A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
November 4, 2009 - Israeli Navy Seizes Iranian Arms Shipment
The Israeli news today was dominated by the story of the seizure of a ship full of Iranian arms seized by the Israeli Navy early this morning. The ship was carrying over a hundred containers of arms. There were approximately 3,000 rockets on the ship. To put the quantity of arms confiscated in perspective, at the start of the Lebanon War, Hezbollah is said to have had 3,000 missiles. Beyond Missiles, all forms of military equipment were on the ship-- enough for Hezbollah to fight a war for a month. This is the third time a ship bearing Iranian arms has been intercepted. While this will not end the shipment of arms to Hezbollah, it is making it more and more expensive for Iran to complete supplying the Hezbollah. Israel’s interception also underscores how bad an international actor Iran has been.
Syria claimed Israel had committed an act of international piracy by seizing the ship. However, International law experts state that Israel was acting well within international law by seizing the cargo, as this shipment violated two UN security council resolutions: the first outlawing the supplying of arms, to all but the legitimate government of Lebanon, the second embargoing all arms exported by Iran. These resolutions call on all nations to help enforce the ban. Thus, Israel was not violating international law by intercepting the arms. Meanwhile, in Teheran the yearly demonstrations in the city to commemorate the Iranian seizure of American hostages were disrupted by tens of thousands of opposition demonstrators. The demonstrators claimed Russia was the den of spies, instead of the Americans. Demonstrators were clearly becoming impatient with President Obama, yelling, decide either us or them. Obama issued a rather tepid statement commemorating the anniversary and reaching out to the Iranian leadership.