Some tied the attack in Sudan to the round of violent escalation in southern Israel this week. For five years, Israel has accused Sudan of arming the military wing of Hamas. Israel, it was written, found Sudan's fingerprints on Hamas weaponry fired at southern communities.
But the fingerprints were not only Sudanese, but also Iranian. In 2008, Sudan signed a military cooperation agreement with Iran. On numerous occasions, Iranian consultants have been spotted at the Sudanese factories in Yarmouk. This is not the first time that an African nation has been used as a weapons depot or hiding place by large and distant Muslim nations. During the First Gulf War, Saddam Hussein considered hiding his secret weapons in Mauritania, which supported him. Now, Iran is using Sudan as its backyard, or more precisely, its secret courtyard.
The world also saw this week's attack in Sudan as a message to Iran, and also perhaps to the international community. If Israeli planes in fact carried out the strike in Khartoum, 1,900 kilometers (about 1,200 miles) from Israel, they could easily do the same in Iran, which is 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) away.
Sudan's air defense systems, however, are far less advanced than Iran's. Sudan still has Soviet S-75 Dvina anti-aircraft missiles from the 1950s. Iran has much more sophisticated systems than this, but media outlets on Thursday chose to emphasize the fact that "something" disrupted the communications systems in Khartoum before the attack on the weapons factory.
Speaking of Sudan's Soviet anti-aircraft missiles, a S-75 Dvina was used in the famous shooting down over the Soviet Union of an American U-2 spy plane piloted by Gary Powers on May 1, 1960. Those were the days.