Iran's Arms Supply to Hizbullah: International Dimensions

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Dore Gold - Israel's policy of preventing the supply of advanced weapons to Hizbullah has been in place for some time, but in the past was primarily the responsibility of the Israeli Navy which intercepted Iranian weapons ships in the Mediterranean. According to U.S. sources, Israel has more recently concentrated this effort in Syrian territory. Iran appears to have decided that it must prevent losing its grip on Syria. It has not only directly intervened by itself and deployed its own Revolutionary Guard forces on Syrian soil, but has also sought to build up an expeditionary army made up of Lebanese Hizbullah and other Shiite militias from Iraq as well. It is also providing Hizbullah with state-of-the-art weapons, partly as a reward for the services the organization is providing. Israeli defense officials have said the supply of "game-changing weaponry" to Hizbullah will not be tolerated and have focused on several specific types of arms transfers: 1.Iranian surface-to-surface missiles equipped with heavy warheads, like the Fateh 110, which has twenty times the destructive power of Hizbullah's Katyusha rockets that it launched against Israel in the Second Lebanon War in 2006. 2.Long-range anti-aircraft missiles, like the Russian-manufactured SA-17, which can limit the freedom of action of the Israeli Air Force if deployed by Hizbullah in southern Lebanon. 3.Long-range anti-ship missiles, like the Russian supersonic Yakhont cruise missile, that can strike at Israeli offshore gas rigs in the Eastern Mediterranean and poses a threat to the U.S. Navy as well. At the end of the Second Lebanon War, the U.S. and France drafted the text of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which was adopted unanimously on August 11, 2006, with Russian and Chinese support. Article 15 states that the resolution prohibits all UN member states from allowing their nationals to engage in "the sale or supply to any entity or individual in Lebanon of arms and related material of all types." In short, Iranian weapons transfers to Hizbullah are a violation of a decision of the UN Security Council. UN Security Council Resolution 1747, adopted on March 24, 2007, specifically stated in paragraph 5: "Iran shall not supply, sell or transfer directly or indirectly from its territory or by its nationals or using its flag vessels or aircraft any arms or related materiel." While Resolution 1747 was adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter and hence is regarded as the most severe resolution in the UN's legal arsenal, Iran ignored it just like the resolutions that were adopted after the Second Lebanon War. The writer, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

2013-05-17 00:00:00

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