Did Mossad hijack Russian ship to stop Iran arms shipment?

Did Mossad hijack Russian ship to stop Iran arms shipment?

Was Israel’s secret service behind the mysterious hijacking of a Russian freighter to foil a secret attempt to ship cruise missiles to Iran?

The mystery surrounding the hijacking of a Russian freighter in July has taken a new twist with reports claiming the pirates were acting in league with the Israeli Mossad secret service in order to halt a shipment of modern weapon systems hidden on board and destined for Iran.

While Israeli and Russian officials dismissed the reports, accounts published in the Russian media sounded more like a spy thriller than a commercial hijacking.

“There is something fishy about this whole story, no doubt about it,” Israel’s former Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh told The Media Line. “But I can’t comment further on this.”

The Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported over the weekend that the vessel Arctic Sea had been carrying x-55 cruise missiles and S300 anti-aircraft rockets hidden in secret compartments among its cargo of timber and sawdust. [continued…]

Editor’s Comment — Mossad has always been the darling of conspiracy theorists, but in this case the disappearance of the Arctic Sea presented a rather difficult question to answer: why would anyone attempt to hijack a cargo of lumber passing through European waters? An operation to intercept missiles being secretly exported to Iran? It actually sounds quite plausible.

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4 thoughts on “Did Mossad hijack Russian ship to stop Iran arms shipment?

  1. Lysander

    While anything is possoible, I find it implausable for the following reasons;

    1) Russia can transport weapons to Iran easily via direct flight or by ship accross the caspian sea.

    2) Russia is not north Korea. Were Israel to highjack a Russian ship…well Israeli merchant ships travel the globe too and accidents do happen.

    3) alternatively Russian retaliation could take the shape of more aggressive weapons sales to Iran.

    All in all, I don’t see how Israel would profit from an act of war against Russia.

  2. Paul Woodward

    A few years ago Ukrainian arms dealers shipped a dozen X-55 cruise missiles to Iran. This was widely reported and Ukraine prosecuted those involved.

    If the Arctic Sea did actually have weapons stashed on board this doesn’t necessarily have to have involved the Russian government. On the other hand, if it did have government support they might have wanted some plausible deniability – hence the indirect route for the shipment.

    That said, we are of course way out in the realms of pure speculation here. But there quite a few unanswered questions, such as:

    Why, after its recovery, did the ship not continue to Algeria to deliver its cargo? (Instead, it got towed to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk.)

    Why did Russia send three huge military transporter aircraft to Cape Verde to pick up the small crew and pirates?

  3. Lysander

    All good points and perhaps that is what happened. To me it seems unlikely that a truly sophisticated Russian weapon system could be sold to Iran without Russian government involvement. Plausible deniability, yes. But lack of knowledge seems improbable.

    Which brings me back to my original point. If Russia wanted to sell weapons to Iran but simply didn’t want people to publicize it, then Israel would still be taking a severe risk in stopping it. Perhaps even greater risk, since embarrassing to Russians would only annoy them. It would have to be a VERY nice weapon system warrant it.

    Also, it seems plausible deniability would best be served by taking a quick, direct route where no one could interfere (across the Caspian) and then simply denying it. Who would prove otherwise?

    Then again, it might have been simpler weapons on their way to Lebanon. That might escape the government’s notice.

    Thanx for a great website. I check it daily.

  4. blowback

    If it was a Mossad operation to dispose of some weapons,it would be far simpler to board the ship in the Baltic, sink it there and depart after putting the crew ashore in some remote location rather than sail it into the middle of the Atlantic ocean and let the ship and hijackers be captured by the Russians.

    I suspect that it really was a hijacking by some impoverished and not particularly bright Latvians, Lithuanians or Estonians who saw the money being made by Somali pirates and thought they would do the same.

    As for the Israeli involvement, it is a matter of them shouting “look over there at the Russians smuggling nasty weapons to those bad people in Iran”, so everybody overlooks the smuggling of Israeli weapons into the Philippines. For a country that demands that the rest of the world stops anybody from smuggling weapons to the Palestinians to resist an illegal occupation, it is very damaging to their reputation if they, themselves, are discovered to be smuggling weapons elsewhere.

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