Thursday, March 29, 2007

Iran Pushing Its Luck

It’s been a week since 15 British military personnel were seized in waters near Iraq and Iran. The Iranians claim the British boat was in its waters; the Brits claim their people were in Iraqi waters.

It has been pretty much a diplomatic standoff so far, but Iran is threatening to put the Brits on trial. There is also some possibility that the one woman among the British sailors and marines will be released. The Iranians originally said they would release the woman, but have more recently reneged. The Iranians have released one statement by the woman in which she admits the British boat was indeed in Iranian waters, and another statement is forthcoming, according to news sources. News sources also say that satellite imagery clearly shows the British boat outside the limits of Iranian waters.

A few questions naturally arise: Were the Brits in Iranian waters? If so, was it on purpose or by accident? It has been reported that the boundaries are tricky to navigate, due to the coastline near the boundaries. Another questions is: How much intimidation was used on the British woman to get her to admit the Brits were wrong?

But really, none of that matters, as the Iranians have tipped their hand and exposed their real reason for creating this hoopla: They have demanded the Brits pull out of Iraq. So the next and final question is, is this an international sovereignty issue, or a naked political maneuver?

One wonders just how long Tony Blair will wait to take decisive action to get his people back? As pointless as it is to work through diplomatic channels with Iran, I concede that some diplomatic efforts must be given a chance. But the Iranians have a reputation for doing as they please, pretty much with impunity, as most nations are afraid to get tough with the Iran. My solution? Give Iran one very stern warning with a definite and short timetable for a response, demanding the immediate release of the captured military personnel and their equipment and belongings, and when the deadline expires the British military will take out a small Iranian military installation, or take out a small portion of a bigger one, and let Iran know that if those sailors and marines aren’t released immediately, another attack will quickly follow.

Someone needs to confront Iran and let the Ayatollahs and the Ahmadinejad regime know that they aren’t nearly as tough and fearsome as they have come to believe they are, and there is no better time than the present, when Iran has provoked Great Britain.

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