Saturday, January 3, 2009

Who sent those arms to southern Sudan?

A few months ago, when a Ukrainian freighter carrying tanks and arms was hijacked off the coast of Somalia, I discussed the destination of the weapons (likely rebels in southern Sudan) and proposed that the Russians might have been the source of the weapons:

Which brings us to last question: where did the weapons come from? According to the VOA article, southern Sudan receives weapons from both the US and Russia, though given that the US isn't going along with the Kenyan story about the destination of the weapons, it seems likely that the Russian weapons aboard the Ukrainian ship came instead from Russia. Given that they were destined for an oil-filled region brimming with instability, it seems likely that this is part of the Kremlin's broader plan to destabilize oil- and gas-producing regions in order to raise the price of energy and feed the Russian petrostate's need for high oil prices.

Though this isn't new, I've found some corroborating information, also suggesting the arms came from Russia:

In response to the seizure of the Faina, Admiral Viktor Mardusin, commander of Russia's Baltic fleet, ordered a Russian missile frigate to Somali waters for more than two months "in order to guarantee the safety of Russian ships". That suggests the tanks and weapons aboard the Ukrainian vessel are of Russian origin.

The MV Faina is still held by Somali pirates awaiting a ransom, though the West's worst fear – that the pirates would offload the weapons and sell them in the Somali arms markets – doesn't appear to have panned out.

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