Saturday, March 31, 2007

Unlucky 15

I feel the pressure, and am unable to resist posting on the Iranian hostage situation. Terry Jones has an excellent piece in the Guardian today (here) where he rages about "compelling poor servicewoman Faye Turney to wear a black headscarf, and then allowing the picture to be posted around the world - have the Iranians no concept of civilised behaviour? For God's sake, what's wrong with putting a bag over her head?"

The hypocrisy over the whole incident is plain to see and International Rooksbyism and Lenin's Tomb both make interesting points about the way the episode is being treated in the British press.

Ed Rooksby says "I've found the reporting of the 'hostage crisis' over the past few days intensely irritating. For one thing - and let's get this straight - for the moment, they're not 'hostages', they're prisoners. To say that is not to lend any justification to Iranian actions (we don't know who's right about the measurement of territorial boundaries), but it is to use a rather more impartial term. But the word 'hostage' fits the narrative better - since, as we all know, the Iranians just can't help taking hostages. History shows. They're always taking hostages. It's what they do. They don't need a reason. They take hostages because they're uncivilised and volatile and they hate, hate, hate. All this is implied - it's there under the surface - in media reports. The British military's story is taken at face value, while the Iranian version of events - that British military personnel were arrested for making an incursion into Iranian waters - is treated with high scepticism."

Lenin adds that "A hostage is a person given or held as security for the fulfillment of certain conditions or terms, promises, etc., by another. No demands, conditions or terms have yet been raised by Iran, to my knowledge. Yet, of course, the use of the term indicates the widespread acceptance of the British government's narrative: if the arrested are "hostages", then clearly there is no sense in which the arrest can have been legitimately made in Iranian waters. (Or perhaps, more insidiously, the story of Iranian Guilt is such that even if they were in Iranian territory, they have no rights to control over that territory. Their sovereignty is always de facto in question, something that might be compromised at any time by an invasion or air strikes, or the use of terror squads)."

The Void wonders if the reason the Brits had slipped across the border was to avoid a smoking ban. As we can see our chaps are now happily puffing away. God bless 'em.

My Random Thoughts wonders whether the leadership in Iran knew anything about the taking of the UK Naval personnel at all until well after it happened. Dunno, maybe.

Craig Murray on the other hand focuses on how a misunderstanding over who's territorial waters you might be in could arise. He also sensibly muses that "No solution is possible if either side continues to insist that the other is completely in the wrong and they are completely in the right. And the first step towards finding a peaceful way out, is to acknowledge the self-evident truth that maritime boundaries are disputed and problematic in this area. "

Ex-Labour MP Jane thinks that it's a shame that the press who are harping on about the legality of the operations the Navy were on did not have such concerns over a prior illegal operation in Iraq. Good point.

Jon on the other hand seems to feel that Iran has been put in a position where it has nothing to lose - so why not escalate? Why not take UK soldiers captive? It's hardly a secret that the US and all the allies it can rope in may be coming over the border in rather stronger force than a boat with 15 people in it quite soon. Haven't we put them in a position where they have little to lose?

Anyway, whatever the blogosphere thinks my thoughts are this; This is the perfect opportunity for Bush and co to argue for invasion and they are steadfastly ignoring it. The US support for the Brits has been luke warm at best and the EU and the Security council don't give a toss. This incident is making it clearer every day that an invasion of Iran is not immanent. The Western Allies aren't ready and are unlikely to rise to the provocations of the Iranian government - even though it smarts.

Having said that - please give them back Mr. A. you're worrying my Mum.


John Angliss said...

I prefer the term "human shields" - what better way to stop a war against you than having some military prisoners to up the casualty rate from the start?

Suzanne said...

You can't help but note how terrible these "hostages" are being handled. I mean, just look at how the US handles its hostages. Oh, that's right, we're suppose to forget all of that. And focus on how terrible the Iranians are.

There is a great article depicting just how the propaganda is flying here:

It's worth a look at.

badmat said...

The Hegelian language detector van has spotted your use of the word 'immanent'. Do you really mean immanent, or were you intending to say 'imminent', in which there will be a fine to pay.

prosopagnosia said...

a nice review of what the blogosphere sez, thank you!

yet there is also this:

\\\it is rather suspicious that it occurred one day before the UN Security Council was due to vote on further sanctions on Iran, and what are the odds that Seaman Specialist, Faye Turney would have given a personal and heartfelt interview only hours before her arrest?\\\

from The Signs Of The Times

I don't know, the summer still doens't look good for extensive travel to me :(