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View Full Version : Keep an Eye On Israel & Iran This Weekend



Bob Kohm
02-18-2011, 04:21 PM
The interim Egyptian government just cleared an Iranian frigate and a naval cargo vessel/tanker to clear Suez this weekend, the first time that has happened since 1979.

Nobody cares too much about the frigate-- it wasn't a threat to anybody back in 1979-- but the Israelis are awfully exercised about this, moreso than they would be were this merely a "face" thing with a crappy Iranian flotilla operating off their shore. The real problem is the seemingly less threatening naval cargo ship, the Kharg-- which has long been reputed to be a floating Iranian arms bazaar. If that thing gets into the Med and makes even the slightest movement towards docking in Syria or Lebanon to resupply Hizbollah, we're at minimum looking at a major international incident when Israel puts it on the bottom in a very public and loud way.

Talk about your unneeded tension risers. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Iranians take the moral victory of being cleared to transit Suez and then never entering the canal, but if they no move into the Med it's going to be a sleepless weekend for the IDF and a lot of uncomfortable questions are going to be raised about just what the interim Egyptian government is thinking.

Kevin Seitzer
02-18-2011, 04:46 PM
The way I understand the situation is that Egypt is obligated by international treaties (the Constantinople Convention and the Camp David Accords) to allow warships from all nations to transit the Suez Canal. Am I misunderstanding that, or has the practice been different than the treaty? In other words, has Egypt refused Iran transit previously and they just changed that practice in the past few days, or has Iran not asked for transit since 1979 and just did now to make a point against Israel?

Kevin Seitzer
02-18-2011, 04:53 PM
After doing a bit more reading on the topic, it seems that the Constantinople Convention, in addition to the article which guarantees free passages for vessels of all nations, has another article which allows Egypt to consider "the defense of Egypt and maintenance of the public order" in allowing passage.

Also, the Iranians apparently have withdrawn their request for transit for these two ships.

Bob Kohm
02-18-2011, 05:12 PM
After doing a bit more reading on the topic, it seems that the Constantinople Convention, in addition to the article which guarantees free passages for vessels of all nations, has another article which allows Egypt to consider "the defense of Egypt and maintenance of the public order" in allowing passage.

Also, the Iranians apparently have withdrawn their request for transit for these two ships.

My understanding is that they withdrew the petition yesterday, then renewed it and were granted passage today. I believe that the Iranians have applied for passage at least twice in the past and been denied although I'd have to look up the dates.

chancellor
02-18-2011, 05:32 PM
My understanding is that they withdrew the petition yesterday, then renewed it and were granted passage today. I believe that the Iranians have applied for passage at least twice in the past and been denied although I'd have to look up the dates.

One was about a year and a half ago, shortly after Israel "didn't" send through two nuclear attack submarines, presumably to monitor Iran.

netboy47
02-22-2011, 12:06 PM
As Bob predicted:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41664379/ns/world_news-mideastn_africa/

Bob Kohm
02-22-2011, 12:31 PM
It will be interesting to see the Israeli reaction. Tensions are much higher today with the Libyan thing going on, but I still have trouble seeing the Israelis blithely allowing an "in your face" level of overt resupply of Hizbullah by the Iranian Navy. The pressure from Washington may now be too high for them to sink the Kharg, but I will be shocked if those weapons make it to southern Lebanon. The Israelis must and will act, the question is if it's an overt action at sea or in port a covert action on land.