Mar 23 2007

Iran Escalates Confrontation

Published by at 8:59 am under All General Discussions

Iran is playing a very, very stupid game in the seizure of British forces in Iraqi waters.

“At approximately 1030 Iraqi time this morning, 15 British naval personnel, engaged in routine boarding operations of merchant shipping in Iraqi territorial waters … were seized by Iranian naval vessels,” the ministry said in a statement.

It is stupid because it is an assault on the UK and EU – not the US. Therefore there will be little media or liberal sympathy. It was in Iraqi waters, which is the equivalent of an invasion on land over a border and capturing soldiers. Sadly, the British are not going to like having their sailors captured by Islamo Fascists in rubber boats. So the pride angle here is also going to be a big factor.

It is stupid because now it is clear to everyone Iran’s beligerence is dangerous and out of control. What concerns me is why do this unless you had something in your hip pocket and you were going to play some poker. Why do this kind of escalation? And what will our Democrats do – say the West cannot confront Iran? Talk about bad timing. We are heading into some seriously perilous times right now. We have amassed a large navy force in the region, so we could respond. I doubt we will immediately. Iran may just be trying to do a prisoner swap. But it was a dumb and dangerous move all the same.

Update: Here is a transcript media generated Q&A session in the UK on the matter with the latest details. This is not the first time the UK has had Iran take its people at gunpoint:

Has this happened before?

In June 2004, six British marines and two sailors were seized by Iran in the Shatt al-Arab waterway. After being initially threatened with prosecution, they were released after high level contacts between the then British foreign secretary, Jack Straw, and the then Iranian minister of foreign affairs, Kamal Kharrazi. The initial hardline approach may have been due to power struggles within the Iranian government.

This is why allowing incidents to simply fade away invites repeat incidents. It will be interesting to see if the UK has to bribe Iran to release its people.

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Iran Escalates Confrontation”

  1. The Sandbox says:

    Iran Seizes British Naval Forces…

    From Skynews:The Government is demanding the immediate and safe return of 15 British sailors and Marines seized at gunpoint by Iranian forces. They were taking part in a routine operation boarding merchant ships in Iraqi territorial waters when they we…

  2. MerlinOS2 says:

    The timing suggests trying to influence British vote on UN Sanctions tomorrow.

  3. crosspatch says:

    I suspect they are attempting to scare up the price of oil on world markets. They are in a bit of a financial pinch and if they can create some regional turmoil that raises the price of oil by a few bucks, they make millions more dollars per day.

  4. CatoRenasci says:

    “Owing to the summary rejection by the Iranian [German] Government of the request made by Her[His] Majesty’s Government for assurances that the sovereignty neutrality of Iraq[Belgium] would be respected, all interference with British military personnel operating in Iraq would cease immediately, and all British military personnel detained by the Iranians would be returned unharmed immediately, [His] Her Majesty’s Ambassador in [Berlin] Tehran has received his passport, and [His] Her Majesty’s Government has declared to the [German] Iranian Government that a state of war exists between Great Britain and [Germany] Iran as from 11pm on [ August 4] March 24, 2007.

    Precedent…. on could only wish the Brits had the nads left….

  5. crosspatch says:

    NEW YORK (AP) — Oil prices spiked above $62 a barrel Friday and gasoline futures continued to surge as unrest in the Middle East and Nigeria helped vault front-month crude prices to their highest level since December.

    “There’s a good solid list of fundamental supports for the market,” said Citigroup Global Markets energy analyst Tim Evans. “There’s nothing on the other side of the scale,”

    At the top of the list was Britain’s Ministry of Defense saying Iranian naval vessels seized 15 British sailors and marines in Iraqi waters. Britain said the personnel were “engaged in routine boarding operations of merchant shipping in Iraqi territorial waters,” and had completed their inspection of a merchant ship when they were accosted by Iranian vessels.

  6. ganzo azul says:

    The following makes you wonder if Mr. Ahmadinejad is able to control and or even coordinate al-Quds tactics with his diplomatic strategy.
    Times Online
    “In December, US troops arrested and expelled two Iranians in Baghdad accused of being members of the al-Quds force, a unit responsible for foreign operations. Five other Iranians seized in January in northern Iraq on the same pretext remain in US custody.

    Britain will be hoping that the release of its captured servicemen does not become entangled in the fate of the detained Iranians.”