Sunday, March 25, 2007

A very slow escalation

And slowly it escalates:
Iran's detention of 15 Royal Navy personnel is "unjustified and wrong", Prime Minister Tony Blair has said...

Iran says they were trespassing in its waters, but speaking at an EU summit, Mr Blair denied this was the case.

"It simply is not true that they went into Iranian territorial waters and I hope the Iranian government understands how fundamental an issue this is for us," Mr Blair said...

Students belonging to the paramilitary Basij group, which is close to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have called for the Britons to be put on trial.

I wonder how long before the hostages (for that is what they are) are displayed on television.

Iran seems to specialise in hostages; I wonder what in their culture encourages them to do this?
It doesn't seem very healthy or honourable.

Meanwhile I hope the (Royal) Navy has had a very quick review of its rules of engagement.


freedom fighter said...

Hello, Canker
The idea of hostages is an old and ingrained thing among Muslim cultures. It's sanctioned in the Qu'ran as a tactic, as is promising safe conduct and then reneging.

As for Ahmadinejad, he's closer to the basejis than you might think.

During the Iran/Iraq war, the Ayatollah Khomenei bought up thousands of plastic keys from Taiwan and recruited youths as young as 12 from the poor, rural, blue collar and lower middle class ( the same folks Hitler used for the SA) and turned them into a militia.

They were given these plastic `keys to paradise' tio hang around their necks and sent out in human waves to clear Iraqi minefields ahead of the Ayatollah's tanks, and as human tank destroyers and suicide bombers.

One of the baseji leaders in charge of training them was Ahmadinejad.

After the war, the basejis morphed in storm troopers and religious police for the regime, and Ahmedinejad has always had strong support among them, particularly in his presidential `election'.

The black and white scarf Ahmadinejad frequently wears is not a Palestinian kefiyah but a baseji scarf.

One thing puzzles me a bit - why the the HMS Cornwall allow its crewmembers to be taken captive like that? The frigate surely outgunned the Iranian patrol boats.

I'm sure there's a good solid explanation, but..

For what it's worth, cousins , my condolances. Here's hoping those sailors and marines make it back to home port speedily and safely.


Canker said...

Hi FF,
Thanks very much for the information-in particular I was not aware of Ahmedinejad's baseji background.

The only explanation I have read for the HMS Cornwall's behaviour was made in passing and is that `the Cornwall was working on essentially anti-smuggling operations and thus had very strict/tight rules of engagement [presumably along the lines of `only respond in the face of deadly force']. If so, it's pretty stupid, given Iran's predilection for this sort of activity and its constant disagreements about the extent of its territorial waters. All I hope is that the RoE have changed fast and that the diplomats won't wimp out.