The business of death 82

We present a short real life action-packed “whodunnit” mystery involving several states’ governments, secret services, terrorist organizations, insurrectionists, arms smugglers, ghostly intelligence gatherers, and shadowy assassins who descend and strike and rise again and disappear.

Atbara is a town in north eastern Sudan, where the Blue Nile and the White Nile meet each other. For the last 20 or 30 years it has been the center of Sudan’s biggest arms smuggling network.

One of the regular buyers is al-Qaeda. Leading operatives of the network joined Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan in 1996. (One of them, Ibrahim al Qosi, was captured and is at present enjoying luxurious confinement at Guantanamo Bay.)

Iran was a chief source of the arms, and over time Iranians acquired a foothold in the network. One of their chief customers was the terrorist organization that has engaged the hearts of European governments, the United Nations secretariat and General Assembly, the US State Department, all Islam, and lefties everywhere: Hamas. In time, they too acquired a foothold in the network.

Al-Qaeda, Iran, Hamas, all working together to provide arms for insurrection, terrorism, and war. Quantities found their way into Gaza through the tunnels that run between Egyptian Sinai and the strip.

Recently, Iran withdrew its personnel, or most of them, from direct involvement, but continued using the network to keep up the flow of arms to Hamas and Iran’s own terrorist army, Hizbullah.

A short time ago, through Atbara, the Iranians bought WMD, namely mustard gas and nerve gas, from rebels in the Libyan town of Benghazi, and ordered the consignment to be delivered to Gaza and Lebanon. It was driven in convoys from Libya to Sudan, under Hamas and Hizbullah guard.

The final lap of the transport had then to be organized.

On April 5, two men set out in a Hyundai car from Atbara for Port Sudan. They were driving through the Kalaneeb region and approaching their destination when something hit and blew up their car. The bodies of the men, one found inside the wreck of the Hyundai and one outside, were too burnt to be identified. The incident warranted investigation by the Sudanese intelligence service and the military. The Foreign Minister of Sudan made a public announcement that the car had been hit by a missile from an aerial drone – or maybe fired from a foreign ship on the Red Sea.

The government of Sudan asked the sort-of-interim-government of Egypt  to send counter-terrorist and missile experts to help the investigation. After forensic examination they declared that a remnant of paper identified one of the dead men as Iranian. And the blackened remains of the other gave them, or some among them, the impression that he was a Palestinian. They were sure, anyway, that they were not Sudanese.

But they didn’t agree with the Foreign Minister that the car had been hit from the air or the sea. They concluded that a person or persons unknown had blown it up from somewhere near by on the ground; they must have been foreigners; and they must have arrived and departed by helicopter. Having done the deed, they took off again to a waiting ship that had brought them to the coast.

Who were the dead men? What was their business? And who had assassinated them?

The report from which we have the information ends with this:

The method of attack and clean getaway pointed to a sophisticated military organization capable of unconventional operations across great distances spanning thousands of kilometers. It would have required competent military intelligence support in places as far apart as Atbara, Kalaneeb, Port Sudan and the Red Sea.

Who could it have been? CIA? Unlikely. MI6? Extremely unlikely. Who else is there who could have done it? And why?

It remains a baffling mystery, probably never to be solved.