It still isn’t clear exactly what happened to the Russian-crewed freighter Arctic Sea, which mysteriously disappeared in European waters last month. Inconsistencies and the implausibility of the official story — it was a hijacking — have prompted considerable speculation.

Those imaginings have been spurred by the visit to Russia of Israeli President Shimon Peres and the “disappearance” for one day of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who reportedly secretly visited Russia to discuss Iran. This incident sheds little light on Russia’s relations with the Middle East, but has generated heated speculation in that regard.

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