The First Test – Irainian Weapons Bound for Gaza

by editor | January 25th, 2009

Vice-President Biden warned us a test for the President would come. I believe it is here and now. It will define the relationship President Obama forms with the most significant exporter of terror. It is a big deal, regardless of how small it appears.

Players: Iran, Israel, the US Navy, Hamas, Egypt, and the Gulf States. Toss in the pirates in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea area, if you like. It’s a very complicated matter, not for the faint at heart, or the international affairs inexperienced crowd (I count both the President and the Secretary in that group, and I don’t trust the judgment of Vice President Biden in such issues – he’s been wrong far too often)

Irainian Weapons Ship Under US Control.

A “merchant” ship, chock full of weapons, ranging from small arms and explosives, to rockets and rocket launchers, in plain view, and in “secret” welded shut compartments, as detected by the USCG boarding teams that ride US ships in the Indian Ocean region to provide the specific skill of “Visit Boarding Search and Seizure” (VBSS), making sure all the maritime legal rules are met.

So, here we have it: We now are in control of the future of this vessel, which, as noted in the article sailed under one name, and later changed it (nothing to hide…). The Navy shadowed it, and now controls it. It has weaponry bound for the Hamas players, who are wantonly, and with evil intent, killing Israelis, mostly civilians, but happier, I’m sure to kill the IDF soldiers, too. We, as a Nation have always been allied with Israel, however, President Obama’s first ever phone call to a foreign leader was to President Abbas, of the Palestinians authority of Gaza.

Who;’s side will we be on? To let the ship proceed to it’s destination is to sentence more Israelis to death, with full knowledge of this fact. To hold it, means we need to take it to a neutral port and have the contraband offloaded. That triggers the second international issue, as noted in the article: Where?

Like the confrontation with Libya in 1986, Europe, who was under threat of attack by Khadaffi, except for Italy, stopped all support for US forces involved in the Freedom of Navigation operations. Now, Egypt, a Muslim nation, who doesn’t want the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians to go on is still…part of the Muslims. To let their port be used makes them look like they are siding with the “Occupiers.” They will most likely decline a port facility. The Gulf Nations, are but a hop, skip and a short-range tactical missile (SCUD like weapons) from the originator of the shipment, Iran. Even if they disagree with Iran’s involvement, they are within the “weapons envelope” of that nation. Other countries? Aden, Yemen, Sudan? Basically lawless nations, in the best of cases, but in the worst, radicalized Muslim states.

So, for the new administration, via proxies and a maritime issue, President Obama can now see if he’s got the guts to step onto the World’s stage.

Options: “Talk to them.” Didn’t work for Jimmy Carter. Didn’t work, in the long run for Bill Clinton. Sanctions? At least delayed some of it for both Bushs. Strongly worded letters? Good luck. President Ahmadinejad could lose his head or be hanged from a construction crane or be stoned, as so ordered by the mullahs. Do you think a personal phone call from President Obama has any leverage?

I think the Iraian leadership is having a big party right now, pre-celebrating their success of shoving weapons meant to directly be used in a conflict against our ally and we will not have the courage to take the difficult, step to stop it.

I predict President Obama will, via the media, but not directly in public, say this behavior is unacceptable, then and we’ll count on the Iranians seeing a new page has been turned, so we’ll let this count a “Strike One.” The Navy will be ordered to pull the VBSS teams off and allow the ship to continue on it’s voyage.

He’ll call it “diplomacy.” I call it “gutless.”

Update late 1/25/2009: More AK-47s, SEMTEX and rockets are bad enough, under the circumstances, but what if there is a “dirty bomb” on another Iranian ship headed for Gaza? The stakes for the manner in which President Obama responds go way, way up.

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