Hostage Crisis: Iran Captures 15 British Sailors & Marines

What's old is new. Iran is insisting that the 15 marines and sailors were in their waters, the British claim they were in Iraqi waters. The truth? Come on. Do you really have to ask? Unless, of course, the Iranians now consider Southern Iraq an extension of Iran. Which may not be too far off the mark.

Leonidas, where art thou?

BBC:

Fifteen British Navy personnel have been captured at gunpoint by Iranian forces, the Ministry of Defence says.

The men were seized at 1030 local time when they boarded a boat in the Gulf, off the coast of Iraq, which they suspected was smuggling cars....

The Ministry of Defence said: "The group boarding party had completed a successful inspection of a merchant ship when they and their two boats were surrounded and escorted by Iranian vessels into Iranian territorial waters.

"We are urgently pursuing this matter with the Iranian authorities at the highest level.

"The British government is demanding the immediate and safe return of our people and equipment."

Hat tip: Tim at Opinion Bug

P.S. & Update: Isn't this an act of war?

Another update: Given that embassies in Tehran were making evacuation plans yesterday.....er, I hate to place the tinfoil hat on here, but what are the chances that this was a planned operation?

Allah provides video of the last time Iran took British personell hostage and says:

Iran can’t have meant to do this, not with Ahmadinejad set to address the Security Council tomorrow about the nuclear program and not to the British, who’ve been adamant in opposing any military action on Iran.
Maybe, and in my heart of hearts I'm a Realist--which posits that nations are rational actors that act in their own interests. But rationality is constrained by culture and what may seem rational in Tehran may seem crazy-insane to the rest of us. Case in point: all of Iranian history since 1979.

Anyway, I agree that they'll probably be let go unharmed. And it's far more likely that Allah is right and that this is probably nothing more than a bunch of Iranian sailors working from the cuff and egged on by years of propaganda, but never completely write off the crazy. Especially when you're dealing with Iran.

If our resident Persian expert, GM, is around, I'd like to hear your thoughts.

UPDATE exctracted from the comments of Garduneh Mehr:

Thanks Dr. S., I don't know for sure but I suspect this transgression like the last one (mentioned above by Randman) has been committed by the naval branch of the IRGC (the idealogical terrorist army that's the mullah's main prop). And again I speculate that they've done this so as to dissuade the coalition from aggressively inspecting ships which would make it easier for the IRGC to smuggle arms and/or terrorists into Iraq. Looking at the bigger picture, it seems to me that the terrorist acts in Iraq are basically a proxy war conducted on behalf of the IRGC and the Mullahcracy's ministry of intelligence VEVAK. Ken Timmermann had a very insightful article on this recently. As for removing the gloves vis-a-vis the Mullahcracy, that is long long over due. There is one more thing I'd like to mention. These IRGC/Basiji types are basically thugs and bullies; when it comes to dealing with them one most forget all niceties and ceremonies and courtesies of international law because the IRGC/Basiji/VEVAK do not represent a nation. As they themselves will tell you, they represent an idealogy. In brief, I believe the Royal Navy ought to have made quick work of the f**kers.

Posted by: Rusty at 07:13 AM

Comments

1 I'm sure the Iranians will release the Brits as soon as the Queen gives them some British soil and water as sign of their loyalty. I am having trouble envisioning Prince Charles kicking the Iranian envoy down a well.

Posted by: BohicaTwentyTwo at March 23, 2007 08:25 AM

2 Hey...for the most part I really appreciate the Brits but they have been kind of wimpy towards the Iranians when the Iranian military violated the border in the area under British control.

Posted by: Randman at March 23, 2007 08:38 AM

3 Act of war.

Why was this phrase not used when the British government made their demand of the Iranian hostage takers?

Posted by: Saul at March 23, 2007 08:39 AM

4 Time for the gloves to come off, and hurt these pricks.

Posted by: dick at March 23, 2007 09:04 AM

5 Comrades,

The greater question is why didn't the skipper of HMS Cornwall engage the Iranian vessel(s) and attempt to recover his men?

Obviously the Iranian vessel(s) were comitting an act of Piracy, if not an act of war, and committed this act outside their own waters.

The Commanding Officer should have engaged the hostile vessel at once, rather than standing by while members of his crew were kidnapped. That he did not do so, should be cause for his immidieate release from command of the vessel, and a Court of Enquiry should be assembled at once to consider the matter, both in regards to the officer's conduct, and as an example to other officers of the vigilence and determination required when placed in command of a warchip, and other men's lives.

As a former Navy man, I find his conduct reprehensible, and dangerous, in light of the prescedence it sets for protecting one's own crew.

Respects,

Posted by: Gwedd at March 23, 2007 09:24 AM

6 Thanks Dr. S.,
I don't know for sure but I suspect this transgression like the last one (mentioned above by Randman) has been committed by the naval branch of the IRGC (the idealogical terrorist army that's the mullah's main prop).
And again I speculate that they've done this so as to dissuade the coalition from aggressively inspecting ships which would make it easier for the IRGC to smuggle arms and/or terrorists into Iraq.

