Early this morning it was reported that Israel’s Navy intercepted a vessel, the Klos-C, on its way to Port Sudan with a cargo intended for terrorist organizations in Gaza — a cargo including M-302 missiles, some versions of which which have a range of up to 150 miles. This would allow Hamas (or whoever had control of them) to target virtually all of Israel. IDF spokesperson Peter Lerner, in a conference call this morning, said that “dozens” of M-302’s had already been found on the ship (along with other weapons), even before the IDF finished searching the ship.
According to the IDF, the missiles were manufactured in Syria, shipped by air from Damascus to Tehran, and then over land to Bandar Abbas where they were loaded on the ship. The ship stopped at an Iraqi port on the way to Sudan, and then was intercepted in international waters, almost 1000 miles from Israel. Now it is proceeding to Eilat, where the weapons will be removed.
I’m sure that the details of the operation — which involved the Navy and Air Force — the intelligence collection leading up to it (Lerner said it had been going on for “months”), the possible assistance of Egypt, etc. would be fascinating. But this is what I want to say about it:
The consequences of these missiles having reached their intended destination would have been catastrophic. Supplying this kind of weapon to terrorists with genocidal aims is a violation of international law of course, but morally speaking it is a seriously evil act. The Iranian regime is guilty of attempted mass murder, and in a just world its leaders would be tried, convicted and imprisoned.
We don’t live in that kind of world, so the Iranian president will continue to be described as ‘moderate’ and treated with respect at the UN. But where there isn’t official justice, sometimes it can be obtained by direct action. The Iranian revolutionary regime has been killing Jews all over the world since the 1980s — it destroyed the Asociación Mutual Israelita building in Argentina in 1994, armed Hizballah in Lebanon before and after the 2006 war, bombed a tour bus full of Israelis in Bulgaria in 2009, and now is developing nuclear weapons while its ‘Supreme Leader’ calls Israel a “rabid dog.” Would it be surprising if at some point Israel decided that the regime should pay for its past actions and be deterred from future ones?
Even the US State Department has called Iran the “most active state sponsor of terrorism” in the world. Ordinary Iranians, who by all accounts are mostly not fanatics, should understand the position that the regime has placed them in. If it succeeds in fielding a nuclear weapon or in some other way precipitating a confrontation with Israel, it may be too late for a ‘surgical’ response, and the Iranian nation as a whole would suffer the consequences.
Update [2004 PST]: I had previously said the Klos-C was Iranian-owned. This is not the case. It is registered in the Marshall Islands, where documentation requirements are minimal.