Sunday, March 25, 2007

Blair Must Stand Up to the Iranian Terrorists

Our government is being remarkably controlled in its reaction to the seizure of fifteen members of Her Majesty's Armed Forces by Iran. I assume they have a plan and don't want to inflame a very dangerous situation. Wars have started over far less.

However, the Iranians must be left in no doubt as to the seriousness of their actions. Merely calling in their Ambassador is not enough. It's clear this was a calculated action from the Iranians and intended to have consequences. I assume what they want is for us to look weak in the face of adversity. The Iranian leadership is looking fragile and what they need is a little 'foreign' episode to unite their people with them.

I am, however, slightly puzzled by the fact that HMS Cornwall did not intervene and go after the abductors. What other US or UK naval forces were in the area at the time? Surely they would have had every right to enter Iranian waters to respond to what was an illegal kidnapping?

One thing is for sure. If a certain Iron Lady had been PM we would have heard slightly more from her than we have from Mr Blair, who called the Iranian action "unjustified and wrong". No shit, Sherlock.

So, while I do not advocate going over the top in the use of bellicose rhetoric, I do hope that the stance which is being taken privately is far more hardline than that being taken in public.

119 comments:

outed by Tatchell said...

Margaret Thatcher wouldn't have clung on to the American neo-cons coat-tails and behaved like their tame poodle and so wouldn't have got us into this mess in the first place

mark williams said...

I suspect that this may be a little like the US embassy hostages at the time of the Iranian revolution. They may really end up being hostages to prevent an attack by US and UK forces. There are no Americans in Iran, so they go for some British soldiers.

Anonymous said...

it seems odd that the Iranian forces could get so close without being seen or stopped. surley the defence technology on the naval vesels woud have spotted them from a good distance.

What happened to the helicopter that was supposedly flying air cover at the time?

Blair and his cronies have backed into a corner, we do not have the forces to actively force the return of these marines and Iran knows this.

All we will see from this government is empty rhetoric and unsupported demands.

mitch said...

methinks this is the excuse for the war they want, bliar will start it and the usa will ride in to help us therefore stopping people saying we blindly followed the usa into another
legacy oopps war.I hope im wrong but bliar never fails to disapoint and the excuse he needs to stay on.

verity said...

Never has Britain been governed with such ineptitude, such empty posturing, such mendacity.

The questions are very good. What happened to all the cover? And why weren't the Iranians detected in time? Summat's up.

al fin said...

Margaret Thatcher had cojones, amigo. There is your difference.

The people of Iran have suffered under this dictatorship for almost 30 years. They are not asking the UK to deliver them. They are only asking the UK to be a sovereign country, rather than just another Euro-weeny.

The Druid said...

Iran has a track record in this area. It doesn't care a fig for international law or western nicetties or sensibilities. For example:

- Seizure of American embassy 1979. Mass hostage taking. Their current president was photographed amongst the revolutionary guards who committed this crime.
- 1983 truck bombings in Beiruit killing many US marines on peace keeping duties.
- 1994 Bombing of Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires.
- Last year in the Lebanon where its proxies waged a war against Israel in contravention of international law. (Overlooked by most commentators who focus on Israeli "war crimes" instead - including this blog (See video posted yesterday).

President Amireallymad is in deep doo-doo at home. So standing up to little satan no.2 is a good way of bolstering his postion.

This act of piracy is just another example. No doubt it is designed to intimidate. The RN is the only navy with sufficient minesweepers to keep the Straits of Hormuz open in the event of conflict. The world needs that waterway kept open in order for oil to flow.

Personally I would negotiate for the unconditional release of our men and equipment. I would make it abundantly clear that should any harm come to them then the consequences for Iran would be grave indeed. I would move into the region if they are not already there a couple of Trafalgar Class Submarines and a Vanguard class sub. Should a demonstration of our intent be needed then one non-nuclear Tomahawk should suffice. Not quite gun boat diplomacy. But we need to send a message that if you monkey with the Brits expect big trouble.

Of course the chinless wonders who run HMG would do nothing of the sort. Queue another humiliation for our great nation.

This rogue state needs to be dealt with firmly by the international community. On no account must they be able to gain control over nuclear technology of any sort.

Anonymous said...

Bliar stand up to Iran?, hes more interested in partying at the EUssr summit in Berlin, more concerend about handing England over to be ruled by a foreign power.

gung ho ho said...

Out come the armchair generals

nadders said...

Iain

Why no comments on the Telegraph Bliar story today, which shows massive political impact on the plod investigation ("caution me & I resign"). Seems a mega story to me.

What also about the 7/7 story that Rachel from North London hints at regarding a much bigger story just about to break

Surely bloggers are not being controlled are they?

a patriot not a neocon said...

Those cowardly Persians would be crapping themselves if they knew that Iain Dale and his brave band of keyboard warriors were on their case.

Keep up the good work boys.

Anonymous said...

If you want to see some Persian ass being kicked,take a look at the latest Hollywood blockbuster,300.Perhaps the Iranians have taken exception to it's release,and want to demonstrate some muscle.

Anonymous said...

I haven't heard Cameron's views on the sailors. Not for the first time Dave has shown that Gordon is not the only one with a touch of Macavity about him.

Rush-is-Right said...

I have no worries. Margaret Becket is on stand-by. Good enough for me.

verity said...

A patriot not a neocon - that was hysterical. Thanks for a Sunday afternoon laugh! Actually, I can't stop laughing.

The Druid - Yes, 1979 was the beginning of the current worldwide cycle of jihad. Quickly followed, as you wrote, by the US Marine Barracks in Lebanon. And the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires. It gathered momentum when other jihadis joined in. The Achille Lauro. The first assay on the WTC. And so on. And it's still in full flight.

