Iraq cannot stop Iran arms transfer to Syria: FM

Updated 14 July 2013
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Iraq cannot stop Iran arms transfer to Syria: FM

DUBAI: Iraq lacks the means to stop Iranian arms deliveries to Syria through its airspace, if there are any, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said in comments published on Saturday.
“Last September we started to inspect Iranian and Syrian planes at random. We have found non-lethal materials, like equipment, medicine and food,” Zebari said in an interview published by the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.
“In all honesty, those planes might be carrying other stuff, but we have neither the deterrent means, nor the air defenses and fighter jets to prevent... arms shipments,” he told the pan-Arab daily.
Zebari said he had urged Western governments to take action themselves if they were convinced that Iran was smuggling weapons to its Syrian ally.
“I told the West: If you want to stop Iran’s air bridge to Syria over Iraq, go ahead.”
Zebari said Western governments were convinced such an air bridge existed and that his response was: “This does not have my consent, and I do not have the means to prevent it.”
He said the Shiite-led government in Baghdad had urged Tehran “not to use relations with (Iraq) to send arms to others.”
“We reject and condemn the shipping of arms through our airspace, and we will tell the Iranian side of that officially, but we cannot stop it,” Zebari said.
The conflict in Syria has become increasingly sectarian as it has entered its third year, with the mainly Sunni rebels receiving support from the Gulf Arab monarchies, and the Damascus regime getting backing from Shiite Iran.
Zebari, himself a Sunni Kurd, said last month that he could not deny that Iraqi Shiites were fighting in Syria alongside the forces of President Bashar Assad, whose Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shiite Islam.
But he stressed that their involvement in the conflict “does not come under government policy.”


Migrant charity files manslaughter complaint against cargo ship, Libya

Updated 21 July 2018
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Migrant charity files manslaughter complaint against cargo ship, Libya

  • The migrant rescue boat Open Arms docked in Spain on Saturday carrying the bodies of a woman and a four-year-old boy
  • Open Arms claimed the ship’s crew had seen the migrant dingy but had failed to provide help

PALMA DE MALLORCA: The charity Proactiva Open Arms has filed a complaint, including of involuntary manslaughter, with the Spanish police against a cargo ship for failing to help migrants adrift on a destroyed dinghy in the Mediterranean.
The captain of the charity’s rescue boat said on Saturday he also plans to file a separate suit against the Libyan lifeguard.
The migrant rescue boat Open Arms docked in Spain on Saturday carrying the bodies of a woman and a four-year-old boy as well as one woman who was found alive floating on the remains of a dinghy off the coast of Libya last week.
The boat took four days to arrive in the Spanish port of Palma after finding the migrants adrift about 80 miles (130 km)off Libya’s coast after being abandoned by the Libyan coast guard, the charity said.
“We have filed a complaint against the captain of the (merchant ship) Triades for failing to help and for involuntary manslaughter and we’ll also do it against the captain of the Libyan patrol,” Oscar Camps, the Open Arms captain and founder of the NGO, said at a news conference.
Open Arms claimed the ship’s crew had seen the migrant dingy but had failed to provide help. Reuters could not find a way to contact the captain of Triades, which flies a Panamanian flag. The ship is currently moored in the Libyan port of Misrata, where officials could not be reached for comment.
The Libyan lifeguard also left the three migrants to float amid the shattered remains of the raft after the two women and the boy had refused to board their patrol ship, the charity said.
Libya’s coast guard disputed the account on Tuesday but offered no explanation for how the three migrants came to be stranded on the remains of the dinghy.
The Spanish charity operates in the central Mediterranean, one of the deadliest areas of the sea and favored by people smugglers operating out of Libya.
Charity boats have been locked out of Italian ports, the closest European landing point, since Italy’s new government vowed to crack down on illegal immigration from Northern Africa.
Open Arms found itself at the center of the European immigrant crisis at the start of the month when it rescued 60 migrants off Libya and brought them to Barcelona in Spain after being refused docking in Italy and Malta.