LONDON -- Western intelligence sources said the CIA and other agencies have determined that Venezuela was secretly transporting Iranian military equipment to Syria.
In late 2008, Venezuela, amid seizures of Iranian equipment in Turkey, used civilian aircraft to send the Iranian equipment banned by the United Nations, the sources said.
"Venezuela has been willing to help Iran get around Security Council sanctions, and this means that banned Iranian companies send material through Venezuela to Syria or any other country that orders the equipment," an intelligence source said.
In October 2007, Conviasa, the Venezuelan state-owned airline, started a Caracas-to- Tehran via Damascus route after Iran Air in March 2007 initiated weekly flights from Tehran to Caracas via Damascus.
The sources, in a series of briefings to European and Arab newspapers, said Iran has been exporting equipment used in ballistic missile production to Syria. They said Iran sent computers, engines and other components to Venezuela. From Caracas, Venezuela's Conviasa Airlines flew the Iranian material to the Center for Research Studies in Damascus, responsible for Syria's missile and weapons of mass destruction programs.
So why didn't these aircraft meet some untoward accident? We DO have a building where people meet to discuss things other than satellite pix and communications intercepts don't we? In Langley, VA. I think? Are we now too civilized and risk averse to act in our own defense when it's messy? I think maybe, yes. Isn't part of their job to take care of these kinds of things early so they don't end up causing a war later or killing Americans later and bigger?
Venezuela's state airline Conviasa began flights to Iran, with a stopover in Syria, in October 2007 with the aim of strengthening commercial relations among the three states, according to Fars news agency.
Syria has sought to extend the range of its missiles to more than 900 kilometers. The sources said the effort involved extending the range of the Scud-class missiles produced by North Korea.
Ugh, 562 miles (900 KM) from Southern Syria is not Israel. However 562 miles from eastern Syria cover a lot of Iraq, doesn't it? ALMOST ALL OF IT. All of Jordan.
"Syria wants to procure or develop missiles similar to the No-Dong or Shihab-3," the source said. "This is a project that has been going on for several years."
Shiab 3 range is 1200 miles. They need 1200 miles because? That would reach Abqaiq. Easily. Or the US 5th fleet bases in Bahrain, Greece, Italy, all of populated Egypt (Iran's deadly enemy as well). ..... are we getting the picture here? Are we going to keep on with the delusion of 'decoupling' Syria from Iran. They are completely a vassal state every bit as much as Hizballah's Lebanon is.
A key Iranian company involved in the smuggling effort to Syria was identified as the Shahid Bagheri Industrial Group. The group was said to be controlled by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, responsible for Teheran's strategic weapons programs.
The sources said Iran has steadily increased military and security cooperation with Venezuela over the last two years. They said Teheran has exported a range of military products as well as trained Venezuela's military and police.
Bush's vacuum of a response to this is mind boggling. The time to kill these kinds of things is
when they are in the crib. It is emblematic and iconic of how caotured he has become by the State Dept think-dumb, and Gates like myopia on the idea that we are going to be fighting only guys with RPG's and box cutters in caves trying to mix shampoo, jello and ammonia in an aricraft bathroom to bring down a 777 over the Atlantic. I am constrained to point out, that Bush doing NOTHING cannot be be worse than Obama doing nothing.
Someone has to channel James Monroe and exert the United States someplace more than Iraq and Afghanistan, and in more ways than firing a HARM. Obama, I hope you are still up for this job, dude. Now, what is it you were saying about missile defense? Barack, you aren't going to talk Chavez down, unless your words convery a bone chiling and believable message. I don't think they would believe a threat from you. Not today. But maybe you want the UN to take a stern position, eh?
In October 2008, the sources said, 10 IRGC officers arrived in Venezuela to help train the security forces and intelligence agencies of the South American nation. They said Iran has also used Venezuela as a base for military and security projects in the rest of South America.
"Hugo Chavez is helping Teheran evade UN sanctions by exploiting the Venezuelan airlines under an agreement with [Iranian President] Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to strengthen the Iranian penetration in Latin America," the Washington-based Center for Security Policy said on Dec. 22.
This world remains a tough neighborhood. We don't look up to the challenge right now. We need to get the economy right, and back on free enterprise because that is the basis of our strength and freedoms, but we simply CANNOT make believe these other things are not there.