It's got bugger all to do with Iraq.

verity said...

Maybe that's what Cherie's doing in the region! Maybe she has been trained as a US Navy seal and is even now swimming stealthily up the Straits of Hormuz with a knife between her teeth. Mock ye not!

tom_r said...

It's truly amazing.

We THINK that Iraq might have been up to no good so we bomb the s*** out of them and invade them, followed by occupying their country for several years.

We KNOW that Iran has just kidnapped British military personnel and we sit on our arse.

Obviously.

mark williams said...

There's a bit of a difference. Both BP and Shell have big investments in Iran and the government is not going to give those away by bombing Iran. The US, who had their assets confiscated 28 years ago, and Israel who never had any such investments, have fewer misgivings.

Marquee Mark said...

And where did they get the idea that a pre-emptive strike was permissible under international law? Mmmmm, let me see - that would be from Bush and Blair then. Perhaps they thought that six battle groups in the Gulf might just be capable of launching weapons of mass destruction at Tehran in 45 minutes. Or even 45 seconds. What goes around...

Britan has no military route open to it. We don't have the men, we don't have the weaponry - short of using Trident. And I don't think even Maggie would have gone down that road. Britain only has diplomacy. The Government does not hold many cards - and so is being very measured in its response. I suggest that it is in the best interests of our sailors and marines if they continue in that way. Belicose talk from us will play far better in Tehran - in justification of their actions.

And for those armchair admirals advocating Victorian-style gunboat diplomacy - I suggest they Google "Iran sunburn missile". See if that curbs your enthusiasm any...

Marquee Mark said...

Verity: "Maybe that's what Cherie's doing in the region! Maybe she has been trained as a US Navy seal"

I think she is rather nearer to being the sort of seal that balances a ball on its nose... and demands to be thrown ever more fish dinners.

Ken from glos said...

All of you miss the point.Have a look at the rules of engagement.We have allowed our troops to be put in harms way.

This has happened before and Hoon said it would never happen again.

I promise you the armed forces are STEAMING over this one. Get hold of the rules of engagement and that will tell you everything you need to know about this Government.

mike said...

verity said...

Never has Britain been governed with such ineptitude, such empty posturing, such mendacity.

You live in Mexico I believe,perhaps if you lived here I may be interested in your long winded rant,but doubt it.

mike said...

Marquee Mark said...

Verity: "Maybe that's what Cherie's doing in the region! Maybe she has been trained as a US Navy seal"

I think she is rather nearer to being the sort of seal that balances a ball on its nose... and demands to be thrown ever more fish dinners.

The lives of our servicemen are in jeopardy and you two posters think to make a joke out of it ?

Yak40 said...

The Times said the Captain of HMS Cornwall had to ring Whitehall for instructions and was told to not fire. Seems Adm Nelson had it better "What signal, I see no ships" etc.

What's sickening is to see comments elsewhere saying it was all UK and America's fault, a set-up etc and saying anything other than a grovelling response would be wrong. Pitiful.

mike said...

tom_r said...

It's truly amazing. We KNOW that Iran has just kidnapped British military personnel and we sit on our arse.

And your solution would be what ?

mike said...

Yak40 said...What's sickening is to see comments elsewhere saying it was all UK and America's fault.

Supply a link so that others are able to view these comments please.

a patriot not a neocon said...

verity 9.19- that was hysterical. Thanks for a Sunday evening laugh! Actually, I can't stop laughing. At you.

Rush-is-Right said...

The Times said the Captain of HMS Cornwall had to ring Whitehall for instructions and was told to not fire. Seems Adm Nelson had it better "What signal, I see no ships" etc.

If that's rue, it's a resigning matter. What a bunch of ....s

mike said...

a patriot not a neocon said...

Those cowardly Persians would be crapping themselves if they knew that Iain Dale and his brave band of keyboard warriors were on their case.

Agreed.

forthurst said...

I've haven't seen a chart to show where exactly the servicepersons were at the time of capture. All we can guess is that they were out of effective range of the Cornwall whether by distance or draft. We therefore are not in a position to judge whether we are technically in the right or not. (Assuming that we have a right to mount military operations in Iraqi territory; a proposition to which I personally do not subscribe).
Let us assume this is not like the case of the two Israelis, captured inside Labanese territory, which Israel then used as an excuse for launching a preplanned murderous assault on the Lebanese people.
What is clear is that we have not yet been given the full facts here even to the extent to which they are known, but on the face of it, it makes the force once led by Admiral Nelson look pretty puny.

verity said...

They know Blair's weak. They knew Jimmy Carter was weak. They held the US embassy and personnel for IIRC 14 months.

During Ronald Reagan's Inauguration ceremony for his first term in office, the Iranians released the hostages. The minute Reagan had taken his oath of office, they released them. It was that fast. One minute. They were scared of Ronald Reagan. No one is scared of Tony Blair because he so very clearly does not know what he's doing.

I don't know what we can do. If they'd seized an American ship as well, the American military would have intervened by now. Pres Amireallymad needs to be taken out. Blair won't have the nerve.

Also, tragically, he is over there in Berlin auditioning for the role of unelected president of the EU and he has to demonstrate that he's a pacifist.

I ran, and I ran... said...

Surely it's brilliant military strategy by Tehran. Kidnap the British, and sit and watch while America do nothing. We could declare war, and America will do nothing. They can do whatever they want to these troops, and America will do nothing, and we will do nothing without America's say-so.

Proof, if we needed it, of Britain's barrel scraping position in global influence.

The perfect way for Iran to blow apart the special relationship, and watch the West crawl back to our shells.

