Grey Thoughts
Wilfull Ignorance - A Dangerous Trend
I asked before if Tony Blair was going to be like Jimmy Carter (A wussbag) or Ronald Reagan (A man of action). This question comes up because history seems to be repeating itself, with Iran taking 15 British Navy personnel hostage.

A commentor, actually...the only commentor, had this to say in what is a clear case of blinkered vision.
Or maybe, just maybe, Iran is actually doing what any country would do... defend its territory.
Things are never as simple as we'd like to believe... Makes for rough going from the "black or white", "with us or again' us" crowd. So much easier to yell "Kidnapping" and run around like a headless chicken. Makes it easier to justify a bit of bombing, too.
From the Guardian :

Because the two countries have not agreed on updated charts, that means there is no universal agreement on exactly where the border line runs.

If the seizure occurred near the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab - which is likely - the issue becomes even more complicated because Iraq and Iran have never agreed on each others' claim to Gulf waters near the mouth of the waterway.

Without such an agreement, international law requires countries not to extend their territorial waters ``beyond the median line with neighboring states,'' said Martin Pratt of the University of Durham in Britain.

But defining that line is difficult because of conflicting claims to rock formations, sandbars and barrier islands in the shallow waters of the northern Gulf, Pratt said.

As a result, there may be ``legitimate grounds for arguing for a different definition'' of those median lines, Pratt said.
Lets just review the context of the kidnapping.

1) Iran is currently under incredible pressure, and having sanctions imposed, in order to try and get them to abandon their nuclear ambitions

2) Iran is currently actively supporting the terrorists who are trying to destabilise Iraq and has had the US capture and hold several senior members of Iran's revolutionary Guard in Iraq.

3) Several high level Generals defect revealing even more Iranian involvement and many many Iranian weapons are found in Iraq.

4) Subhi Sadek, the Revolutionary Guard's weekly paper writes that Iran can strike back and "capture a nice bunch of blue-eyed blond-haired officers" and that it has people "who can reach the heart of Europe and kidnap Americans and Israelies" and further comments from a senior Iranian military official confirms that a decision to capture soldiers was made during a March 18 meeting.

5) The AP has reported that the Iranian involvement is Iraq has escalated as 3000 terrorists in Iraq are now funded directly by Iran and many have gone to Iran for military training. British officers back up this story.

6) Iran then captures 15 British Navy soliders and accuses them of being in Iranian waters.

This is the context of the current situation. I would argue that it is dangerously naive to claim that this was just a misunderstanding and the British were inside Iranian waters. All military vessels would contain GPS locators, so unless there is some weird James Bond like plot which misdirected the boat, it is unlikely that a tiny group of barely armed soldiers would be hanging around in Iranian waters.

It is far more likely that the Iranians knew exactly what they were doing...kidnapping soldiers in an attempt to gain leverage over the west. Indeed, as more evidence comes out, this is clearly the right explanation.

As Verum Serum reports in their latest excellent update.
The Brits took the offensive today:

Vice Admiral Charles Style, presenting the information at the Ministry of Defence in London, said the Royal Navy personnel were “ambushed” by the Iranian navy while 1.7 nautical miles inside Iraqi territorial waters.

How do they know?

Vice Admiral Style, the deputy chief of the defence staff, said one of the two small British craft intercepted by the Iranian navy at gunpoint had a GPS (global positioning system) device on board.

Information from that device, along with further evidence from a British military helicopter, proved the sailors were operating “well inside” Iraqi waters when they were seized last Friday, he said.

The GPS relayed information back to HMS Cornwall, the ship the craft were operating from, meaning it was able to “continuously chart” their position.

The London Times published the exact coordinates:
29′ 50.36″ N, 048′ 43.08″E

Meanwhile, the Iranian kidnappers can’t even tell a convincing lie:

The vice admiral said the Iranians had given two different positions for where they claimed the Royal Navy boarding party - seized after they had made a routine boarding of an Indian-flagged dhow suspected of being used to smuggle cars - had been.

He added that the location given by Iran on Saturday for the British personnel was inside Iraqi waters. After this was pointed out to Tehran, Iranian officials provided a second location, around two miles inside Iranian waters, on Monday.

The results of this full court press look promising:

Soon afterwards, the Iranian foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, said the only woman among the 15 captives, 26-year-old Faye Turney, would be released soon.

“The woman soldier is free either today or tomorrow,” he told the Turkish CNN-Turk television channel.
The BBC has a handy map to show where the incident took place.

What's more, the forced confession of Faye Turney, is also an obvious ploy.

Pretending that Iran is acting in good faith is what kept US Soldiers in an Iranian jail for 444 days.
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