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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

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Saturday, March 31, 2007

After The Dawdling Involved, This Comes As No Surprise

Captain Ed picked up on this today. Thomas noticed it this morning, picking up the meme from Victor Davis Hanson @ NRO. Today, Britain's Telegraph confirms our fears: Britain may not be able to act militarily to force the return of their sailors and Marines.

Military action is unfeasible without American support and so is a military blockade of the Gulf. Unless the United Nations shows more rigour, sanctions are unlikely to hurt Iran in the short term.

There is a feeling that the 15 could be in for a long stay in Iran and face the nightmare prospect for Britain of a show trial.Washington has remained largely subdued on the crisis but some commentators have made clear that the situation would have been very different if it had been 15 American sailors. Britain's options are:

Diplomatic: Britain has already suffered a setback at the UN with a fairly feeble rebuke of the Iranians. In the next few days, major players such as Russia and China, who are also friendly towards Teheran, might be persuaded to become more robust. But both have trade links with Iran and would be uncomfortable about major economic sanctions.

Downing Street could order all diplomatic links to be severed, throwing out Iran's ambassador, but this would cut off the one line of communication with the regime, leaving the Navy ratings even more isolated.

Sanctions: This is probably the main area where Iran is vulnerable. While it is a huge exporter of oil it has a chronic shortage of refineries, making it necessary to import 40 per cent of refined products such as petrol and jet fuel.

Sanctions would certainly make the regime sit up but they are only likely to appear as part of the game to force Iran to give up its nuclear programme.

Whitehall might have more luck in persuading the European Union to bring in further sanctions and severing trade links. Britain and America are also hamstrung by the lack of political leverage in the Middle East as a result of the Iraq invasion - which has conversely strengthened Iran's position.

Blockade: The Strait of Hormuz is just 21 miles across, making it a highly strategic chokepoint - and consequently very heavily defended by Teheran.

With Iran so reliant on the waterway for its fuel, arms imports and other goods it would be a key area to put pressure on the regime. The Navy has prepared plans on how to enforce a blockade but it would require almost the entire Fleet at a time when it is facing cuts and many ships have been mothballed. A blockade would also substantially increase the threat of all-out war.

Military: Britain is not a strong enough power to go it alone in a land battle with Iran, especially with so many troops committed to Iraq and Afghanistan. America is unlikely to back military action until diplomacy and possible sanctions have forced Iran to climb down over its nuclear programme.

But the SAS will have already made contingency plans for a rescue mission. It would only be seriously considered if the hostages were considered to be under severe threat of death.

This does not bode well for Britain, or for Europe. Great Britain was the envy of Europe with the strongest army and largest navy. Now, they seem to be a shell of their former selves. They can only accomplish the task with our help, and that is a sad state of affairs. I am sure Tony Blair is watching with considerable anxiety as our own Congress tries to pull a Europe, and walk away from this war, and confronting radical Islam. I am sure he is also seeing it through tear-filled eyes. It is looking much like our own stay in this fight is living on numbered days thanks to the aforementioned Congress. Add insult to injury, without our firm support of Great Britain in its hour of need, Iran might get the idea that it can pull a stunt like this on our forces operating in the Gulf. That, of course, would be foolhardy, and we do not suffer fools long when it comes to matters of national security. At least, that used to be true before Nancy Pelosi and the "Defeatocrats" took over in January.

We can only say this so many times, and we are slowly losing our patience with people who do not grasp the overall gravity of this situation. Ahmadinejad has acted with impunity for the better part of two years. Slow, but steady at first, he has ramped up his rhetoric and brazeness in the past few months; practically daring the world to cross him, or stop him. (I cannot speak for Thomas on this next point, and I should note I have no expertise in this realm; this is a hypothesis of my own accord, so address grievances properly, please.) With all of this boldness of late, it makes me question whether or not Israel is correct in their assertion that Iran is still a year or two off from having a working nuclear weapon.

I posit this: They may have one within the next six months.

Despite what the Telegraph, or Britain's MoD for that matter, they are still vastly superior to the Iranians when it comes to air power, or naval power. Britain is reluctant to move on this issue, and likely due to opinions in their own nation. But when it comes down to matters of opinion and propriety, doing the right thing should matter more, and the pundits can fight out the matter later. But there is no way in heck that we would allow Iran to pull a move like this without serious repercussions. I think it is time for Tony Blair to make a serious decision. Either he makes the stand now, and tries to get his people back with any and all means at his disposal, or he takes the European route of non-engagement.

If he chooses the latter, I hope he can sleep at night.Were I in his shoes, I could not.



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