Ken from Glos said...

Never forget IN HARMS WAY thats Labour for you.

I served this country and they used to XXXX on me as well.

Marquee Mark said...

Mike,

I think you will see from my prior post that I actually treat this extremely seriously. The fact that our troops are in a difficult spot is obvious and my position is that it should be left to the diplomats to sort out - with a great big STFU from everyone else.

However, the situation is not yet so grave that the nation should stop taking the piss out of that woman from No. 10.

mike said...

a patriot not a neocon said...

verity 9.19- that was hysterical. Thanks for a Sunday evening laugh! Actually, I can't stop laughing. At you.

This poster "verity" has a solution to all things, and she uses very big words so we will all be impressed by her inane utterances.

mike said...

Marquee Mark said...However, the situation is not yet so grave that the nation should stop taking the piss out of that woman from No. 10.

Yes it is !

Shah said...

Surely this calls for NATO intervention?

Oh yeah, sorry, that won't happen cos the troops aren't yanks.

We are being screwed, and we can't do anything about it.

You Thatcher necrophilies can make all the comparisons you like, but getting into the shit with Iran is a bit different from Argentina. No British PM can do anything in this situation.

Anonymous said...

Iain, but the first rule is surely 'Don't make any threats that you aren't 100 % certain of carrying through'.

People can talk tough - but what are we going to do ? Invade Iran ? Yeah, right. Sanctions and so on have to be threatened and delivered.

Although if we had a decent foreign secretary [even John Reid would be a better bet in a scenario like this] we might have a chance. And any one who thinks that Miliband would make a better fist of this as Prime Minister is living in dream time.

Indigo said...

I trust that, behind the scenes, Blair is not asking Washington to bomb Iran for us. Like Israel did to the Lebanon, for the sake of one hostage who - after Israel, with US-supplied munitions, bombed Lebanon back 50 years - is still missing.

Quiet diplomacy by real Middle East experts has the best chance of sorting this out. That was how we used to do things, before the Labour Party got into power and started to be run from the White House.

Anyway, supposing our sailors and marines were actually in Iranian waters, due to a failure of military technology? Not impossible, and not clever in the present climate. It would have been understandable, had Iran viewed their incursion as a "diversion". The US has one of its military vessels sitting off Iran, I gather.

verity said...

I'm so lonely I cry myself to sleep every night.

mike said...

verity said...

They know Blair's weak. They knew Jimmy Carter was weak. They held the US embassy and personnel for IIRC 14 months.

Is there anything you do not feel the need to endlessly post on,anything at all ?

verity said...

I don't think it's a coincidence that this has happened while Blair was jumping through hoops to please his European masters in Berlin.

Marquee Mark said...

Mike,

Aw, c'mon - next you'll be saying we should stop playing that clip of Brown eating his own snot - and replace it with a patriotic tape-loop of the Dambusters March. Or maybe "Things Can Only Get Better"

i ran and i ran said...

Indigo...

Blair could be on his knees begging for Bush to bomb Iran, and he wouldn't listen to a word.

Britain has no options in this situation. We are nothing.

verity said...

Fake Verity writes:

"I'm so lonely I cry myself to sleep every night."

With a pedestrian, slow-witted mind like yours, I'm not surprised.

mike said...

Indigo said...

I trust that, behind the scenes, Blair is not asking Washington to bomb Iran for us.

I agree with that,my worry is that Blair may use this as a reason to remain in office for another ten years,and I am not joking.

a patriot not a neocon said...

10:25 PM
verity said...
...while Blair was jumping through hoops to please his European masters in Berlin.

I think you've had one crack pipe too many tonight soft lad. Blair's "masters" are across the Atlantic not la Manche.

Sabretache said...

Well, it's heartening to note you have toned down your own 'bellicose rhetoric' somewhat. 'Iranian Terrorists' having given way to 'The Armed Forces of Iran' over the past hour or two.

I suggest you read Craig Murray on the subject. The maritime demarcation lines are far from clear or agreed and, with the massive and continuing build up of Western Naval power in the Gulf (analogous to Massive Iranian Naval build up in the Irish Sea from their point of view), it is little wonder that the Iranians feel somewhat intimidated and inclined to demonstrate that they will no push over.

mike said...

i ran and i ran said...Britain has no options in this situation. We are nothing.

Agreed,however the posters here are getting ready to ditch their laptops and invade en masse.

mike said...

Marquee Mark said...Aw, c'mon - next you'll be saying we should stop playing that clip of Brown eating his own snot

I made my views on this story clear over on Guy Fawkes blog together with a group of fellow pensioners,suggest you drop in and have a look,comments to Miliblogger Sulking, De-linking.

beachhutman said...

Aw, stuff the protocol. Bomb the Basrads

Yak40 said...

Good article from The Scotsman together with comments. For others see the usual suspects e.g. BBC HYS although there's also lots of support there this time. Strange tho' nothing on Grauniad's CiF yet.

"Interesting how Blair is condemning the actions of Iran, who have detained the UK's soldiers for a week, when there are hundreds of prisoners detained in Guantanamo "

"It's about time the British people removed their blinkers and realised that we are the bad guys here."

"I don't think it's far fetched to suspect that the US is conveniently using the UK as a middleman in provoking.. "


And so on ..

Anonymous said...

At the time of the Falklands a UK military threat to Iran might have been credible, but now?

Labour have totally screwed one of the few British institutions left which actually worked

Ian ( Ex RAF)

verity said...

A Patriot Not A Neocon - No. Blair's masters are whoever is promising him a very lucrative, high profile opportunity to continue to get his photo taken at important events, ride around in a private jet and stash away loads of dosh. He is trying out for the role of unelected president of the EU gravy train this week-end.

