Thursday, April 21, 2011

Iran 'steps up gunrunning to Arab proxies'

Iran has reportedly stepped up arms smuggling to its proxies in the Persian Gulf and the Levant to take advantage of the political tumult shaking Arab regimes and expand Tehran's influence.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have all recently accused Tehran of either arming or seeking to arm Shiite militants in those countries.

Several clandestine arms shipments apparently destined for Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian-ruled Gaza Strip have been intercepted by Israel and Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

The Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Tehran has used the preoccupation of the region and the West with the political shock waves jolting the Arab world since January to boost its gunrunning operations.

It quoted intelligence sources as saying that "only a relatively small quantity of smuggled weapons is being intercepted. (read more)