Strengthning the Aqaba Concert

November 29, 2009 at 11:11 pm (tWP) (, , , , , , , , )

The latest issue of Intelligence Online confirms the tightening of the entente between the states bordering the gulf of Aqaba.

In this article, we learn of the close cooperation between Egypt and Israel, in disrupting Iran’s supply to its proxies in the Levant:

A Covert Operation Against Iran

Egypt played a key part in intercepting a shipment of Iran weapons.

Officially, the Israelis say it was pure chance that led to the detection of the vessel Francop flying the Antigua flag and carrying Iranian weapons earmarked for Syria and Hezbollah (Hizballah). But according to our sources, the real story is altogether different. Israeli military intelligence`s Unit 8200 which taps into communications alongside its American counterparts from the National Security Agency watched the shipment when it had already been loaded some weeks previously aboard an Iranian vessel owned by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. The cargo, disguised as polyethylene, put in at Damietta in Egypt for three days, where it was unloaded and left on the wharf before being loaded again aboard the Francocorp supposedly bound for Limassol in Cyprus.

The Americans and Israelis then informed Egyptian intelligence whose agents secretly opened some containers. They confirmed the nature of the cargo (mainly consisting of 107 mm and 122 mm Katyusha rockets). That enabled the Israeli Navy to plan boarding the ship.

Indeed, Egyptian intelligence was not only privy to the operation but took part in it and cooperated with the Israelis. For public consumption, however, it was decided by all concerned to present the ship`s interception as an exclusively Israeli operation so as to avoid Hosni (Husni) Mubarak`s Egyptian regime coming under fire both domestically and abroad for lending a hand to Tel Aviv. Israeli officials and commentators briefed by the military were told the Egyptians had no knowledge of the nature of cargo and were hoodwinked by fake Iranian paperwork, including end-user certificates.

Long accused by Israel of turning a blind eye to the smuggling of weapons intoGaza for years, the Egyptians have stepped up their efforts to prevent the traffic since the Israeli incursion in January. Israeli defense sources say that the number of rockets smuggled into Gaza by Egypt has dropped to 200 since the beginning of this year, as opposed to 700 last year. The Egyptians have also been discreet about efforts to halt the smuggling.

Another good example of the cooperation between Jerusalem and Cairo was the clandestine Israeli strike in the Sudan, which could not have taken place without Egyptian cooperation with Israel’s navy off Eilat:

Sudan: Strike on alleged Gaza-bound smugglers killed 119

A total of 119 people were killed when unidentified aircraft attacked a convoy of vehicles travelling close to Sudan’s border with Egypt in January (…).
Sudan’s defense minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein made a report to parliament saying the attack on a suspected smuggling convoy was still under investigation, the state Suna news agency said.
According to Suna, Hussein’s report said the attack was on a convoy that was made up of 1,000 civilians involved in “a smuggling process at the border with Egypt”. “[The minister] disclosed that 119 people were killed; among them were 56 smugglers and 63 smuggled persons from Ethiopian, Somali and other nationalities,” read the report.
Details of the air strike on a remote road in Sudan’s eastern Red Sea state first appeared in the international media in March and sparked widespread speculation.
Newspaper reports in Egypt and the United States suggested the attack was aimed at arms smugglers bound for Hamas-ruled Gaza via Sudan and Egypt and was carried out by either the United States or Israel. Sudanese officials said at the time they suspected Israel, which was then engaged in an offensive in the Gaza Strip, with the declared aim of halting rocket attacks on Israel by Palestinian militants.
The United States denied any involvement while Israeli officials refused to confirm or deny their planes or unmanned drones took part.
(…)
Sudanese officials, speaking on condition on anonymity, said in March it was an open secret arms smugglers used the remote roads running along Sudan’s red Sea coast for the smuggling of arms, contraband and refugees.
(…)
A report from the U.S.-based Washington Institute for Near East Policy this year quoted Israeli sources as accusing Iran of helping Hamas smuggle arms into Gaza via Sudan and Egypt.
Egypt says it does its best to stop the smuggling.

In this other one we can observe how Israel and the KSA work hand in hand on the energy market that bypasses Iran:

Secret Oil Project in Caspian Sea Area

Following a rapprochement between Riyadh and Moscow. PetroSaudi is on the verge of negotiating a partnership in Turkmenistan with the Merhav conglomerate run by Israeli Yosef Maiman, well established in the country.

The two groups are toying with the idea of investing in the huge Serdar oil field and its one billion barrels of recoverable petroleum. The field straddles the border between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan – and is claimed by both countries. With the help of their political connections, Petrosaudi and Merhav believe they can facilitate negotiations on a compromise over the claim.


All in all, the Aqaba Concert wishes to make sure that Tehran’s islamic regime does not reach regional supremacy. They seem to be on the right track.