It may have seeped into even his dull little brain that American opportunities are looking thinner and thinner on the ground. For sure, Bush isn't going to help him out. He may have to settle for Europe or, like other weak leaders before him - Bill Clinton and Jimmuh Cahduh, a foundation in Saudi Arabia.

Raw Carrot said...

I hope we have plenty of tomahawks in our subs....

morrocanroll said...

want the neo-neo-neo con solution?

200 smart missiles, 200 mosques, Friday prayers next week...

The Hitch said...

Dont forget that bush suggested to blair that they try and get saddam to shoot down a UN aircraft to give an excuse to invade.
This stinks

verity said...

Moroccan Roll - Yes, there's a certain elegant symmetry there. I can see that that would work.

The problem is, the EU won't let Blair do anything at all and he won't take independent action because he's over there with his cap in his hand for a job.

Verity said...

OK, the Hitch. What is your recommended course of action?

Anonymous said...

You really are pushing it Iain. What did Thatch do when the Yanks invaded a Commonealth Realm without a word? I think she apologised for having Her Majesty's head scuff Ronnie's boot.

The Hitch said...

I recall the russian response to the seizure of the American embassy
"try that with us and we WILL nuke you"
i know it makes me sound like a bellicose keyboard commando but I think that we need to make and mean that threat
They cant invade us, however, we can turn sections of their country into glass, it tamed the japs it will tame these tossers.

Anonymous said...

We can't take a strong position with the Iranians because we don't have right on our side. For a start, British warships shouldn't be policing the Gulf - which is all due to our illegal attack on Iraq. Also, the Iranians claim to have proof the British Navy were operating in Iranian waters, and in the absence of any definite proof to the contrary from the RN, who is to say that Iran isn't acting entirely within its rights?

The Hitch said...

Incinerate them, i am not in favour of doing it for Israel, I am however infavour of doing it for our service people, fire a battle field nuke at a remote uninhabited part of their country and tell them that unless they release the hostages immediately every single one of their cities will cease to exist.
I bet they will lose their islamic fervour rather quickly and dump the mullahs.
There is no point in having weapons unless you use them, this isn't mutually assured destruction it the guaranteed destruction of one group of people by another group of people.

verity said...

The Hitch - I agree. The only American Democrat I admire is Harry Truman.

I think we should go in and rescue our men, whatever it takes.

I wouldn't even bother with diplomacy and yak-yak-yak because they would be pushing to see how far they could get us to bow. They committed a provocative act, and they should pay in blood. It's the islamic way, after all. We'd just be respecting their traditions.

David Lindsay said...

Imagine if Iranian vessels had been patrolling the Channel conducting random searches of other shipping. How would the British authorities have reacted? How should they have reacted?

And surely this cannot have been a deliberately provocative act? After all, people are realising that oil-rich Iran is a huge and multi-ethnic emerging democracy which does not tow the line of the Neocon Empire, but also that it is not developing nuclear weapons, that the Supreme Leader there has indeed issued a fatwa against them, and that the current President is on the way out anyway.

So some other reason now has to concocted to steal its oil, and to dismantle its enormous, ethnically diverse democracy which stubbornly remains outside the Empire, just as was done to Yugoslavia.

The Hitch said...

david lindsay
who cares!
they have 14 brish service men and 1 woman (a mother of 2) held hostage
In other words part of your family., men and women who are prepared to lay down their lives for you and yours.
I don't wish to sound dramatic but that really does mean something and we should let the Iranians know that 70 million of them are no worth the life of a single one of us nor our pride, how on earth do you think that this tiny island once ruled the world, kind words from some insincere moist eyed twat like Blair?
No, it was by the application of carefully targeted ruthless physical force.
Rant over.

not really Verity said...

Let's nuke Iran!

achilles said...

Like you, Iain, I can't understand how they allowed themselves to be captured but we'll have to give them the benefit of the doubt - shit happens. Perhaps our troops are given too many instructions on how to engage the enemy these days. If it was my task to brief, I would say "Shoot first - ask questions later."

If the Iranians want a fight, let's give them one. I know who will win. Do we now need any more excuses to bomb the shit out of Iran? Let's go in, get the job done and sort it out once and for all.

garypowell said...

IMHO
It is obvious what the war in Iraq was all about, and has been for the last 4-5 years.

If the reasons for the iraq war does not make full sense to everyone by now? It should do.

GB is running on a timetable. So it matters not how Iran attemps to win back the initiative.

The yanks are comming anyway.

verity said...

A Patriot Not A Neocon writes: "I think you've had one crack pipe too many tonight soft lad."

Not really. It's not even cocktail hour here yet, and I've been out this afternoon picking mangoes off my mango tree. And coming in out of the heat to post.

verity said...

Tony is not going to authorise a rescue of our service personnel as long as he is auditioning for chief puppet of the EU.

Her Maj is head of the armed forces. She should order them in. Not that she would. I have grown very disillusioned with her during the Blair years, when she began taking orders from her PM.

Eighty-two is not an age when someone is going to take a risky initiative, so Blair has a free run at using our country as a pawn in the next move in his career. I'd rather have Harry - a loose cannon, a drinker and a womaniser. But also a military man who knows the score. But what it needs is the intervention of a non-politician, and ideally that would be our monarch, but she is elderly and, I am sure, increasingly timid, especially in the face of a pair of determined parvenues like Tone 'n' the Crone.

achilles said...

Verity,

Oh come on! Harry is young and has only been in the military for just over a year! A military man? So was Captain Mainwaring!

Mad MOD Civil Servant said...

