Israel Says Iranian Ships to Pass Through Suez
Would be first such transit since 1979
According to Israel, two Iranian warships are planning to pass through the Suez Canal tonight on their way to Syria, which Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman described as a “provocation.” According to Yediot Ahronot, no Iranian naval vessel has gone through the strategic strait since the 1979 Revolution, which would, well, yes, make this indeed provocative. Defense Minister Ehud Barak confirmed, “Israel is closely following the movements of the Iranian ships and has updated friendly states on the issue.” The head of the Egyptian authority that administers the canal, by contrast, said he had not yet received an Iranian request for passage.
Unrelatedly, Israel just allowed an additional 700 Egyptian troops into the Sinai to quell a Bedouin uprising, where they join the 800 which Israel permitted there a few weeks ago; under the 1979 peace treaty, the peninsula (where Suez is) is supposed to be demilitarized.