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June 28, 2016 / 22 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘arms’

Russia Directly Arming Hezbollah Fighters in Syria

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

Russia has begun to directly arm Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists in Syria, according to a report this week by The Daily Beast.

Hezbollah field commanders serving in Syria told the news outlet they are receiving “heavy weapons” for their troops “with no strings attached.” Among the arms they reportedly have received were long-range tactical missiles, laser-guided rockets and anti-tank weapons.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin so far has not denied the report.

“We support both Assad’s army and the armed opposition,” Putin said in an interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper. “Some of them have publicly declared this, others prefer to remain silent, but the work is ongoing.

Putin claimed Russia’s actions are directed towards the destruction of the Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist organization.

“This is hundreds, thousands of armed people fighting Islamic State (Da’esh). We are coordinating our joint operations with them and support their offensives by air strikes in various sections of the front line,” Putin said.

The Hezbollah commanders deployed in Syria confirmed in speaking with The Daily Beast that there is a relationship of “complete coordination” between Russia, Hezbollah and its patron, Iran, and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.

Direct inter-dependence between Hezbollah and Russia is increasing as well, as time goes on, according to that report.

“I can tell you precisely what we do not want to happen,” Putin told Bild. “We do not want the Libyan or Iraqi scenario to be repeated in Syria.”

But it is also true that Russia does not consider the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah group to be a terror organization. Last November, Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying, “We maintain contacts and relations with them because we do not consider them a terrorist organization.

“They have never committed any terrorist acts on Russian soil. Hezbollah was elected by Lebanese citizens to the Lebanese parliament. There are cabinet members and ministers from Hezbollah in Lebanon. It is a legitimate sociopolitical force.”

Hana Levi Julian

Weapons Cache Uncovered in Hebron Raid

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

A large arms cache was uncovered in a raid by Israeli security forces of the Hebron suburb of Yatta late Monday night.

Numerous weapons were discovered during the search of the sprawling suburb, including a pistol, an M-16 assault rifle and ammunition cartridges.

The suspected owner of the arms is a known to police, sources told Ynet, adding that Israeli forces would arrest him “later.”

Yatta is still referred to as a “village” although today it is a town, by geographic area and population.

Hana Levi Julian

IDF Captures 11 Terror Suspects, Confiscates Arms

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

IDF soldiers captured 11 wanted Palestinian Arab fugitives in Judea and Samaria late Monday night in several dangerous operations.

Ten of the detainees were arrested in connection with terrorist activities and stone-throwing attacks on Israeli civilians and security forces.

Searches were also carried out by the elite IDF Egoz commando unit in the Arab village of Huwara, south of Shechem. The unit captured three terrorist suspects in that operation. In addition, the soldiers uncovered a large cache of stockpiled ammunition in the search.

Hana Levi Julian

Iranian Arms Delivery to Yemen Rebels Intercepted

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

While European nations and others rush to renew their economic ties with Tehran, Iran’s military has also been busy making sure its arms export mechanism continues to roll out product to the masses.

An Iranian arms delivery to Shi’ite Houthi rebels fighting in Yemen was intercepted last week in the northern Arabian Sea.

It’s not clear whether the interception was carried out by a Saudi-led coalition of by a member of the 30-nation Combined Maritime Forces, (CMF) a U.S.-led multinational coalition.

It is believed the vessel, which was not formally registered to any country, was attempting to smuggle the weapons in to Shi’ite rebels in Yemen.

Crew members on the intercepted vessel said the ship was headed for Somalia, located near Yemen, across the Gulf of Aden.

The ship was a dhow, a large wooden vessel commonly used in the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean, according to a report by the Associated Press.

It was registered to Hogan Mohammed Hout, an Iranian national, and licensed as a fishing vessel, AP reported, quoting a Saudi coalition engaged in fighting Shi’ite Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The vessel was intercepted while carrying the weapons in international waters, the U.S. Navy said in a statement, contradicting a claim by the Saudi coalition which placed the interception a day later, and by Saudis. An American guided missile destroyer, the Forrest Sherman, reportedly went to provide backup once the arms were discovered.

The U.S. Navy also stated that based on statements by the crew, the port of origin and the arms were believed to be Iranian.

According to the Saudis, the ship was carrying papers indicating it was checked by port and customs officials in the southeastern Iranian ports in Sistan and Baluchistan.

Some of the anti-tank ordnance allegedly originated in Russia as well.

Most of the weapons were dumped into the sea, with the exception of a few retained for analysis, and the vessel was allowed to continue on its way.

The account differs from statements made earlier in the day by the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis. That coalition alleged it had foiled the same smuggling attempt – albeit on Saturday – saying Iran was using the ship to arm the Houthis.

Hana Levi Julian

Israel’s Arms Exports Soar to record $7.5 Billion

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Israel’s increasing arms exports has made it one of the most important in the world, with a record $7.5 billion worth of arms exported in 2012, according to a Minister of Defense’s Export and Cooperation report on Tuesday.

The new record is even more impressive when taking into account budget cuts in Western countries.

