I know that we’re in a whole new era of cooperation with Iran and our crack negotiators are setting up treaties with them and such, but there are some nagging doubts which remain regarding the good will of our partners. A more suspicious person, for example, might have questions about some of their ocean shipping procedures. (Yahoo News)
A ship carrying illicit arms believed to be from Iran was intercepted last week by a member of a U.S.-backed naval coalition and was not registered with any country, the U.S. Navy said Wednesday.
The American description of the ship’s seizure in the northern Arabian Sea conflicted in some instances with an earlier account provided by a separate Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen’s Shiite rebels, which claimed it had foiled the smuggling attempt. The Saudi coalition alleged that Iran was using the vessel to ship arms to the rebels…
An American guided missile destroyer, the USS Forrest Sherman, arrived to assist once the weapons were found aboard the dhow, a type of vessel commonly used in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean.
There are a few points of interest tucked away in that story. First of all, our Navy is saying that the ship was “stateless” in that it wasn’t officially registered to any nation. But a cursory investigation revealed that it had left Iran and it was heading for Somalia, leaving little doubt as to what was going on here. Also, the “cargo” on this fishing vessel was more worrisome than some other smuggling operations which have been discovered in the past. For one example, we recently discovered a shipment of arms going to Libya which turned out to be carrying combat shotguns and massive amounts of ammunition. That’s worrisome to be sure, but gun smuggling into areas rife with conflict is nothing new.
This ship, however, was carrying dozens of anti-tank missiles, launchers and other high tech weapons of war. That’s several orders of magnitude above and beyond your garden variety rifles and handguns. The destination of the ship was a pretty obvious giveaway as well. If you’re sending gear like this to Somalia there’s really only two groups who could be the likely recipients. One are the Houthis, and it’s unlikely in the extreme that Iran would be helping them in such a fashion. That means the missiles were most likely destined for Al-Shabaab.
These are the people we’re doing business with? It’s not as if the fact that the ship was “stateless” has any impact on the conversation. I would hope that we don’t have anyone in the administration naive enough to believe that truckloads of anti-tank missiles are moving around Iran without the Supreme Leader’s people knowing about it.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that we’ve caught Iran with their hands in the cookie jar. Earlier this year another ship was captured heading for Somalia and that one had surface to air missiles and nearly 17,000 bricks of C4. That one also had some ambiguous paperwork but it was quickly identified has having set sail from Iran.
Iran is still a state sponsor of terror and not just in terms of lip service. They are providing terrorists with 21st century weapons of modern warfare when they might otherwise be fighting with pistols and swords. And the insulting aspect of these discoveries is that this latest ship was setting sail at the same time that Iran’s president was addressing the UN and lecturing us all about their good intentions and the need to accept them as serious members of the international community.
With friends like these we certainly don’t need any more enemies.