Iran, Syria, and sanctions-busting fakery

Oldest trick in the book.

Inevitably, Iran and Syria are gaming international maritime communications.  Both nations are under sanctions.  Both appear to be faking registry in Tanzania.  And Iran is transmitting false signals to hide the operations of Syrian cargo ships.

The fakery by the two countries’ merchant fleets has Tanzania in common – apparently as a victim – but it also has Libya.  Twenty years of peace dividends for the West, combined with the Arab Spring of 2011, have changed the security picture on Africa’s perimeter, and the direction in some segments of it is backward, to an age of little surveillance and expanding lawlessness.  Libya’s coast is one such segment.  Even if the surveillance forces of NATO are watching in the central Mediterranean, it’s not clear that the focus is there to ensure useful intelligence collection, or that there’s an organized will to do much about tankers or cargo vessels that head, on the sly, into and out of Libya.

And so, this fall, Iranian ships have been transmitting fake signals Continue reading “Iran, Syria, and sanctions-busting fakery”

Things that Make You Go

Recent reports of Iranian arms carriers being attacked and sunk near Sudan’s ports are not impossible. These are some realistic scenarios.

… Hmmmm

If any navy but the Israeli Sea Corps were in question, I would just dismiss this (after due consideration and analysis, of course).  But if recent reports of Iranian smuggling ships being attacked in Sudanese ports have any validity, it would be because there is an Israeli connection.  The reports are from non-experts and have internal inconsistencies, so skepticism is in order.  But the events they suggest are not impossible.  They are only improbable.  Nothing is lost in a little analysis.

In conjunction with the reporting from March of an air attack on a smuggling convoy in Sudan, attributed to the Israeli Air Force, there was an additional, but little-remarked, report of a ship bearing Iranian cargo being attacked and sunk in the Red Sea. Continue reading “Things that Make You Go”