German ship caught smuggling ammo to Hezbollah?
US troops boarded a German-owned freighter in early October and found eight containers full of ammunition, allegedly headed to Syria from Iran. The shipment is in violation of a UN weapons embargo and has become a source of chagrin in Berlin.
An “embarrassing affair,” is how one German diplomat described it. The official could also have added: potentially damaging to trans-Atlantic relations.
In an operation reported on by SPIEGEL over the weekend, US soldiers entered the freighter Hansa India in the Gulf of Suez at the beginning of October and discovered seven containers full of 7.62 millimeter ammunition suitable for Kalashnikov rifles. An eighth container was full of cartridges suitable for the manufacture of additional rounds. The incident is particularly awkward for Berlin as the Hansa India is registered to the Hamburg-based shipping company Leonhardt & Blumberg.
Investigators suspect that the arms were part of an Iranian shipment bound for either the Syrian army or for Hezbollah, the militant Islamist group. US officials have pointed out that the delivery is in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1747, which prohibits arms shipments either into or out of Iran.
This is highly embarrassing to the the German government. The Hansa India is one of the ships under Leonhardt & Blumberg which is leased out to Iran. Now some may ask why I point the finger at Hezbollah as recipients of this ammunition. Syria makes it's own ammunition for the AK-47. Hezbollah doesn't, and everyone knows that Hezbollah is Iran's proxy army.
Will we see Barry and Company call Germany on the carpet? Not likely. After all, he doesn't want to irritate our allies after his apology tour. Besides to do that might be construed as not being very peaceful. Germany has acknowledged that this was a mistake, but they haven't said how they're going to handle this. Let's hope it's something more than a slap on the wrist.