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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘arms smuggling’

Gag Order Lifted: Two Israelis Arrested for Smuggling Arms to Iran

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

The military censor has released for publication that two Israel’s are being interrogated on suspicion of trying to ship spare parts to Iran for its fighter jets and anti-aircraft missiles.

Both suspects, brothers-in-law Avichai Weinstein and Eli Cohen, have been interrogated in the past in several countries, but they always managed to escape indictments. Cohen has been investigated six times in the past 12 years and previously has been slapped with fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars by the United States.

A Greek newspaper reported earlier this week that two Israelis had been arrested on suspicion of trying to smuggle arms to Iran, but their identities were not released for publication until Thursday.

Cohen previously has tried to smuggle arms via the United States, Germany, Thailand and Portugal, sending spare parts for the Iranian Air Force and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Israel has questioned Cohen in the past but never has been able to prove he intended to trade with Iran, an enemy country and embargoed by the United States. After every investigation, Israeli authorities released him and gave him back his license as a trader.

This time around, he was caught in Greece when officials inspected two containers of parts for Phantom F-4 jets and missiles last April and in December 2012.

Greek officials said the containers arrived from Binyamina-Givat Ada, southeast of Haifa, and were destined for a straw company named Tassos Karras, listed as having offices in Athens.

A contact number was listed for a British citizen living in Sicily, but police have not been yet found him.

The current investigation began in 2012, and a Greek court stopped the shipments, ordering them to turn over to American authorities on suspicion of violations of American sanctions against Iran.

Cohen also has probed in 2000 for smuggling parts for armored tanks. In a separate case, Weinstein was the key suspect when Germany discovered that one of his shipments contained Israeli equipment destined for Iran via Hamburg. He denied all allegations.

Greece Intercepts Arms Shipments to Iran, Sent by an Israeli

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Greek authorities have intercepted arms shipments apparently sent by an unnamed Israeli and intended for Iran, in violation of international sanctions, the Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported.

Greek officials, working together with the American Homeland Security Investigations agency, uncovered two shipments of spare parts for F4 Phantom jets in December 2012 and again in April 2013, according to the newspaper, which claimed to have a copy of the investigation report.

A Greek court ordered the shipments confiscated and transferred to the Americans. The shipment reportedly originated in the Israeli town of Binyamina-Giv’at Ada, east of Haifa, and was sent via a Greek company based in Athens.

Investigators from the drugs and weapons unit of Greece’s Financial Crimes Squad determined the company was a ghost company, Kathimerini reported.

The firm was registered by a British national from the northern city of Thessaloniki who could not be traced.

The West’s New Syrian War

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

One day people will ask how the United States and several European countries became involved in mass killings, genocide, corruption, arms smuggling, and the creation of another anti-Western and regionally destabilizing government. Even if a single Western soldier is never sent, the West is on the verge of serious intervention in Syria. The choices are unpalatable and decisions are very tough to make but it appears to be still another in a long history of Western leaps in the dark, not based on a real consideration of the consequences.

At least people should be more aware of the dangers. As I entitled a previous book on Iran (Paved with Good Intentions), the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. People are dying and suffering in Syria. That’s true. But will this make more people or fewer people die and suffer?

So now we are seeing the trial balloons rise. As the Bashar al-Assad regime proves to be holding on—but not recapturing the country or winning the war—the West is panicked into sending aid to the rebels.  In fact, the government is merely holding the northwest area (where the ruling Alawite group lives), the region along the Lebanese border (with Hizbollah’s help), Damascus (where the best troops are based and there is a favorable strategic situation in the army holding the high ground), and part of Aleppo. It seems that U.S. decision makers are panicking over these relatively small gains. If the Syrian army plus Hizbollah tries to advance too far it will stretch its resources then and face a successful rebel counteroffensive.

Understandably, the opposition is demanding arms. If the opposition did not consist mostly of al-Qaida, the Salafists, and the Muslim Brotherhood, that would be a good idea perhaps. But since the opposition is overwhelmingly radical—even the official “moderate” opposition politicians are mostly Muslim Brotherhood—this is a tragedy in which the West does not have a great incentive to say “yes.”

President Barack Obama is said to be close to sending weapons to carefully chosen rebel units who are moderates. Now, pay close attention here. The Western options for giving assistance are:

The Syrian Islamic Liberation Front. This is Muslim Brotherhood type people including, most importantly, the Farouk Brigades from the Homs area and Aleppo’s Tawhid Brigade. Around 50-60,000 fighters in total who are autonomous.

Do you want to give arms to them? Weapons that might soon end up in the hands of (other) terrorists? Weapons to be turned against not only Israel, but Jordan, Saudi Arabia, U.S. diplomats, and who knows who else?

Or perhaps you like the Syrian Islamic Front (SIF), an alliance of more hardline Islamist forces, including Ahrar al-Sham from the north.  Ahrar al-Sham is probably around 15,000 fighters. The SIF as a whole probably around 25,000.   These people are Salafists meaning that the Brotherhood is too moderate for them. They are the kind of people who attack churches in Egypt, who want to wage jihad alongside Hamas, and so on.

Do you want to arm them so they can establish another Sharia state?

How about Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda franchise with around 6,000 fighters and reportedly the fastest growing militia.

Want to give guns to those who committed the September 11, 2001, attacks and the Benghazi attack? Of course not! You want the Free Syrian Army (FSA), headed by the untested General Salim Idris, who Senator John McCain met with. Now those are moderates who, after all, are just led by former officers in the repressive, historically anti-American Syrian army. And the FSA is just not a serious factor in military terms.

The West will say it supports the FSA; the FSA will be pushed aside by an Islamist regime if it wins, its Western-supplied weapons seized even during the course of the war. Moderates–even if we define radical Arab nationalists as moderates–don’t have the troops on the ground. It’s too late to organize and train a moderate force now. That should have been done two years ago.

On the political level, U.S. pressure failed to force the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated exile leadership to add the real political moderates! Even as financial aid is being (temporarily?) withheld the “official” opposition won’t expand its base. How about withholding all money and aid until they yield or choosing a new official leadership?  If the United States can’t stop–or doesn’t want to–the Brotherhood from dominating an exile leadership how is it ever going to do after a victory in the civil war?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/the-wests-new-syrian-war/2013/06/11/

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