Sod the jaw jaw, lets get down to the war... and up defence spending at the same time. We may not win but I'll be kept quids in ordering stationery.

verity said...

Well, Achilles, you are right.

But who is to take charge? Tony Blair is weak and is applying for the lifetime sinecure of president of the EUSSR. He's not going to make waves.

Our Queen is elderly and elderly people seldom make bold decisions, no matter who they are - rich or poor. Nothing against Her Maj, although I think she should have nipped Blair in the bud 10 years ago and not allowed him to believe he could get ascendancy over the monarchy.

Blair is in the poo, about which, who gives a stuff? - but we have British service personnel captured by islamics and that is grave.

What none of you are facing up to is, who will make a decision to save our service people? Certainly not Tony, doing his song and dance act in Berlin. Certainly not Her Majesty, for reasons mentioned. And certainly not the Americans as it is not their quarrel and this incident may work in their own national interest. (Nations always act in their own interests. Let us remember this point.)

I am trying to point out how awful this is. See the points above.

Our foreign secretary is a provincial town council chairman (placed in that position, let us remember, by a cowardly prime minister). There is no way she will make a case for our service personnel.

So what will happen? This is what I am worried about. Are our military personnel going to be abandoned to Blair's political correctness and bad judgement?

I hope to God I am proved wrong!

no longer anonymous said...

I think the time has come to create a large lake between Pakistan and Iraq.

Next time the Revolutionary Guards feel like straying into Iraqi waters we should blast their pathetic little rafts (and them) into tiny pieces.

The Hitch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Hitch said...

Achilles
We have 18 year old "military men" fighting and dying for us,
And men they are, far more manly than Blair will be if he lives to be a 100, or his sons.
Who would I rather have next to me in battle, Prince Harry or tony Blair or one of his moronic looking sons?
Prince Harry!
My great grandfather served as an officer on the Somme before he was 21 my grandfather slightly older when he (according to him) singlehandedly won WW2
I think verity was making the point that situations such as these sometimes require the boldness that comes with youth, that and the character so obviously lacking in Blair and his revolting brood .

normal norman said...

Unfortunately Mr. Hitch the Iranians already have some quite sophisticated delivery systems and more than enough 'dirty' nuclear material to cause Israel more trouble than it needs.

Any nuclear strike on Iran would be perceived as being Israeli backed and mayhem would ensue.

You never know, the British troops may have actually been in Iranian waters.

Let the Diplomats earn their pay for the moment.

Let's give peace a chance.

Sabina said...

I was a teenager in 1979, and will never forget the images of American hostages being taken. We should have gone after them immediately.
A suggestion for the UK, now that you are experiencing the same horrible situation. Tell Tehran this: "You have 48 hours to return our people or Iran will become the world's biggest nuclear waste dump".

verity said...

The Hitch - You are right, and thank you! Our monarch is too old and cautious, as we all will be if we live that long, to make bold decisions.

Blair is a little traitor and is already xed out of people's minds.

Prince Charles, I feel, is a good man and he served his time in the armed services, which says a lot for him. But, despite all his good work, somehow, he has never connected with the British people. I don't know why, because I think he is worthy and cares. (It may be donning those islamic outfits that puts the Brits off.)

William is too Dianesque. In fact, I already can't stand him and I don't know anything about him.

But I just get the feeling that Harry is the man.

Of course, it's a stupid feeling, because Prince Harry has no power and, as far as we know, is still being picked up by aides, drunk, out of a gutter and stuffed into a car somewhere in Knightsbridge. But somehow, in my mind, this qualifies him. I don't know why.

My question, again, is, with a venal Blair who is looking to his own future and loadsamoney, and a monarch who is elderly and, I dare say, no longer has the mental muscle to make daring decisions, WHO IS TO SAVE OUR SAILORS?

It is a genuine question. Who (I realise, of course, that it cannot be Harry) is to take charge of this situation?

Yet, somehow, perhaps, this young man was presciently named?

I am posting tomorrow, your time, so perhaps everything will have changed before you read this.

Manfarang said...

The Americans did launch a rescue mission to free their hostages.Operation Eagleclaw(24th April 1980).It was a disastrous failure.

Sacto Mike said...

We need an Operation Poodleclaw.

Mark said...

verity - the reason the Iranians waited for Reagan before releasing the hostages was because his aides worked behind the scenes with the Iranians, negotiating a delay in the release to undermine Carters campaign. it's well known and alluded to in several respected studies of the era.

Iain - Attacking the military 'might' of Argentina, is slightly different from taking on the largest country in the Middle East and risking an all out Mayhem across the Gulf.

Observer said...

Our government is being remarkably controlled

"supine" is le mot juste.

The Iranians are more patient than the Blair regime. Why was no helicopter gunship patrolling or any jet fighters ?

The British have too many backchannels open to Iran to try to cut deals in Southern Iraq...it is just ridiculous that we don't have a proper Iraqi Army capable of invading Iran by now

Observer said...

Attacking the military 'might' of Argentina,

Lines of communication are far shorter to Iran and we don't think the Americans and Israelis are as ambivalent in the Middle East as they were over The Falklands

Mark said...

observer - fair point

But the consequences of action are far greater - it will pour petrol on the fire in the Muslim world.

a patriot not a neocon said...

I see the brave armchair generals are still frothing at the mouth on this thread and courageously threatening to dump their laptops and invade Iran.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, British diplomatic efforts to free the 15 military personnel continue, calmly and professionally.

Let's hope they succeed in getting them all out alive. Military action certainly wouldn't.

more vulgar than a vulcans vulva said...

