By Jonathan Schanzer, foreignpolicy.com
June 10, 2010 (SSNA) — The Sudanese newspaper Rai al-Shaab (Opinion of the People), owned and controlled by Sudanese opposition leader Hassan al-Turabi, recently published an article that potentially provides new and important insight into Sudan’s terrorist ties to Iran. The article alleges that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, is operating a secret weapons factory in Sudan to funnel weapons to Iran-sponsored terrorist organizations in Africa and the Middle East.
Several Arab bloggers circulated the article last week. Today, these blogs are the only evidence that the article ever existed. Soon after it was published, Sudanese authorities shut down the entire newspaper. The paper’s deputy editor, Abu Zur al-Amin, was arrested on charges of "terrorism, espionage and destabilizing the constitutional system," according to Reuters.
The Sudanese newspaper report claimed that the Quds Force, a deadly arm of the IRGC that has been fingered by the U.S. government for providing military support to the Taliban and other anti-U.S. forces in Afghanistan, set up the factory "in the jurisdiction of Khartoum" as part of an undeclared element of the 2008 defense pact signed between Iran and Sudan.
Israel, for its part, might already be aware of the IRGC weapons factory. In fact, it might have already attacked the weapons produced there. In March 2009, U.S. officials claimed that Israel had conducted three airstrikes in Sudan in early 2009 that targeted Iranian weapons shipments meant for Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.