Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman yesterday accused North Korea of creating a world-threatening “axis of evil” with Iran and Syria by supplying them with weapons technology.
The firebrand politician also warned that Iran’s suspected quest for nuclear weapons could spark a Middle East nuclear arms race with potential consequences of the like “we have seen only in the horror movies in Hollywood.”
Lieberman relayed similar warnings to Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on Tuesday, accusing North Korea of supplying Syria with weapons of mass destruction.
“This axis of evil that includes North Korea, Syria and Iran is the biggest threat not only to Israel but to the entire world,” Lieberman said at a press conference in Tokyo.
He referred to the seizure in Bangkok in December of an arms shipment from North Korea believed to have been destined for Islamist groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
US intelligence said the plane was bound for an unnamed Middle Eastern country.
More than 35 tonnes of arms including rockets and rocket-propelled grenades were seized from a cargo plane after it made an emergency landing at a Bangkok airport. Thai authorities confirmed the plane came from North Korea.
In January, the Thai government sent a report to the UN Security Council stating that the weapons were headed for Iran, which is allied to Syria.
“With huge numbers of different weapons ... [it had the] intention of smuggling these weapons to Hamas and to Hezbollah,” Lieberman said at the press conference.
“This cooperation between North Korea and Syria ... [does not] improve the economic situation in their countries,” he said, speaking to reporters in English.
Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Monday that Israel was in a proxy war with Iran due to its sponsorship of Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrillas and the Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas.
Diplomats have said that interdiction of the weapons in Bangkok appears to have been directed against North Korea and intended to prevent it circumventing UN sanctions, rather than Iran. Although the Islamic Republic is subject to separate UN sanctions as a result of prevarications over its nuclear program, it is not forbidden from importing arms.
Choosing a full-fledged confrontation with the US due to the loss of a megacontract for submarines for Australia, France is making a risky bet and other nations are not rushing to its defense. After Australia renounced its deal for conventional submarines in favor of US nuclear-powered ones, France took the extraordinary step of pulling its ambassadors from Washington and Canberra for consultations. Bertrand Badie, an international relations professor at the Sciences Po institute in Paris, said France had put itself in a position where it can only appear to be backing down or losing face once its ambassador returns to the US,
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