I'm waiting for the conspiracy theorists to list the following;

(1) We "allowed" our troops to be captured
(2) We allowed them to be captured so we (Britain) had an excuse to declare war on Iran
(3) We declared war so that the US had an excuse to declare war on Iran (but looked like they came to *our* aid this time, therefore eliminating the theory of this "poodle" business..
(4) *yawn* Israel, Jews, Mullahs.. just like Suez blah.. blah... blah.

Let's face facts. Our troops are in serious trouble.

US/Britain can't do sh1t and Iran knows it. Even if (god forbid) something nasty were to happen to our troops, Blair does not have the political, economic or military capital to do anything about it. He just can't retaliate.

We're buggered and impotent.

Iran were the real problem all along - if only we'd seen it more clearly at the time.

Anonymous said...

Ah, if only we had Major and Hurd in power.
That certainly taught those Bosnian Serbs.
A jelly prime minister,with Hurd advocating the Karadzic position.

connect the dots said...

From this (safe'ish) distance it looks very like the Middle East is on track for a major war. It will involve Israel and the US. It could lead to the demise of several countries and, potentially, millions of people.

Now tell me why the xxxx we, the British, would want to be the people who start that? Let's negotiate, pay the price, and get our boys (& girls) OUT.

penlan said...

Jimmy Carter never recovered from the hostage fiasco and I wonder whether this will do for Blair.It was very shrewd of the Iranians to go for our people and not Americans.As an earlier poster has remarked,they will do nothing,we can do nothing and this could split us up.Blair has acted as his own Foreign Secretary.certainly since Robin Cook's time there ,and we are now left with timeservers like the ridiculous Mrs Beckett to front out a very serious and dangerous situation.

Lagwolf said...

Now tell me why the xxxx we, the British, would want to be the people who start that? Let's negotiate, pay the price, and get our boys (& girls) OUT.

Because that means they will just take more British people? Don't you know its not a good idea to negotiate with terrorists? Or the fact that Islamists have no respect for the weak.

connect the dots said...

Today's Times described an everyday scene in Iraq - two cars pulled up, the men took a belt driven machine gun from the boot (known as a 'harvester' in those parts) and mowed down a large group of young boys who were playing football. The local population went home, collected their guns and Sunnis and Shia shot at each other for the next two hours. When they had run out of ammunition, they collected the dead and dying children. They did this in an area that is heavily policed by US forces.

Now tell me that we should not negotiate and get our people OUT.

Matt Wardman said...

An interesting tit-bit Iain:

Hidden at the end of an Al-Jazeera story is the statement:

"A 1975 treaty gave the waters to Iraq and US and British ships commonly operate there, but Aandahl said Iran disputes Iraq's jurisdiction over the waters."

See my longer post.

Younghusband said...

t does seem shameful for 15 British marines and sailors to be taken without even token resistance, especially after the second-in-command on the USS Underwood said "The unique US Navy rules of engagement say we not only have a right to self-defence but also an obligation to self-defence. They had every right in my mind and every justification to defend themselves rather than allow themselves to be taken. Our reaction was, 'Why didn't your guys defend themselves?".
However, the article in today's Independent described them as "vastly outnumbered and out-gunned"
so until the Government decides to inform its people, we just have to guess.
What troubles me is how the Independent reported the crisis- just under a roaring headline about the raging debate over thelegalisation of cannabis. Not even reorting this decade's news, no wonder it's so lowly among broadsheets...

Yaffle said...

Blair's statement on TV was interesting. He clearly had difficulty in deciding what role he was supposed to be playing at the time. As a result the impression he gave was that of a mouse. It is quite extraordinary that nothing was done to prevent the kidnapping or at least to retaliate. Or it would be if we had a decent, honest government which understood the first obligation of any governance i.e the defence of the realm. What has happened is shameful - another act of appeasement. All the respect earned by taking on the Argentine for its illegal action 25 years ago carelessly thrown away by some dissembling, uncomprehending politicians.

Neil Craig said...

They should be returned because it was clearly notan attack on Iran.

However I am not convinced about the one sided certainty with which we are told that it was undeniably our, or rather Iraq's, water & that the Iranians are showing lack of respect for international law.

Our government & media have, demonstrably, no respect for international law & have lied to us, to justify military action & indeed helped the KLA in cross border attacks even before that war. The Iranians seem to feel that some bombs set off in their territory were done by terrorists working from British controlled territory.

mike said...

Sabina said...

Tell Tehran this: "You have 48 hours to return our people or Iran will become the world's biggest nuclear waste dump".

3:41 AM

Moron.

mike said...

Yaffle said...What has happened is shameful - another act of appeasement. All the respect earned by taking on the Argentine for its illegal action 25 years ago carelessly thrown away by some dissembling, uncomprehending politicians.

You lead the lads over the top and I will post all about the hero you wanted to be,we will all be so proud of you.

mike said...

Younghusband said...What troubles me is how the Independent reported the crisis- just under a roaring headline about the raging debate over thelegalisation of cannabis

Most of the Tory blogs were only concerned in ridiculing Gordon,and many posters on this blog treated the incident as a bit of fun,so don't preach silly fellow.

Anonymous said...

There are some people on this planet who would be delighted to see British forces shooting at Iranians and vice versa, they know where this might lead and it suits them that it happens. We were shnooks when we got into this mess and we'll have to be a whole lot smarter to get out of it.

dn said...

British troops are there under UN auspices - if they were indeed not trespassing (as claimed) then this is an attack on the UN by Iran. I think our response so far has been appropriate (harsh words in public, serious, high-level diplomacy in private), but I hope that our 'friends' on the UN security council and in the anti-war movement will recognise this for the markedly different situation it is.

verity said...

Nothing today on Al-B'eeb except a note to say the troops are "well". However, Fox News is conscious of the importance of the story and has this report:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,261144,00.html

David Lindsay said...

