Is Sudan Providing Chinese Missiles to Syrian Rebels?
From C.J. Chivers and Eric Schmitt, New York Times: Syrian rebels, frustrated by the West’s reluctance to provide arms, have found a supplier in an unlikely source: Sudan, a country that has been under international arms embargoes and maintains close ties with a stalwart backer of the Syrian government, Iran.
In deals that have not been publicly acknowledged, Western officials and Syrian rebels say, Sudan’s government sold Sudanese- and Chinese-made arms to Qatar, which arranged delivery through Turkey to the rebels. . . .
The battle has evolved into a proxy fight for regional influence between global powers, regional players and religious sects. . . .
Sudan has a history of providing weapons to armed groups while publicly denying its hand in such transfers. Its arms or ammunition has turned up in South Sudan, Somalia, Ivory Coast, Chad, Kenya, Guinea, Mali and Uganda, said Jonah Leff, a Sudan analyst for the Small Arms Survey, a research project. It has provided weapons to Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army; rebels in Libya; and the janjaweed, the pro-government militias that are accused of a campaign of atrocities in Darfur.
“Sudan has positioned itself to be a major global arms supplier whose wares have reached several conflict zones, including the Syrian rebels,” said one American official who is familiar with the shipments to Turkey. . . .
[O]fficials suggested that a simple motive was at work — money. Sudan is struggling with a severe economic crisis.
“Qatar has been paying a pretty penny for weapons, with few questions asked,” said one American official familiar with the transfers. “Once word gets out that other countries have opened their depots and have been well paid, that can be an incentive.”
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