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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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Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Friday, March 30, 2007

British/Iranian Hostage Crisis: Not Getting Any Closer To A Resolution

Since the 23rd of March, the Iranians have been playing the propaganda games with Great Britain. First, it was Faye Turney's letter, which has since become two, including the one yesterday. (She was supposed to be released oin Wednesday, but the Iranians reneged on their "good faith" pledge.) Today, as I view the British papers, we seem to have another video and another letter. From the BBC:

Britain and Iran have raised the diplomatic and propaganda temperature in the battle over the 15 captured British sailors and marines.

Iran has broadcast an interview with a British serviceman in which he states that his group "entered Iranian waters without permission" and that he "would like to apologise to the Iranian people."

At the same time Iran has sent the British government a letter that appears to hold out the hope of a negotiation.

The letter, the text of which was released by the Iranian embassy in London stated that two British vessels had "trespassed" and went on: "Since similar acts had taken place in the past and prior warning had been given against the repetition of such acts, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran protests strongly against this illegal act in violating Iranian territorial waters, emphasizes the respect for the rules and principles of international law concerning the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, underlines the responsibility of the British Government for the consequences of such violation, and calls for the guarantee to avoid the recurrence of such acts.

"It will be appreciated if the esteemed embassy conveys this note to the relevant authorities of its government and informs this ministry of any explanation in this regard."

The Independent takes note of something a few analysts have picked up in these videos:

Iranian television today screened footage of a second Royal Navy sailor apparently apologising for entering Iranian waters, sparking an angry response from a "disgusted" Tony Blair.

The man, who gave his name as Nathan Thomas Summers, is shown saying that the British party had "trespassed" into Iranian waters when they were seized last Friday.

But the videotape showed clear signs of editing, suggesting that his words were being manipulated. ...

... In one extract, Mr Summers is shown saying: "I would like to apologise for entering your waters without any permission."

However there is a clear edit after the word "apologise", suggesting that the extract was spliced together from two separate clips.

So, what is happening now? Not much. The UN said they would not demand the release of the 15 hostages, and issued a worthless statement that shows their "concern." But the EU has gone an extra step forward, warning Iran of action should the hostages not be released. From the Telegraph:

The European Union has threatened to take "appropriate measures" against Iran if it fails to release the 15 British sailors and marines it seized last week.

In a statement released this evening, member states said they "deplored" Iran's behaviour and demanded the "immediate and unconditional release" of the British party.

The tone of the warning is a boost for Britain, which failed to persuade the UN Security Council to adopt a similarly bullish wording last night. The EU statement also accepts that the sailors were in Iraqi waters when they were captured, a point which had divided the Security Council.

Well, that is far better than the UN simply showing concern. And one must find it interesting that the UN was divided over where the sailors were seized. When Iran sent the British the GPS coordinates they had to amend them. The initial coordinates had them well within Iraqi waters. The second set of coordinates had the boat just barely within Iranian waters. Personally, I am obliged to accept the first set; a mistake ont he part of the Iranians that they initially told the truth. The Telegraph also adds that a third letter from Ms. Turney was released that states the following:

This afternoon the Iranians released a third letter purported to be written by Leading Seaman Turney, in which she claims she to have been "sacrificed due to the intervening policies of the Bush and Blair governments".

"It is now time to ask our government to make a change to its oppressive behaviour towards other people," the letter says. It also compares her captivity favourably to the experience of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison.

I do not know about our readers but we see this as a propaganda war against Britain and the US. One of the first things demanded by the Iranians was the release of the five Iranian agents we had captured in Iraq. Then there was the possibility that Iran might release their fifteen hostages for the hundred, or so, Iranians we had captured in Iraq. Now the Iranians are bringing up Abu Ghraib. (I would really like to know which Democrat they have over there writing these letters.)

Captain Ed takes notice that Tony Blair is "not in a haggling mood:"

Tony Blair continued to firm his stance towards the Iranians today, stating that Britain will not bargain for the release of the sailors and Marines that Iran has taken hostage. Instead, he demanded that Iran unconditionally release the fifteen detainees, and suspended all communications with the Islamic Republic except for talks specifically about this crisis ...

... Teheran knew better than to try this with Americans, because they know that the US Navy would blow any Iranian boat out of the water before they would allow Americans to get captured. The British, they figured, would play ball, and at least during the initial confrontation, they were correct. Since then, Blair has not followed the playbook -- and he has made it clear that Britain will keep all of its response options on the table. "Further measures" is diplo-speak for high-powered renovation of Iranian ports, at least in theory. ...

... Now Iran has insulted and injured one of its connections to the West. Britain exported over $700 million in goods to Iran last year and is one of their major trading partners. An embargo by Britain would hurt an already stumbling economy, and it would cause the Iranian people to wonder how many other nations Mahmoud Ahmadinejad intends to annoy into military action against Iran.

The only miscalculation appears to have been made in Teheran. If they're not careful, they're going to miscalculate themselves into losing a ship or a port as a response to the act of war Iran committed this week.

Verum Serum has more, including the question of whether or not war is inevitable at this point.



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