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An Endless Stream of Weapons

In my new Weekly Standard article, “The Gaza Aftermath,” I wrote: “The Americans and Europeans simply do not have any way of stopping an elaborate smuggling network that runs via the sea from Iran to Sudan and from there overland to Egypt and finally under the ground into the Gaza Strip.” In this case it is depressing to be proven right. From this morning‘s Wall Street Journal:

In early January, U.S. military and intelligence officials began tracking the Monchegorsk, a Cypriot-flagged vessel chartered by Iran. The U.S. suspected the boat was ferrying weapons bound for Palestinian militants in Gaza, according to a defense official.

The vessel further aroused American suspicion by taking “deceptive maneuvers” after leaving Iran, the official said.

On Jan. 19, the U.S.S. San Antonio approached the Monchegorsk in the Red Sea and asked its captain for permission to search the ship, which was granted. The following day, an armed group of Navy personnel boarded the vessel and found artillery shells, according to two defense officials.

The Navy personnel searched the vessel again Jan. 21 and found machine-gun rounds, fuses and other armaments, the officials said. The ship’s paperwork showed the weapons were bound for Syria.

The defense officials said the shipments appeared to violate a United Nations resolution barring Iran from exporting many kinds of weaponry. The resolution doesn’t allow for the seizure of banned Iranian armaments, however, so the U.S. allowed the ship to continue its voyage, the officials said.



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