Monday, August 31, 2009

UAE confiscates consignment of North Korean weapons destined for Iran

A month or more after the UAE seized the cargo of the 'ANL Australia', flying the flag of the Bahamas, the story found its way into the global press. The vessel had in its hold weapons destined for Iran, and North Korean in origin. Yet, the lading of the grenade launchers and other materiel came from an Italian shipper with an office in Shanghai. As Guam Dairy previously reported, armed with UN resolution 1874 which allows the seizure of North Korean vessels and cargo, we wonder whether the removal of the arms bought and paid for by Iran ['The Financial Times of London's' article which first alerted us to this story, spoke of a UN diplomat whose country sits on the sanctions committee who alleges that the TSS or Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps had ordered the seized shipment. Iran, too, falls under UN sanctions. So, here, we find a double whammy, a 'coup de theatre' which thwarted Pyongyang's commerce, and stymies additions to Iran's arsenals.]
And yet the leaked story, which could not but have a US source, has hardly raised a hue and a cry from the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea aka North Korea].
Is a story that will make long fire, the more especially since the charm offensives initiated by the US, the DPRK, and the ROC [Republic of Korea aka South Korea] are on the upswing? Or, as certain hard line circles ardently desire in Washington, will the UAE confiscation of the 'ANL Australia' derail the ongoing relaxation of tensions among the 3 countries?
Curiously, Guam Diary raises the question of legality. Since the exporter is an Italian national,it would seem that the sanctions nor the seizure apply, theoretically. But the destination is Iran so they would, but oddly enough UAE now holds the weapons of North Korean manufacture, but it does not know what to do with them. It has appealed to the UN sanctions committee for advice and further action. The ship has gone on its way.
Furthermore, the origin of the transaction occurred before Citizen Clinton's mission of mercy to the DPRK, so the leak has had to come from the intelligence community, mostly likely from American sources; South Korea shouldn't be ruled out. So the story told has many loose ends. Let's see if the incident is but a hiccup, or it has a longer tale.

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