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4 Comments

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  4. M. Silva said,

    How Israel Foiled an Arms Convoy Bound for Hamas

    Israeli fighter-bombers, backed by unmanned drones, were responsible for a mid-January attack on a 23-truck convoy in the Sudanese desert carrying arms to Hamas militants, two highly placed Israeli security sources revealed to TIME. The attack was a warning to Iran and other adversaries, showing Israel’s intelligence capability and its willingness to mount operations far beyond its borders in order to defend itself from gathering threats.
    The sources revealed exclusive details about the bold air attack on what they said was an Iranian weapons convoy, which was transporting rockets and explosives destined for Gaza, where an Israeli assault was ongoing. They denied earlier news reports that U.S. aircraft had been involved in the attack on the arms convoy as it crossed at night through the Sudanese desert heading for Egypt’s poorly guarded border. “The Americans were notified that Israel was going to conduct an air operation in Sudan, but they were not involved,” a source said. He denied prior claims by a U.S. television network that a ship and a second convoy were destroyed. “There was only one raid, and it was a major operation,” he said, adding that “dozens of aircraft” were used. (See pictures of the recent Gaza conflict.)
    F-16 fighter-bombers carried out two runs on the convoy, while F-15 fighter planes circled overhead in case hostile aircraft were scrambled from Khartoum or a nearby country. After the first bombing run, drones mounted with high-resolution cameras passed over the burning trucks. The video showed that the convoy had been only partially damaged, so the Israelis ordered a second pass with the F-16s. During the 1,750-mile (2,800 km) journey to Sudan and back, the Israeli aircraft refueled in midair over the Red Sea. (See pictures of violence in Sudan.)
    The bombing raid came after an intelligence tip-off. In early January, at the height of Israel’s assault on Gaza, Israel’s foreign-intelligence agency, Mossad, was told by an informant that Iran was planning a major delivery of 120 tons of arms and explosives to Gaza, including antitank rockets and Fajir rockets with a 25-mile (40 km) range and a 99-lb. (45 kg) warhead. With little time to plan the operation, naval vessels and helicopters were rushed to the Red Sea in case Israel had to rescue a downed pilot, and the plan was hurried through. “The Israelis had less than a week to pull this all together,” a source said.
    The Iranian shipment was bound for Port Sudan. From there, according to the security sources, the Iranians had organized a smuggler’s convoy of 23 trucks that would take the weapons across Egypt’s southern border and up into the Sinai. Hamas would then take charge of the weapons and smuggle them into Gaza through the tunnels left unscathed by Israeli bombardments. (See pictures of Gazans digging out.)
    It was a route used occasionally by Hamas but never before on such a large scale, sources said. “This was the first time that the Iranians had tried to send Hamas a shipment this big via Sudan — and it is probably the last,” a source said. Several Iranians were killed in the raid, along with Sudanese smugglers and drivers, the source claimed. “No doubt the Iranians are checking back to see who might have leaked this to the Israelis,” he said.
    Even if the shipment had reached Gaza, it’s doubtful that it would have changed the outcome of the battle, in which Israeli forces sliced into the heart of the Palestinian enclave, killing more than 1,300, many of them civilians. But the deadly new armaments and missiles would almost certainly have raised the Israeli death toll, among both soldiers and civilians living within range of the Fajir rockets. Eleven Israelis died during the Gaza offensive. (See pictures of Israeli soldiers sweeping into Gaza.)
    One Hamas official, while not denying that the arms convoy was theirs, said it numbered only 15 trucks and was laden with fewer weapons than the Israeli sources claim. “The Israelis are trying to overplay the quantity of arms as a way to justify this raid and to mobilize the Europeans to crack down on smugglers in the Mediterranean,” he said. In January, Cypriot authorities seized an Iranian freighter that the U.S. and Israel claim was shipping arms to Hamas in Gaza. (See pictures of life under Hamas in Gaza.)
    Israel never officially admits to carrying out overseas actions against its foes, but it is suspected of sending planes to destroy a Syrian nuclear facility in 2007, and it is also blamed for the Damascus car-bomb killing in February last year of Hizballah military commander Imad Mughniyeh. Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who will step down on Tuesday, hinted that Israel was behind the Sudan raid, saying, “We operate in many places near and far and carry out strikes in a manner that strengthens our deterrence.”
    Meanwhile, the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat reported on Monday that a few days before the alleged Israeli raid, a senior U.S. official warned Sudan to stop smugglers from bringing weapons to Hamas in Gaza, but Sudan failed to comply. (See TIME’s Pictures of the Week.)
    A Hamas security official contacted by TIME waved off Israeli reports that the destruction of the weapons convoy was a major setback to the Islamic militants who govern Gaza. “We have our own ‘home delivery’ setup for weapons,” he said with a laugh, explaining that Sinai’s tribes of Bedouin smugglers are still bringing arms to the many secret tunnels snaking into Gaza. This is no idle boast. On Sunday, a senior Israeli security chief told Olmert’s Cabinet that since Israel ended its 22-day offensive in Gaza on Jan. 1, Hamas had smuggled in 22 tons of explosives and “tens” of rockets, readying for another round of fighting. Israeli officials can breathe easier knowing that the longer-range Fajir missiles did not get through. Iran and Hamas, no doubt, will try again.

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1888352,00.html#ixzz0py6JZFtL

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