Last week, the Yarmouk military compex south of Sudan’s capital, Khartoum was attacked and Sudan immediately blamed Israel for using the airstrike to attack its main ammunition and small arms factory.  A U.S. monitoring group, the Satellite Sentiel Project, said that its military experts were able to confirm that craters caused by air-delivered munitions were evident at the weapons facility.  Despite the allegations by the Sudanese, the Israelis neither confirmed or denied that they had any part in the Sudanese raid, but witnesses said the attack was carried out by piloted fighter jets, as opposed to the unmanned drones previously used by Israel on other Sudanese targets.

Assuming that the Israelis were responsible for this attack, they have multiple motivations for it.  First, intelligence exists that Sudan is used as an arms-smuggling route to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip via Egypt.  Second, many experts see the Sudanese airstrike as part of Israel’s proxy war against Islamic militants across its neighbors, particularly Egypt.  Rather than directly confront these groups and deal with the international consequences, Israel has reasons for such a policy.  Another explanation is that if Israel was responsible for this attack, then it can be interpreted as a warning to Iran.  Sudan and Iran have over the years grown closer as international pressure has grown against both countries. This attack might be one way of Israel making it clear to Iran that it will no longer tolerate its expansion throughout the region.

This attack has multiple impacts for US foreign policy.  The US, of course, will stand with Israel to protect their and our interests across the Middle East.  This attack, however, has the potential to create more conflict in the region, which is not what the US needs right now.  It is in our foreign policy interests to keep Iran in check, but also to ensure that Israel does not provoke any future conflict in the Middle East.  If the latter were to happen, the consequences would be grave for the US and for the entire region.

-Zach

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/monitoring-group-satellite-images-suggest-sudan-weapons-factory-was-hit-in-airstrike/2012/10/27/538aae46-205b-11e2-8817-41b9a7aaabc7_story.html

http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=289463

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/25/us-sudan-planes-israel-idUSBRE89O1D720121025