Looking at the bigger picture, it seems to me that the terrorist acts in Iraq are basically a proxy war conducted on behalf of the IRGC and the Mullahcracy's ministry of intelligence VEVAK. Ken Timmermann had a very insightful article on this recently.

As for removing the gloves vis-a-vis the Mullahcracy, that is long long over due.

There is one more thing I'd like to mention. These IRGC/Basiji types are basically thugs and bullies; when it comes to dealing with them one most forget all niceties and ceremonies and courtesies of international law because the IRGC/Basiji/VEVAK do not represent a nation. As they themselves will tell you, they represent an idealogy. In brief, I believe the Royal Navy ought to have made quick work of the f**kers.

Posted by: Garduneh Mehr at March 23, 2007 09:31 AM

7 Gwedd,
Couldn't agree with you more.

Posted by: Garduneh Mehr at March 23, 2007 09:36 AM

8 I just noticed my typo!
That was meant to read "... one must forget all niceties..."
Sorry about that!

Posted by: Garduneh Mehr at March 23, 2007 09:38 AM

9 I just flipped off CNN becuase they are already running cover for Iran. MFrs up there saying "our sources are telling us that these units are probably revoultionary guard forces and they may not be under control of the central government of Iran".

That is such blatant BS propoganda. Then after that they switch to some girl reporting the deputy vp attempted assasination with a opening statement "this just proves how deadly it is in Iraq there is no safe place" had wonder if this was CNN or AQN.


Posted by: C-Low at March 23, 2007 09:56 AM

10 Gwedd, there may be other unknown factors as to why this was let to happen, but I hate to say that the Royal Navy reaction does seem a bit timid. Wiki says the HMS Cornwall is armed with a 4.5 inch naval gun as well as two 20 mm close range guns and Harpoon and SeaWolf anti-ship missiles.

Posted by: BohicaTwentyTwo at March 23, 2007 09:59 AM

11 The IRGC are nothing but the central government

Posted by: Garduneh Mehr at March 23, 2007 10:03 AM

12 I can't wait for the video of Ahmedinejad frog marching these sailors, blindfolded, away to the dungeons, just like he did the U.S. Embassy people in 1979. WWJD, What Would Jimmy Do? (Nothing)

Posted by: n.a. palm at March 23, 2007 10:20 AM

13 n.a., Jimmy would do something, like ordering an underpowered rescue attempt, resulting in a helicopter crash in the desert, and then he'd run away and blame the joos. As Homer Simpson said, "we elected the wrong Carter."

I'm with Gwedd on this one.

Posted by: wooga at March 23, 2007 11:02 AM

14 If the Iranians believed that the US, British and French naval forces in the gulf were a real threat this would never have happened. They are calling a bluff by publicly humiliating the British.
The hardliners need to do this to showother Iraniansthat their aggressive (nuclear, terrorist) strategy is not putting Iran in any real danger and is getting them what they want. The inevitable passive response by the West will prove the hardliners correct. Indeed, I suspect that they will get a few of their IRGC (Qods) officers back as consideration returning the Brits.

We always hear that acting aggressivly towards Iran shores up the hardliners. This is an good example of why the opposite can be true.

Posted by: Cruiser at March 23, 2007 11:05 AM

15 Yep, Cruiser, it's the "strong horse, weak horse" argument of Osama. I always thought that it was more applicable to the cultural and behavior pattern of Arabs rather than Persians, though. I gave up trying to figure out Persians a couple years ago. Now I just assume "crazy and unpredictable."

Posted by: wooga at March 23, 2007 11:29 AM

16
The Brits are reaping the reward for their government's public statement (was it Jack Straw?) that war with Iran is "unimaginable". If you preemptively emasculate yourself, don't be surprised when others push you around like a little girl.

This same thing goes for the Bush admin. to some degree, especially Robert Gates, who has talked too much instead of letting actions speak for him. We should not be telling the Iranians that the naval movements are designed to pressurethe Iranians- they should at least be left to wonder whether they are there to strike, now. A threat must be credible to work. The administration has fallen all over itself to explain, essentially, that it is all for show. If you are going to talk like that- don't even bother wasting the effort to send the ships.

I recognize that some of the overt weakness is a result of political limitations the President faces. But again, if you can't make the threat credible you are better offtrying a different tack or you riskhumiliating bluff calls like we are seeing today.

Posted by: Cruiser at March 23, 2007 11:59 AM

17 I would like to know if the Brits are merely going to take this as the Democrat Jimmy (peanut) Carter did when they took 400 Americans hostage. The fact that we didn't bomb the shit out of them back then probably makes them think they can get away with it any time they feel like it. ARE ALL DECISION MAKING POLITICIANS PUSSY?

Posted by: greyrooster at March 23, 2007 09:14 PM

18 Time for a few british bombers to bome tehran into a pile of smoldering rubble

Posted by: sandpiper at March 26, 2007 09:31 AM






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