Thursday, 29 March 2007

The answer to Iran's capture of 15 British sailors

1. Crew boards merchant ship 1.7NM inside Iraqi waters
2. HMS Cornwall was south-east of this, and inside Iraqi waters
3. Iran tells UK that merchant ship was at a different point, still within Iraqi waters
4. After UK points this out, Iran provides corrected position, now within Iranian waters

Britain has demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that Iran's capture of 15 sailors occurred in Iraqi waters, a point that Iran mistakenly confirmed initially as shown in the diagram above.

The capture was undertaken by Iranian Revolutionary Guards and, thus, were operating under the direct instruction of Supreme Leader Khatemi.

There has been much discussion about what should be done and the British government seems to be using the hitherto untried (in my memory) political tactic of embarrassing the Iranians into returning the sailors because they can prove they were taken in Iraqi waters.

Iran, and her supporters, aren't that nuanced. They knew what they were doing and they allowed for the charge that Britain has made. Their response has been predictable - denial - the standard response to any accusation in the Middle East.

There is, though, a very simple way to achieve a positive outcome - start sinking Iranian naval vessels until they're all gone and tell the Iranians that once they run out of boats Britain will start destroying Iran's oilfields.

Iran's economy has been run into the ground by the regime. There is a theory that by creating a major incident such as they have that Britain will over-react and the increased tension will force up the price of oil, filling the coffers of an empty treasury. Be that as it may, a threat by Britain to blow up the oilfields and deny Iran access to any benefit derived from a higher price kills that idea quick smart.

Olmert undeniably did a poor job in his overall management of the recent conflict in Lebanon. He was accused by all of the usual suspects of using disproportionate force. However, Hezbollah is now nowhere near the threat it was before it attacked Israel at that time so there's a strong argument to be made for a speedy and forceful response to any provocation.

Britain's tepid response to Iran's act of war will be seen as proof in the Middle East of the West's weakness when provoked. I hope that those wiser heads in Whitehall see the error of their ways sooner rather than later and respond in the sort of cold, calculated manner that will make everyone in the region think twice before doing the same sort of thing again.


Anonymous said...

Make no mistake - the public here in the UK is getting increasingly pissed off about all this. I think the Iranians have dropped a gigantic bollock by humiliating Faye Turney as they did. As for those letters, FFS, are the Iranians so stupid that they think anyone believes that crap?

Jack Lacton said...


I reckon the whole Arab world believes the crap and that's the audience they're playing to. If they give back the sailors without extracting anything then it will seriously humiliate them and weaken their 'strong horse' status.

Anonymous said...

"I reckon the whole Arab world believes the crap"'re probably right, and that goes a long way to explaining why their countries remain such shitholes.