“The figure of $7.47 billion in defense exports at the end of last year surprised us,” said the export corporation’s director Shmaya Avieli. “Israel is one of the top ten defense exporters in the world, and one of the top five exporters according to some criteria. We are in the premier league in this area, and we aspire to more because defense exports contribute to Israel’s economy and security.”

Countries in Asia and in the Pacific region were the main markets, where sales totaled $4 billion last year.

The most popular export items were radar, missiles, defense systems that include anti-aircraft weapons, observation and communications systems, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Israel is the world’s largest exporter of UAVs after the United States.

 

Jewish Press News Briefs

Iran, Syria and Sanctions-Busting Fakery

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Inevitably, Iran and Syria are gaming international maritime communications.  Both nations are under sanctions.  Both appear to be faking registry in Tanzania.  And Iran is transmitting false signals to hide the operations of Syrian cargo ships.

The fakery by the two countries’ merchant fleets has Tanzania in common –apparently as a victim – but it also has Libya.  Twenty years of peace dividends for the West, combined with the Arab Spring of 2011, have changed the security picture on Africa’s perimeter, and the direction in some segments of it is backward, to an age of little surveillance and expanding lawlessness.  Libya’s coast is one such segment.  Even if the surveillance forces of NATO are watching in the central Mediterranean, it’s not clear that the focus is there to ensure useful intelligence collection, or that there’s an organized will to do much about tankers or cargo vessels that head, on the sly, into and out of Libya.

And so, this fall, Iranian ships have been transmitting fake signals that make it appear as if they are operating in both the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, to cover the tracks of Syrian ships going back and forth between Syria and Libya.  In a tracking system, this looks like an error of some kind.  The ship in the Mediterranean is actually the Syrian ship, but in global tracking systems, there is no record of the Syrian ship making the voyage.

Meanwhile, actual Iranian tankers are shutting off their automated reporting systems as they approach Libya, and leaving them off until they have departed Libyan ports.  Peripheral evidence of this has been noted by journalists like Claudia Rosett (I wrote about it here), but the analysis reported by Reuters on 7 December provides the first specific confirmation that Iranian ships are shutting their Automated Information Systems (AIS) off to avoid being tracked into and out of Libyan ports.

The likelihood that arms have been shipped from Libya to Syria by this method is high enough to be considered a certainty – and, of course, the arms would have gone to Bashar al-Assad.  He is Iran’s protégé, and Iranian solicitude for Syrian shipping is devoted to bolstering his chances.  The irony here is obvious, as there have also been plenty of reports of arms shipments from Libya to the Syrian rebels, some of which may have been facilitated by the US mission in Benghazi.  The possibility that arms for Libya also got packed off to Assad himself cannot be discounted.

Beyond the arms route to Syria, however, the behavior of the Iranian ships is worth highlighting.  As discussed in October, several Iranian ships have made a habit for some months now of lingering off Libya’s coast.  (My own searches on ship-tracking websites show that they have been there since at least April 2012, and probably longer.)  The ships’ tracks don’t show visits to Libyan ports, but as the Reuters report indicates, the ships are making such visits.  They simply aren’t letting the visits be recorded via their AIS.

Given the arms-intensive nature of the cargo flow through Benghazi, in particular, we should keep in mind that there’s more than one way to deliver arms – and more than one customer to deliver them to.  Coastal freighters, yachts, and other small ships do cargo business at sea with larger ships the world over.  Egypt, Libya, and Algeria have long coastlines and poorly funded maritime security forces.  A ship could prowl one of their coasts for a long time, loading and offloading small cargo at sea.

This kind of primitive, under-the-radar method might not be the most effective way to arm Assad, but Iran has other clients, and Hezbollah is the one that would most obviously benefit from operating this way.  When the Israelis get wind of a big shipment to Lebanon, they interdict it.  But, operating with a very low profile, Hezbollah could get cargo piecemeal into Beirut.

The Mediterranean is not constantly patrolled by NATO anymore.  Even if it were, the will to lock it down may not be there.  Sanctions on Saddam’s Iraq gave the world a good example of how these things go when the Western nations don’t perceive an immediate threat to themselves.  Sanctions are put in place, and there is some effort made to enforce them, but little is done about the ingenious methods of sanctions evasion that promptly spring up.

J. E. Dyer

U.S. Senators Urge Morsi to Halt Gaza Arms Smuggling

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

A bipartisan slate of U.S. senators urged Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to crack down on arms smuggling into the Gaza Strip.

“In order for the cease-fire to hold, it is imperative that your government bolster its efforts to halt all weapons smuggling taking place via both overland and underground routes,” said the letter, which was initiated by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), and signed by another 16 senators.

In the letter, sent Tuesday, the senators said they were “encouraged” by the “constructive role” Morsi played in brokering a cease-fire to the most recent Hamas-Israel conflict in the Gaza Strip.

“This is all the more important in light of the potential easing of restrictions on the movement of people and goods through Gaza border crossings as a condition of the cease-fire you helped to broker,” they said. “Preventing Hamas from re-arming is just one step in helping to prevent violence from erupting again.”

JTA

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/u-s-senators-urge-morsi-to-halt-gaza-arms-smuggling/2012/12/04/

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