Sunday, August 26, 2012

Egypt refuses to inspect Iranian weapons ship at Suez

From Ha'aretz:
Egypt has recently turned down a U.S. request to stop an Iranian ship carrying weapons to Syria, according to a report in Egypt's Al-Ahram newspaper.

According to the report, quoted in Israel Radio on Sunday, Lieutenant General Mohab Mamish, Suez Canal Authority chairman, said Egypt's navy refused to stop the ship and inspect its cargo as it was passing through the canal.
Egypt Independent adds:
The former SCAF member said that he is primarily responsible for the management of the Suez Canal. All the decisions concerning the canal, he said, whether political or technical, are up to him.

He assured that it is impossible for any state to engage in military operations in the Suez Canal because it is a very narrow waterway. He said the Egyptian Navy secures the waterway with great efficiency.

Mamish was appointed Suez Canal Authority chairman by President Mohamed Morsy, in a surprise reshuffling of military leadership
As Egypt's president Mohamed Morsy visits Iran and signals a closer relationship with that regime, his new appointee refuses to listen to a request from the US. Apparently, giving arms to Syria that could be used to kill many more civilians is not a problem for Egypt's new government.

Possibly related:
A convoy of US navy warships have passed through the Suez Canal in Egypt on their way to the Mediterranean Sea.

The convoy, which included the destroyer the USS James Williams and the attack submarine the USS Toledo, will bolster forces in the Mediterranean.

It is not clear whether the vessels were bound for the coast of Syria, but both Russia and the US have periodically increased their military footprint in the region as the bloody civil war in Syria continues.