- Russia has cut a deal with Sudan to deliver a dozen
MiG-29 Fulcrum jet fighters to the war-torn country. The deal, announced
Christmas Day in Moscow, also includes 14 MiG-29 jets for Yemen.
- The transfer of fourth-generation MiG-29 Fulcrums to
Sudan has raised concerns inside the Pentagon and is certain to alter any
possible U.S. plans for air strikes at known terrorist bases inside the
- Sudan was cited as one of a limited number of nations
with direct links to the Al-Qaeda terrorist network. The U.S. State
also listed Sudan as one of a few hostile nations known to be secretly
developing biological weapons of mass destruction.
- Mikhail Dmitriyev, head of the Committee on Military
and Technical Cooperation with Foreign Countries, said that MiG had
signed deals to deliver jets to Sudan and Yemen. Dmitriyev also noted that
Moscow agreed to deliver 14 MiG-29 fighter jets to Yemen for $437
- MiG design bureau chief Nikolai Nikitin said that the
Fulcrum fighter deal was signed Dec. 15 with Sudan, but he would not
the total number of fighters to be delivered.
- Konstantin Makiyenko, deputy head of the Center for
of Strategies and Technologies, an independent defense think tank,
that as many as 12 MiG-29s could be delivered to Sudan.
- "Oil revenues flowing to the Khartoum regime have
now enabled the purchase of highly advanced combat aircraft from
stated Eric Reeves, human rights advocate working at Smith College in
- "As many as a dozen MiG-29s, one of the most potent
fighter jets in the world today, will be shipped to Khartoum in an export
deal recently concluded with the National Islamic Front regime. This
an expenditure of approximately $400 million by one of the most indebted
nations in the world," said Reeves.
- Threat to U.S. Aircraft
- There is no question the MiG-29 is a direct threat to
U.S. airpower. The MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jet is considered to be equal
to the best U.S.-made F-15 and F-18 jet fighters. Each Fulcrum is equipped
with an arsenal of air-to-air weapons including the R-73 Archer and R-77
- The Fulcrum fighters also can strike U.S. warships
the Suez Canal with advanced anti-ship missiles and could bomb targets
deep inside Egypt or Saudi Arabia. In addition, the most-advanced version
of the MiG-29 is capable of delivering nuclear, chemical or biological
- The Fulcrum is equipped with advanced phased array radar
that can detect U.S.-made Tomahawk missiles, allowing the fighter to shoot
down cruise missiles. The Fulcrum also has an advanced infrared detection
system that can detect American F-117 and B-2 stealth bombers.
- Oil War in Sudan
- There is little debate that the MiG-29 purchase was
by foreign oil sales. The long civil war in Sudan has claimed over a
lives in the last decade, spurred in part by disputes over oil reserves
inside the poverty-stricken African state.
- "The combat aircraft will be used for military
that certainly entail continued oil-related destruction in southern
- "Though the MiG-29 is designed primarily for
combat, it has formidable air-to-ground capabilities. Depending upon the
configuration of the jets actually purchased by Khartoum, these aircraft
could be used with immensely deadly and destructive effect in southern
Sudan," stated Reeves.
- "They would likely be operationally deployed from
El Obeid air base, the southernmost military air base that can be readily
used by the Khartoum regime. All military aviation fuel for El Obeid is
supplied by a nearby 10,000 barrel/day refinery that receives its entire
crude oil supply from Talisman [Canada], Petronas [Malaysia] and China
National Petroleum Corp.," said Reeves.
- Oil revenues from sales to China enabled Sudan to
34 new jet fighters from Chinese manufacturers. Since 2000, the Sudanese
Air Force has acquired $100 million worth of Shenyang jet fighters. The
Chinese jets sold to Sudan include a dozen Shenyang F-7 super-sonic
highly improved versions of the famed Russian MiG-21 Fishbed.
- Information provided by Aviation Week and Space
confirmed that Sudan has acquired 34 new fighters from China since 2000.
The newly acquired Chinese jet fighters doubled the combat size of the
tiny Sudan air force.
- Russian Mercenary Pilots
- It is unlikely that the Sudanese air force can operate
the advanced MiG-29 Fulcrums, raising the possibility that Moscow will
also supply mercenary pilots to fly the fourth-generation fighter jets.
Russia has frequently been accused of providing mercenary pilots to other
nearby African client states.
- In 2000, Eritrea stated that Moscow supplied a large
number of mercenary pilots to neighboring rival Ethiopia. The Eritrean
diplomatic complaint to Moscow included a list, naming the Russian
working for Ethiopia.
- There is no question that Russia is committed to
the Khartoum regime with advanced hardware. Russia has already supplied
a large number of MiG-24 Hind helicopter gunships to Sudan.
- Libyan and Iraqi pilots working for the Sudanese air
force reportedly man the Hind gunships. The helicopter gunships have been
used by the Sudanese air force to attack unarmed refugee camps.
- In addition, modified Russian Antonov cargo planes
bomb U.N. food aid flights and refugee camps in eastern and southern Sudan.
The Antonov attacks are timed to catch U.N. relief flights unloading food
on the ground inside Sudan. The Antonov bombing raids are coordinated by
Russian- and Chinese-made radar sites operating inside Sudan.
- The U.N. has repeatedly suspended aid flights into Sudan
after Antonov bombers attacked unarmed U.N. airstrips. Although the U.N.
has issued direct complaints to Khartoum about the , there has been no
mention of the internationally sponsored oil war.
- "The international oil companies involved in
in southern Sudan, including also Sweden's Lundin Petroleum and Austria's
OMV, have maintained that their presence is beneficial for all
stated Eric Reeves.
- "They conveniently overlook the numerous human
reports, from many sources, on the scorched-earth warfare that serves as
their security in the southern oil regions. They also ignore the
impact their presence has had on the humanitarian relief efforts in the
- "These companies inevitably defend themselves by
arguing that they are 'constructively engaged' in the country. What
viciously extravagant purchase of MiG-29s shows is that this is absurdly
disingenuous," said Reeves.
- "Despite large new oil revenues, Sudan remains one
of the world's most indebted nations, in desperate need of agricultural
investment in particular. Instead of investing in economic development,
Khartoum is investing in the means to effect a final military solution
to their southern problem," concluded Reeves.
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