Don’t Let Sudan Go Back to Being an Iran-Dominated Hub for Terrorists

March 1, 2024 | Oved Lobel
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The regional struggle between Iran (backed by Russia) and pro-Western powers stretches beyond what we normally think of as the Middle East to places like Sudan. In 2020, following the ouster of the murderous dictator Omar al-Bahsir, Khartoum took steps toward joining the Abraham Accords. But just three years later, the country again devolved into a civil war far bloodier than anything happening in Gaza (albeit much less interesting to Western protesters). And that is when the African country abandoned any hope of diplomatic relations with Israel for a different kind of normalization, as Oved Lobel explains:

On October 9, while Israel was still fighting to clear its own territory of more than a thousand terrorists . . . who had invaded the country and carried out mass atrocities and kidnapping two days before, Sudan and Iran suddenly announced they were normalizing relations. This normalization of relations, ruptured in 2016 at the behest of the Gulf Arab states, follows a broader normalization between those states and Iran since 2022.

Up until 2016, and particularly during the 1990s, Sudan served the same purpose to the south of Israel as Syria did in the north: a command-and-control, training, financing, and logistics hub for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its Palestinian and Lebanese [allies]—Hizballah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)—as well as al-Qaeda and other terrorist clients. Missiles and other weapons were transferred by the IRGC to Sudan and then smuggled into Gaza, necessitating multiple Israeli airstrikes inside Sudan.

The IRGC already has a substantial presence in the Red Sea, including on islands off Eritrea as well as in Somalia, where it arms al-Qaeda’s al-Shabaab—the current leader of al-Qaeda, Saif al-Adel, has been based in Iran since 2003—as well as, in the other direction, the IRGC’s branch in Yemen, Ansar Allah, widely known as the Houthis.

The upshot? If Sudan once again becomes a terrorist hub, and Iran obtains footholds on either side of the Red Sea, Lobel goes on to explain, Tehran will have almost unrestricted routes for smuggling arms to Gaza.

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