My Cardboard Box

An Arms Race Timeline

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For your perusal, an arms-race time line. Left out for the most part here is the Iranian nuclear program, and the defection, kidnapping, or assassination of  Iranian officials and scientists.

Players: North Korea, South Korea, Thailand, China, New Zealand, Myanmar, India, Pakistan, Germany, Russia, Italy, Syria, Israel, Fatah, Hamas, Egypt, Ukraine, Dubai. Iran, Libya, Jordan, Saudi Arabia (possible), United Kingdom (possible).

2006-2007: Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan admits supplying nuclear technology to North Korea, Iran, and Libya through black market. North Korea government denies press reports that the country is working with Iran to better their respective nuclear programs.

September 2007: Attack on Syria’s al-Kibar ‘research’ facility by IAF. Press reports suggest that characteristics of the Syrian facility were similar to North Korea’s reactor in Yongbyon. Subsequent investigation reveals key materials for al-Kibar were smuggled from China and possibly Europe into Syria by Namchongang Trading, a North Korean firm. Video from inside the Syrian facility shows North Korean personnel inside the site.

February 2008: Bomb in a car Damascus kills Hezbollah military commander Imad Mughniya. Syrian security forces quickly seal off the area and remove the destroyed car. Israel denies Hezbollah accusations that they were responsibile for the assassination

March 2008:  Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout arrested in a Bangkok hotel, allegedly attempting to buy weapons for FARC.

August 2008: Brigadier General Mohammed Suleiman shot to death at his seaside villa by sniper from a yacht. The Syrian general was a top overseer of his country’s weapons shipments to Hezbollah.

September 2008: Somali pirates reported to suffer skin burns, lost hair and fallen gravely ill “within days” of boarding MV Iran Deyanat. Reports are also stating that several have died. Pirates had examined containers. According to ship’s manifest, it had set said from sail from Nanjing, China, at end of July and was heading for Rotterdam where it was to unload 42500 tons of iron ore and “industrial products” purchased by a German client. Supposedly US and/or Israel examine cargo.

September 2008: Ukrainian-flagged ship MV Faina seized by pirates off the coast of Somalia. Ship reportedly carrying 33 tanks and other munitions: “Ukrainian defense minister confirmed”.

January 2009: Unidentified aircraft attack a 23-truck convoy of suspected arms smugglers as it drives through Sudan toward Egypt. Aircraft later ID’d as IAF. Iran was reported to be sending “a major delivery” of 120 tons of arms and explosives to Gaza. Hamas, says it numbered only 15 trucks and carrying less tonnage.

April 2009: MV Ryu Gyong, a North Korean-flagged bulk carrier attacked east of Mukalla, Yemen.  NATO reports the Ryu Gyong had been threatened four times off the east coast of Somalia between March 20 and 24; it was approached twice and was attacked twice.

June 2009: North Korean freighter, identified as Kang Nam and possibly heading toward Myanmar, is tracked by USN and shadowed. Unidentified intelligence said freighter possibly carrying “missile components”. Ship eventually returns to North Korea.

June 2009:
US begins diplomatic “charm offensive” with Syria.

July 2009:
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hints North Korea attempted to provide Myanmar with nuclear weapons production capabilities, including weapons-grade nuclear material, and that arms trade between the two socialist nations “could be devastating”. Mayanmar has been an arms-conduit to Indian Maoists and other groups since 1990s.

September 2009: Russian timber-cargo ship Arctic Sea ostensibly bound for Algeria hijacked. Moscow sources suggest Mossad may have played a part in the alleged hijacking, carrying it out using a criminal gang, who were unlikely to have known anything about a secret cargo, supposedly missiles sold by Russian military officials with organized-crime ties. Russia took quick control of the vessel isolated both the crew and the hijackers.

November 2009: Two-day visit by U.S. high-ranking delegation to Myanmar, first in 14 years.

December 2009: Thailand seizes a cargo plane (registered in Georgia) while it is refueling in Bangkok and arrests crew. Aircraft reportedly carrying weapons from North Korea to an “unknown destination”. Aircraft leased by shell company incorporated in New Zealand.

December 2009: Egypt begins constructing metal wall along its border with the Gaza Strip to cut smuggling. Wall reportedly was manufactured in US and US Army Corps of Engineers rumored to be assisting .

January 2010: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu announces plans for construction of 70 miles of fence along Israel’s border with Egypt.

February 2010: Somali pirates hijack the MV Rim in the Gulf of Aden. Ship is owned by White Sea Shipping of Libya under the North Korean flag, carrying unknown cargo. Ship was sailing far outside recommended transit corridor.

February 2010: Egypt seals dozens of tunnels used to smuggle goods and weapons from the Sinai to the Strip.

February 2010: Iran announced it has enriched uranium to 20%.

February 2010: US appoints a career diplomat as ambassador to Syria.

2008 – Present. IAF attacks Gaza smuggling tunnels. Attacks increase in late 2009.

February 2010: Gaza smuggling tunnels reportedly suffering from ‘economic impact’.

February 2010: South Korea tells UN Security Council that, acting on information, it seized North Korean chemical-safety suits that may have been destined for Syria’s military. South Korea receives unsolicited letter from Syria denying any involvement.

February 2010: Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Mabhouh assassinated in Dubai. Mabhouh was said to be a liaison for smuggling weapons from Iran to Gaza. Dubai authorities rapidly produce video of 11 suspects traveling apparently on European passports with real names and authentic data, but possibly altered photos. Dubai police report two Palestinians in custody, arrested in Jordan shortly after the killing, then sent back to Dubai. Hamas and Fatah exchange accusations. Hamas claims they are Fatah members; Fatah-affiliated Palestinian Authority said the two men are former members of Fatah who later joined Hamas security forces in Gaza. Interpol gets involved. Press reports state Britain’s MI6 supposedly informed of operation by Mossad.

Observation: In less than three years, there has been an increase in multi-national intelligence, operations, and carrot-and-stick diplomatic maneuvers to counter both weapons smuggling to the Middle East, specifically Gaza but also Iran and to a lesser extent, other nations such as Myanmar. Within the past six months, there has been a significant multinational increase in activity with regard to stopping arms traffic to Gaza.

Observation: Dubai is a known ‘gray area’. Dubai traders have helped import goods into Iran, sidestepping US economic sanctions. Dubai is also known as an arms-trafficking and an “informal cash transfer” point.

Observation: Dubai authorities were extraordinarily quick to produce passports and video of the assassination team. Jordan was very quick in arresting Palestinian suspects and returning them to Dubai.

Observation: The assassination squad appeared to be aware that they were being observed; the Dubai authorities acted with alacrity only after Mabhouh was assassinated.

Observation: Russian agents have operated in nearby Qatar. Two agents were arrested by Qatar in 2004 for assassinating former Chechen leader Zelimkhan Yanderbiyev with a car bomb.

Wild-ass guess (WAG)#1 : Something large and potentially catastrophic was coming down involving Gaza and Israel. If I had to do a wild-WAG (WWAG), I’d go with some sort of WMD being smuggled into Gaza. There appears to be a lot of ‘cooperation’ where one wouldn’t normally expect it from certain nations and groups.

WAG #2: The ‘hit’ in Dubai may not have been done by Mossad, but by another nation, either using its own assets or contracting out the killing.


Written by PappyBro

February 21, 2010 at 19:19

Posted in Politix, WoT

One Response

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  1. Thank you, Pappy. Quite useful, all that.

    trailing wife

    August 28, 2010 at 19:29

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