The Hitch, they are not "held hostage". They were picked up in Iranian waters, where they shouldn't have been, unless anyone can think of any other reasonable explanation as to how the Iranians ever got them, or for that matter why they would ever even have wanted to.

Not that this is their fault personally. It is practically certain (again, unless anyone can think of any other remotely credible explanation) that these teenagers, in some cases, were sent there by Blair in order to provoke a war with Iran, for the reasons that I set out, both in terms of why such a war is wanted, and in terms of why something like this has now been deemed necessary in order to bring about such a war.

They'd be sent back tomorrow if we got rid of Blair and installed someone with an independent, pro-British foreign policy, which by definition would not include any threat to Iran, itself certainly no threat to us. And wouldn't you want that, too?

Alas, no such person is available, least of all in either of the forms of Gordon Brown and David Cameron, the latter surrounded by headbanging neocons like Michael Gove, so that Britain, alone in Europe if not the world, has a main right-wing party dedicated, not to the country in question's national interest, but to someone else's. Does that sound like a conservative position to you?

New Labour is, of course, cut from the same cloth. That's why we're in Iraq. And that's why we, and not the Americans, have sent in our servicemen and woman to provoke Iran into a war for American companies to steal its oil, just like in Iraq.

Voyager said...

they are not "held hostage". They were picked up in Iranian waters,

They are clearly being held hostage. There is no other reason to hold them.

They were interdicting shipping in accordance with UN Mandate and have a much more accurate GPS fix than we can get on our kit. The ship they boarded was not impounded...clearly the Revolutionary Guard came out in their fast patrol boats and encircled the British who probably had instructions not to fire unless fired upon.......


Frankly I prefer Palmerston to Mags Beckett

David Farrer said...

"You know, I'm a pretty straight kind of guy.

I had been looking forward to my retirement, but now (sobs) my country needs me to undertake one more task.

Some of our military personnel - so generously funded by my government - have been kidnapped by agents of the Iranian regime.

Like my great mentor Lady Thatcher, I must do my duty to the people of Britain.

It would be quite wrong of me to abandon my post at this time. And so, by popular acclaim, I shall remain as Prime Minister until the job is done.

I also take this opportunity to announce a minor reshuffle of my government.

My wife, the newly ennobled Lady Blair of Liverpool, will serve as Chancellor of the Exchequer. She has widespread knowledge of financial matters.

Mr Gordon Brown has decided to leave my government and I wish him well in his new position as ambassador in Pyongyang."

verity said...

They chose a British ship because Blair has a record of appeasing jihadis. He is the Neville Chamberlain and Jimmy Carter des nos jours.

You have to understand that this current round of global jihad kicked off in 1979 and has involved many violent incidents against non-islamic societies since then. The jihad is not just in the West - although incidents in the West get the most attention - but they are also hard at work in southern Thailand and the Philippines.

The jihadis and preachers of aggression in Britain are under the impression that they are operating with the tacit acceptance of the British government, which is why we are the world's capital for islamic violence and plotting.

These British sailors will not be allowed to leave. They've got a powerful tool now, a real showcase, and they know that Blair is too cowardly to act.

Anonymous said...

Blair could, and in my opinion should, offer to withdraw all UK forces from Iraq in return for the release of our naval personnel.

CatoRenasci said...

At a time like this you Brits could use a little stiffening - some Kipling:

The Grave of the Hundred Head

There's a widow in sleepy Chester
Who weeps for her only son;
There's a grave on the Pabeng River,
A grave that the Burmans shun;
And there's Subadar Prag Tewarri
Who tells how the work was done.

A Snider squibbed in the jungle,
Somebody laughed and fled,
And the men of the First Shikaris
Picked up their Subaltern dead,
With a big blue mark in his forehead
And the back blown out of his head.

Subadar Prag Tewarri,
Jemadar Hira Lal,
Took command of the party,
Twenty rifles in all,
Marched them down to the river
As the day was beginning to fall.

They buried the boy by the river,
A blanket over his face --
They wept for their dead Lieutenant,
The men of an alien race --
They made a samadh in his honor,
A mark for his resting-place.

For they swore by the Holy Water,
They swore by the salt they ate,
That the soul of Lieutenant Eshmitt Sahib
Should go to his God in state,
With fifty file of Burmans
To open him Heaven's gate.

The men of the First Shikaris
Marched till the break of day,
Till they came to the rebel village,
The village of Pabengmay --
A jingal covered the clearing,
Calthrops hampered the way.

Subadar Prag Tewarri,
Bidding them load with ball,
Halted a dozen rifles
Under the village wall;
Sent out a flanking-party
With Jemadar Hira Lal.

The men of the First Shikaris
Shouted and smote and slew,
Turning the grinning jingal
On to the howling crew.
The Jemadar's flanking-party
Butchered the folk who flew.

Long was the morn of slaughter,
Long was the list of slain,
Five score heads were taken,
Five score heads and twain;
And the men of the First Shickaris
Went back to their grave again,

Each man bearing a basket
Red as his palms that day,
Red as the blazing village --
The village of Pabengmay,
And the "drip-drip-drip" from the baskets
Reddened the grass by the way.

They made a pile of their trophies
High as a tall man's chin,
Head upon head distorted,
Set in a sightless grin,
Anger and pain and terror
Stamped on the smoke-scorched skin.

Subadar Prag Tewarri
Put the head of the Boh
On the top of the mound of triumph,
The head of his son below --
With the sword and the peacock-banner
That the world might behold and know.

Thus the samadh was perfect,
Thus was the lesson plain
Of the wrath of the First Shikaris --
The price of a white man slain;
And the men of the First Shikaris
Went back into camp again.

