According to reports, Iranian warships arrived in Port Sudan to show support for the Khartoum government one week after accusing Israel of “bombing an arms factory in the Sudanese capital”. The commanders of the warships are scheduled to meet Sudanese officials in what some are calling a possible escalation of a proxy war between Iran and Israel. This proxy war has been waged amidst the conflict between the two Sudans, with Israel emerging as an ally of South Sudan and Iran as a friend to the North.
Sudanese officials describe the “naval” visit as an “exchange of amicable relations.” Iranian officials are equally dismissive of probing reports about Iran’s intentions and have been on record as stating that the ships were dispatched last month prior to the targeting of an arms factory in Khartoum last week.
The arms factory explosion was met with accusations that Israel is rehearsing for a strike on Iranian nuclear targets. With no comment or denial from the Israeli government and examples of past Israeli and US bombings of targets inside Sudan, the possibility remains open.
Since the Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir came to power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989, the Iranian government has kept the Khartoum regime as a close ally. It’s no surprise then that Western security reports have accused Iran of using Sudan’s territory as a passageway for weapons smuggled to Hamas through Egypt.
Wherever the pseudo-political truth may lie, the impact of increased hostilities between Iran and Israel does not bode well for the two Sudans who came to the brink of another “civil” war earlier this year. No borders have been demarcated between the two countries and with both governments hurling accusations at each other for arming rebels, any further escalation in tensions could prove disastrous for both countries.