Iran has warned that it could send Revolutionary Guard naval units to escort humanitarian aid convoys seeking to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza – a move that would certainly be challenged by Israel.
Any such Iranian involvement, raised today by an aide to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, would constitute a serious escalation of already high tensions with Israel, which accuses Tehran of seeking to build a nuclear weapon and of backing Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls Gaza.
“Iran’s Revolutionary Guard naval forces are prepared to escort the peace and freedom convoys that carry humanitarian assistance for the defenceless and oppressed people of Gaza with all their strength,” pledged Hojjatoleslam Ali Shirazi, Khamenei’s personal representative to the guards corps.
The threat came as the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, dismissed a UN proposal for an international commission to investigate last week’s commando assault on aid ships, in which nine people died. Another aid ship, the Rachel Corrie, carrying Irish and other peace activists, was boarded peacefully by Israeli forces on Saturday, escorted to the port of Ashdod, and its passengers deported.
Netanyahu has defended Israel’s right to maintain the blockade by arguing that without it Gaza would become an “Iranian port” and Hamas missiles would strike Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Israel’s undeclared aim is to weaken or bring down the Hamas government.
Iran continued to exploit the “freedom flotilla” affair to lambast Israel. Its foreign minister, Manuchehr Mottaki, told the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in Jeddah on Sunday that Israel’s crime was “another instance of the Zionist regime’s brazen and merciless treatment of Muslims, especially the oppressed Palestinian people.”
Mottaki also called for a UN resolution condemning Israel. The security council is discussing imposing new sanctions on Iran because of its failure to meet international demands over its nuclear programme.
Yup, MV Mavi Marmara was a fine bit of stratgery on Israel’s behalf. Bibi Netanyahu ladies and gentlemen, a one man wrecking crew– of the national security interests of the Jewish State.
Somewhere in the fetid swamps of the Potomac River, they are tearing their hair out at the roots. That is to assume that any one at Foggy Bottom has any hair left after most senior policy makers coiffures went up in flames when the MV Mavi Marmara incident began. Our Most Sacred Lady of the Tastefully Appointed Pant-Suite must be in a most un-beatific mood. No Drama Obama is getting schooled in the issues of how to deal with Drama Queens. Washington is out of sorts since it can not follow the wisdom of Zymurgy's First Law of Evolving System Dynamics: Once you open a can of worms, the only way to re-can them is to use a larger can. There is no can big enough for this collection of worms dear readers; at least there is not one in stock. Obama and his SoS are burning the midnight oil to construct that container as we speak.