News Release

U.S. Bombing of Sudan: One Year Later


A year ago — on August 20, 1998 — the U.S. government launched cruise missiles at Sudan and Afghanistan, claiming retaliation for the U.S. embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya two weeks earlier. Key assertions by U.S. government officials — that the al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan was producing chemical weapons and that it was linked to Osama bin Laden — turned out to be inaccurate. The owner of the plant, Salah Idris, has brought suit against the U.S. government.

The following analysts are available for interviews:

A Washington correspondent for the Village Voice, Vest has investigated the al-Shifa bombing. He comments: “It’s difficult to say what is more amazing: the apparently glaring failures in the intelligence operation that led to the al-Shifa plant being fingered as a chemical weapons site; the actual bombing of the factory; the Clinton administration’s over-the-top pattern of obfuscation and contradictions in explaining its rationale for the bombing; Congress’ less-than-zealous attitude about holding the administration accountable for an unnecessarily destructive act (lying about sex gets you an independent counsel, but bombing another country with shoddy evidence and lying about it doesn’t?); the mainstream media’s unwillingness to hammer on this issue; or the public’s lack of interest.”
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Communications director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Ibish said: “The bombing of the al-Shifa factory was an act of aggression of the most reckless and lawless variety. The information upon which it was based has proven to be flimsy at best, if not outright fabrications. No attempt was made to deal with the supposed problem through diplomatic means. Property was destroyed and lives taken in a crude ‘revenge attack’ aimed at innocent third parties… The timing of the incident with regard to the president’s political fortunes is highly suspect, coming just after his belated admission of an ‘inappropriate relationship.’ It is truly one of the moral low points of recent American foreign policy.”
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Senior visiting fellow at the British American Security Information Council, Butcher said: “The case of the U.S. bombing the al-Shifa plant shows the perils of the U.S. launching strikes against alleged proliferators. This is particularly of concern since Presidential Decision Directive 60, approved in November 1997, allows for the use of nuclear weapons against alleged proliferators.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167