Russia did not need Mossad to stop its arms shipment to Iran
While the eight Russian-origin hijackers of the cargo ship the Arctic Sea originally claimed to be environmentalists when they boarded the vessel in the Baltic Sea in Swedish waters on July 24, it is not difficult to imagine that they were acting in collaboration with the Russian intelligence. Of course, it would rather remind a Hollywood thriller if the suspects with visible numerous tattoos on bodies had concluded a pact with Moscow and agreed to let them be detained for future reimbursement and with an aim of covering Russia’s arms shipment to Tehran.
These days the incident has taken a new twist with reports claiming the alleged hijackers were acting in league with Israel’s Mossad in order to halt a shipment of modern weapon systems hidden on board and destined for the Islamic republic. A number of Arab media publications and papers in Israel have been quoting a report by the Moscow-based daily Pravda which concluded that the ship was hijacked by Mossad agents because of reports it was supposed to carry cruise missiles to Iran, but that "a Western power that has relations with Ukraine" prevented this. According to the report, Russia has transported weapons to Iran in this manner before.
Ukrainian online paper Obozrevatel marks that Russia responded hysterically when it found out that the information had been leaked to "a Western power." The websites also reported that the ship's crew was aware of the fact that they were carrying unusual cargo, but did not know exactly what it was. None of the various Russian and Ukrainian news reports identified which country is behind the hijacking "operation," The Media Line News Agency notes.
The names of the alleged hijackers, Estonian national Yevgeny Mironov, citizens of Russia Dmitry Yuryevich Bartenev, living in Tallinn, Estonia, and Andrei Lunyov, citizen of Latvia Vitaly Lepin and four Russian-speakers with no citizenship, Igor Borisov from Estonia, Alexei Borisovich Buleyev, Latvian resident Dmitry Savin and Alexei Andryushkin whose citizenship was not established, do not make one believe at once that they all are connected with Israel and are Mossad agents. At the same time the tattoos of the arrested persons can testify to the criminal past of the suspects while the experts of Russia can testify to existing ties between hardened criminals in Russia and former Soviet republics and the law enforcement bodies.
Novaya gazeta’s Yulia Latynina pointed out that even though the first attack on the vessel on July 24 was known about almost immediately, it was not reported in the media. If the all-Russian crew of the freighter reported about the incident to their Russian superiors first, it is no wonder that the state-controlled media did not dare to say a word about it.
One has to recall that the Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia was ordered to engage the cargo ship’s search operation, too. Columnist Yulia Latynina marks that President of Israel Shimon Peres's visit to Moscow the day after the Russians recaptured the vessel was motivated by an urgent request to his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, to refrain from arming Iran. Russia was quick in sending military boats to search for the missing ship without activating the usual channels for searching for missing vessels. All of these elements led Latynina to believe that the masterminds of the attack are sitting in Jerusalem.
Brigade-General (Res.) Shlomo Brom, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, did not rule out Israeli covert action against Iranian efforts to acquire nuclear arms, but doubted Israel would take action against Russian ships, according to The Jerusalem Post. The simple truth is that Russian authorities even would not need participation of Mossad agents to prevent exposure of the highly sensitive secret cargo when its military boats are sent to search for the vessel whose coordinate are well known.
If the allegation of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta that the 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 is true, it was extremely important for the Russian authorities to not allow any surprises performed by Israel’s security agents. As it is known, they routinely stage surprise at-sea boardings of ships headed to Israeli ports to search for terrorists, contraband and stowaways. The mentioned above hysterical response when Russia allegedly found out about the leakage of information to “a Western power” may mean nothing but fears of similar Mossad action regarding the ‘missing’ freighter. Thus the Russian Navy tracked the vessel down and recaptured it near the West African archipelago of Cape Verde on August 17, thousands of kilometers from its original destination of Algeria.
It is worth mentioning the fact that the former head of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) of Russia press department, General Yury Kobaladze, was quoted by online paper GZT.ru as paying attention to a curious remark in an interview with the permanent representative of Russia in NATO, Dmitry Rogozin. Speaking about the fate of the Arctic Sea, the Russian envoy told that "it was a brilliant operation, brilliant not only as regards the technics of its performance, but also regarding the conception of [media/public] coverage".