Then a silence came to the river,
A hush fell over the shore,
And Bohs that were brave departed,
And Sniders squibbed no more;
For the Burmans said
That a white man's head
Must be paid for with heads five-score.

There's a widow in sleepy Chester
Who weeps for her only son;
There's a grave on the Pabeng River,
A grave that the Burmans shun;
And there's Subadar Prag Tewarri
Who tells how the work was done.


A hundred for one, or a thousand for one. Get the 'nads back you left at Amritsar and get on with it.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Here's what the Russians would have done. Seize 30 prominent Iranians and let it be known, quietly, through diplomatic channels, that they had 24 hours to live.

That's why kidnapped Britons were chained to radiators in the Middle East for five years and kidnapped Russians were released within hours.

Rush-is-Right said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rush-is-Right said...

This is interesting;

Iranian sources said the IRGC abducted British sailors in Shatt Al Arab on March 23 to retaliate for the defection of senior Iranian officials and officers.

http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/07/
front2454186.013888889.html

Elliott said...

Sadly, there is no hardline rhetoric from Britain. We have ony Blair's "hope" that the situation will "be resolved" in the "next few days".

Our abducted servicemen probably have similar hopes.

Even that weak statement, according to the Telegraph's coverage, was undermined by Downing Street's assertion that military action was not being considered.

In the meantime, an Iranian source has told the BBC that the hostages are to be kept for "a minimum of days" while they are interrogated by Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all.

I worry that, in the words of Yes, Prime Minister, our government is determined to offer "every support - short of help".

(Details / links here.)

View from across the pond said...

Speaking only for myself and a few people over here in the US, we have every confidence that should you (being the British, incl the gov't) decide that you've had it with this sort of non-sense you won't have any need of US Navy Seals. Your special ops guys are good, and it's an insult to them to think that they'd be replaced by someone else on their own rescue/ revenge party.

verity said...

View from across The Pond - Thank you for your thoughts, which are well meant, but what you don't grasp is that the British government has no will to save our fellow citizens.

Tony Blair prances around on the world stage. He doesn't want difficult issues clouding his imagined standing ovation from the British people ... This individual is mad and delusional and sees our fellow British as a chip in his dreams of a glorious write-up in the history books.

As Elliott says: " We have ony Blair's "hope" that the situation will "be resolved" in the "next few days"."

The man has no resolve, no cojones, no loyalty to his country. The level of his regard for Britain is illuminated by his choice of our Foreign Secretary. The Americans have the wondrously achieving, articulate, politically astue Condoleezza Rice. Britain has long-term apparachik Margaret Beckett, who doesn't even speak a foreign language, has no education in politics or international diplomacy, has, as her "personal assistant" her 80-year old husband who sits in her office on a large salary and gets free air tickets to wherever the latest destination is for Margaret to show her ineptitude.

Britain tolerates this absurd, minor level town councillor in the great office of state of Foreign Secretary because it has lost the will to live.

Trumpeter Lanfried - I am afraid you are thinking too much in the Western mode. I don't know what episode you're referring to, but I don't think seizing 30 or 50 or 500 Iranians would make a rat's breath of difference to this Iranian government in its next move regarding our British hostages.

Power is the name of the game, and Tony Blair has, as ever, surrendered it to them.

Oh! I just had a mad moment of thought of HM standing on the balcony of Buck House, crown ablaze in the spotlights, acknowledging the crowds in their joy at Britain's nuclear power having been deployed to rescue our service personnel.

Oh, well, it was a mad moment, but a happy moment.

verity said...

Just an additional thought - on reflection, I have a feeling this is another inept Tony American wannabee scenario.

The only woman on board the vessel is a 26-year-old mother of two children?

I mean, really? A young mother of two young children - laden with female hormones of motherhood at this point - would suddenly develop a macho drive to desert them and be on a warship?

No.

Something not. Quite. Right here.

David Lindsay said...

At last, Verity has managed to say something sensible in this whole business, though only at the very end of her most recent post. They were only sent there in the first place in order to provoke a war with Iran, so as to destroy a large and multi-ethnic emerging democracy outside the global hegemony (as in Yugloslavia), and in order to steal its oil (as in Iraq).

We will gloss over Verity's patronisingly racist delusions about Condoleeza Rice, in fact a third-generation university graduate, whose "wondrous achievements" need to be seen in that light.

As for being "articulate" or "politically astue", Rice was by common consent the worst National Security Adviser in the history of that office, and she has proved no better as Secretray of State.

But of greater import is Verity's call for a nuclear strike, which would command absolutely no public support whatever, but which in any case will never happen.

The first Bush Administration was the only American Administration that might ever have launced such a strike (no atom bomb was ever dropped even on Korea, no nuclear bomb even on Vietnam), and it never did; even Bush wouldn't do it now.

The Russians or the Chinese might, if you annoyed them enough. Likewise the French, though with a much higher provocation threshold. The Israelis haven't yet, which does make you wonder. India and Pakistan might against each other, but probably wouldn't.

But Britain? No chance! As much as anything else, we actually can't without American permission, anyway.

Manfarang said...

catorenasci
A donation to the Karen National Union please!

Anonymous said...

David Lindsay -

Apparently, a 'third generation university' graduate apparently means she's wealthy/mainstream and her accomplishments are nil. Apparently, you've never been black in Birmingham. Bull Connor wouldn't have wiped his ass with her grandpa's uni degree.

'By common consent' means you and you internet buddies. The rest of the world has been quite impressed.

]You may not like her politics, but no honest person can dismiss her achievements.]

... and then you drifted off into the usual drivel...