When I first heard about the ambush and capture of the 15 Royal Navy crewmembers by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the Ras al-Beesha area of the contested Shatt al-Arab/ Arvandrud, I wasn’t too surprised. Iran did this before on June 21, 2004. Those guys were released in a matter of days, after being paraded around on television, and threatened with prosecution. Then, there’s the whole timing of the incident…The day before the United Nations Security Council was going to vote on increasing sanctions against Iran for noncompliance with UNSC Resolution 1737. It’s curious, certainly, but not entirely suspicious. However, the IRGC has had a burr in their bridle for some time over the arrests of five Iranian (alleged) Consulate members in Iraq and the capture of members of the IRGC’s elite al-Quds Force in Iran.
The Sunday Times last week quoted Reza Falker, a writer for the Revolutionary Guards’ weekly newspaper, as saying: “We’ve got the ability to capture a nice bunch of blue-eyed blond-haired officers and feed them to our fighting cocks.”
There has also been speculation that, since the IRGC take orders from the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, it was he that he gave the order to have the unfortunate crews taken into custody. Add to this mix that the Commander of the IRGC, Yahya Rahim Safavi has been financially hit by the restrictions put in place by UNSC Resolutions, the most recent one, Resolution 1746 , just passed on Saturday, and will probably further hurt his pocket. Well, then, that, my Freaky Darlings, does starts to sound suspicious. It starts to sound downright premeditated.
Now, there’s bound to be a ton of diplomatic wrangling, in the next few days. The Iranians say the sailors were in territorial waters, the UK says they were operating in Iraqi waters. It’s being spun by the Iranians as being a deliberate act of aggression; the UK is calling it a misunderstanding. Rumors of espionage, confessions, indictments, trials, and the death penalty have been swirling around all night on the various news sources, but most of the correspondents reporting from Iran are saying that trials and consequences have not been discussed by the people in power, and that they are, for now at least, only rumors.
UN Nixes Nukes, Iran Continues Contumacious Course
The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously on Saturday to impose stronger sanctions against Iran. This time the 15-0 vote passed Resolution 1746 (see above). In the past, Russia and China have seemed unwilling to pressure Iran into abandoning the path to a nuclear future. I always felt their reluctance had to do with a 2004 Chinese “Mega-Gas Deal” and a 2005 Russian Nuke deal, with Iran. However, last month Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing openly urged Iran to resume negotiations and better their relations with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), and then, just last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov encouraged Iran to halt Uranium enrichment.
I think it makes a statement of international unity. It tells me that I’m not the only one paranoid enough to believe that Iran just might really be out to get us, or worse, us and others. And, don’t let them fool you. Russia and China don’t want to diffuse the situation. It would be more profitable if that War everyone keeps talking about kicks into High-Gear. Who do you think is equipping Iran and contributing to their military growth?
In any case Iran has pledged to continue their nuclear ambitions. Tehran has openly rebuffed the UN and has given every indication of ignoring pleas from the global community. The capture of those 15 Brits suddenly looks like a brilliant Iranian diversion; instead of having to face a depressing UN resolution, the Iranian people are being told that the British have encroached on their territory, were perhaps spying, were captured by their gallant guard, and were made to confess. I doubt they’ll try and trade them for some of their captured IRGC officers. That would be a mistake, would paint them in the same dark light as those hostage taking terrorists we see in Iraq. (And they’re not meddling, in Iraq, are they?) I think it’s more likely that they will make the world sweat it out for a few days, like last time. They will push the Brits, give them the run-around, and then release the 15 captives in a grand and magnanimous show of diplomacy, saying that they meant to release them all along.
Prince Harry Whoops It Up-Tipples, Topples
Prince Harry, who is shipping out to fight in Iraq at the end of May with his regiment, the Blues and Royal, had a wild night at his favorite London nightspot, Boujis. He downed drinks with the honeys, enjoying what appears to be the savage end of a 48 hour bender. The issue comes in as he was leaving, he allegedly attacked a photographer, and, once he was under control, he had an embarrassing photograph taken of him as he stumbled “spectacularly into the gutter” as one story put it.
I really don’t see what the issue is all about, here. I mean imagine, he’s a member of the Royal Family, is shipping out to do his duty in Iraq, has just graduated and is on his way over. A couple of days ago he turns on the television and sees that 15 of his people were snatched away, without a shot fired. I mean I’d be thinking “Great Googa-Mooga, that could be ME!”
Can anyone really blame him for going on this kind of binge? He’s a 22 year old, green, soon to see combat, officer, celebrating for what may very well be for the last time. Hell, I’m surprised all he did was chase around a paparazzo. With the way those vultures treated his mother, and the training he’s received, he could very well have killed the man. So what does it matter if he got drunk and fell down (Pushed, he was pushed!) it’s fine with me. At least I’ll know, the next time that gravity conspires to use my inebriation to bring me low, that I am, at least in that respect, in very good company.
A more recent story from Reuters seems to contradict an earlier report from other news agencies.
“An Iraqi fisherman who said he saw Iranian forces detain them, said on SaturdaySo, now the eye-witnesses have changed their tune. The plot thickens. No one seems particularly distraught over these missing crewmembers. Perhaps I’ve grown jaded after so many prime time news shows, or remember the first batch of hostages taken when our forces first got to Iraq. Or maybe the Brits are just way more respectful and reserved about these things. I mean, if they’d been American sailors/marines I’d expect to get interviews with the families and loved ones of the missing on the evening news, and on CNN. Televised Images of courageous parents, stoically saying how their child will do their duty, perhaps one anti-war wife who’d launch into an impassioned tirade in front of a bouquet of cameras, the single mother who breaks into tears, and implores Jesus, the Almighty and brings audiences to tears when she answers “Say your prayers, baby, don’t lose faith,” when the concerned female anchor asks “if you could give them a message, what would it be”.
the ship British forces were searching was anchored in Iraqi waters.”
One story suggested that:
“Iran would probably not have seized American soldiers, even on the pretext that
they had strayed into its territorial waters.”
I’ve got to agree with that. Sure, insurgents have kidnapped some fat, straggling contractor or the odd grunt in Iraq, but I think Iran was safer in choosing a UK target. Certainly not because they were an easier target, from what I understand they are fierce fighters and noble allies. No, it’s because here, in America-Land, we’d have intercepted that football and ran, ran, ran to the end zone. Give us a crisis like that and we’ll give you one hell of a celebrity charity spectacle. Media circus? More like a Media Fiesta! Press conferences on every channel, every hour on the hour, the stations can dig up old military guys as paid analysts and talk for hours about things that may or may not happen, the sound bytes and the film clips…Now, That’s entertainment!