- 40 M-302 missiles,
- 181 120-mm mortars, and
- 400,000 7.62 caliber bullets
We can be pretty sure none of those items were mentioned on the ship’s official manifest since these armaments were hidden inside sacks of cement:
A combined task-force of sailors, combat engineers and ordnance experts has begun inspecting the containers offloaded from the Klos-C, and may uncover more munitions over the next several days.
Naval commandos seized the vessel on Wednesday in the Red Sea between Eritrea and Sudan, and it was escorted into Eilat on Saturday by two Israeli warships.
On Wednesday, soldiers had carried out a preliminary inspection of the ship and found several dozen advanced Syrian M-302 missiles, with a range of up to 200 kilometers (125 miles) and a payload of up to 170 kilograms (375 pounds). The missiles were hidden in shipping containers also carrying sacks of concrete with Iranian markings.
The IDF said the Iranian shipment was destined for the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
From the IDF Spokesman’s blog:
“We have solid information that proves Iran’s relationship with the shipment,” a senior IDF Intelligence officer said Monday. He spoke after a combined IDF task force from various units inspected the Klos-C and unloaded the Iranian weapons shipment concealed aboard the ship. “Firstly, the containers were sealed in Iran, and they have Iranian authenticity seals on them, including seals of the Iranian postal company. The cement bags that were used to hide the weapons were clearly marked as coming from Iran,” he said.
“In the cargo hold of the ship you can see that 100 out of 150 of the containers were transferred from Iran to Iraq,” the Intelligence officer said. “There they added additional containers, and changed the loading form in order to make it look like the entire shipment came from Iraq. This can be cross-referenced with the documents that we discovered on the ship. Generally speaking, Iran was trying to hide its involvement in any form.”
Now that this weapons seizure has been made fully public, where is the world’s reaction of outrage to this blatant violation of international law by Iran?
This is of course a rhetorical question for besides congratulations from the United States, there has been a loud silence from the rest of the “civilized” world. Despite the EU’s Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton’s current presence in Iran to discuss a possible nuclear deal, she did not make any mention of the seized missiles.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu blasted the West for its hypocrisy in turning a blind eye to Iran’s hypocrisy:
With a grave expression, the prime minister blasted Western leaders for “smilingly shaking hands” with Iranian leaders even as the missiles were being unloaded at Israel’s southern Eilat port — a shipment as heavily masked, Netanyahu said, as Iran’s nuclear program.
He was referring to a European Union delegation led by foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who arrived in Iran Sunday for her first visit to the country – the first European diplomat in her position to do so since 2008 — and held a joint press conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif.
Calling on the international to wake up and see the truth behind “Iran’s fake smiles … before it’s too late,” Netanyahu said world powers must stop Iran from achieving military nuclear capabilities.
“They would like to continue to build up the illusion that Iran has changed course, but the facts we see on this pier prove the exact opposite,” Netanyahu said.
He said there was conclusive proof, including testimony by the ship’s crew, that the weapons containers were loaded onto the Klos-C in Bandar Abbas, Iran’s largest port. He said the ship’s bills of lading, both real and fabricated, showed that Iran had tried to mask the contents of the shipment — precisely as it masks its nuclear efforts.
“Just as Iran tried to camouflage this deadly weapons shipment, Iran camouflages its military nuclear program,” he said.
“The international community would like to ignore Iran’s continued criminal hostility; the massacre it is helping to commit in Syria; its support for terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon,” said Netanyahu.
“There are those who would prefer that we not hold this news conference here today,” he added, addressing the foreign press in English. “They feel uncomfortable. They would prefer that we continue to nurture the illusion” of a new, moderate Iran, he added.
The prime minister said that the West was also keen to overlook human rights violations within Iran, such as the hundreds of executions that take place in the country each year.
He said that when it came to Israel, on the other hand, the international community loudly condemned even the smallest violation.
“The condemnations I’ve heard from the international community in the face of this murderous shipment have been limp, few and far between,” Netanyahu said.
“[But] if we build a balcony in some neighborhood in Jerusalem, harsh criticism is heard from the international community. This hypocrisy is not only morally unacceptable, it is also dangerous, because Iran camouflages its military nuclear program just as it tried to camouflage this deadly arms shipment.”
He warned that while the shipment seized on board the Klos-C contained long-range missiles, future shipments could contain nuclear materials, which Iran could send “to any port in the world.”
Itamar Rabinovitch explains the difference between the world’s reaction to the seizure of the Klos C and when the weapons-smuggling ship the Karine A was caught by Israel in 2002:
Karine A was a boat carrying weapons from Iran to Gaza that was intercepted by the Israeli navy in the midst of the Second Intifada. It affected President Bush’s outlook and policy in two important ways. For a president totally immersed in “the war on terror” it provided proof that Yasser Arafat was directly involved in terrorism. To boot Arafat was also caught lying to the President. It was not the only factor shaping Bush’s policy during the next two years, but it did play a major role in his adopting the view that Arafat was part of the problem rather than part of the solution and in forging his close cooperation with Sharon’s government.
For a number of reasons this scenario is not likely to repeat itself in the context of Washington’s evolving relationship with Iran. When the interim agreement on Iran’s nuclear program was signed, it was widely speculated that it was part of a larger rapprochement with Teheran.
Washington is often described as “a one crisis town.” The crisis that dominates the agenda is obviously the Ukrainian one.
p>I can’t say I’m surprised at the world’s indifference to the attempted missile smuggling by Iran. The West are practically crawling to the Iranians to persuade them to sign a deal, any deal, so that business and petro-dollars can begin flowing again, and anything that gets in the way of that deal – i.e. pesky Israel and the little matter of a few
firecrackers missiles – is going to be determinedly ignored.
The only way this will get any attention is if or when Israel hits back or takes some kind of military action. Or, as Netanyahu says, when it builds a house in Judea or Samaria.