Skip to comments.Cyprus Fears If Iran Arms Ship is Released, Israeli Navy Will Seize It
Posted on 02/03/2009 11:22:51 AM PST by lewisglad
Israel has informed Washington, Cairo and Nicosia that surface missiles bound for Hamas are concealed in the steel holds of the Cypriot-flagged Iran Hedayt which the US intercepted but did not stop in the Red Sea last week.
Military sources report that after neither the US nor Egypt laid hands on the cargo when they had the chance, Cyprus finds itself stuck Saturday, Jan 31, with hard choices: the US and Israel are pressing Nicosia not to let the ship go without a further search for fear Israel will seize it and precipitate an armed clash with Iran. Tehran on the other hand threatens Nicosia with diplomatic and economic retribution if the vessel is not released forthwith.
Friday, Cyprus president Demetris Christofias said a ship anchored off Limassol was being searched carrying cargo that contravenes UN resolutions. Cyprus state radio reported the vessel may have been traveling from Iran to Syria with weapons destined for Hamas.
Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni informed Nicosia that the cargo aboard the Iran Hedayt contravened the UN Security Council Resolution 1747 which forbids Iran to export arms under international sanctions.
But foreign minister Markos Kyprianou later backpedalled by saying the authorities were still trying to determine if the ship's cargo contravenes United Nations resolutions.
After Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen said on Jan. 28 that the US Navy had no authority to seize the weapons aboard the Iranian vessel "The US did as much as we could" - Nicosia too is reviewing its options.
As the arms vessel made its way from Bandar Abbas to the Red Sea, tracked by sources from Jan. 20, Jerusalem counted on the Livni-Rice memorandum of understanding for a joint effort to stop Iranian arms smuggling to Hamas kicking in. There was a precedent.
On Dec. 2, 2002, American warships helped two Spanish warships halt a North Korean cargo vessel and confiscate Scud missiles bound for Saddam Hussein hidden beneath sacks of cement.
But the Iranian cargo for Hamas was not touched and the ship was allowed to proceed.
Jerusalem is watching tensely now to see what the Cypriots do next. If they let the arms ship go without confiscating the missiles aboard, Tehran will be encouraged to send more arms ships to Hamas and the entire international effort to stop Hamas rearming, which was implicit in Israel's unilateral ceasefire, will cave in before it ever took off.
Israel shouldn’t seize it, they should sink it.
Aye, deep six her!
Does Tom Clancy write the fiction for DEBKA?
Once you suspend adequate disbelief, it’s really quite exciting.
Caught by President Bush, and let go by President 9/10.
Bring it on.
Seize it and give the arms to Iranian dissidents.
Israel’s intel is some of the best in the world! :)
It’s called a “limpet mine”.
Blow it out da water.
If you'd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
After Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen said on Jan. 28 that the US Navy had no authority to seize the weapons aboard the Iranian vessel "The US did as much as we could" -
Unmentioned, the US did determine the arms violate the UN embargo, but the embargo doesn't authorize confiscation or detention. So once determining the ship is in violation, it's to be let go.
>> Israels intel is some of the best in the world! :)
Absolutely true. I have no worries about Israel’s intel.
It’s Debka’s “intel” that I have no confidence in.
What’s the problem? These arms were destined for Israel anyway. Israel would simply be cutting out the middle-man and the part where the arms go boom and kill people. No problem.
Surface missles. As opposed to air missles for the Ham Ass air force.
Deep six, but use a large enough bomb that it just disappears, with no survivors and no word of its fate.
And if the world protests, just deliver them to their original destination - one at a time, but at very high velocity.