So let’s re-cap the last couple days of the Iran-Britain hostage crisis:
Iran wanted an apology: they got it.
Iran wanted the UK’s promise the “trespassing” wouldn’t happen again: they got it.
Ahmadinejad the spin master: Ahmadinejad came out looking like roses to most of the world in this situation. He and the Mullahs used the soldiers (who complied altogether too easily) to make Iran look positively angelic. We saw videos of apologetic hostages eating and lounging about, wearing different outfits every day (pretty matching track suits!). On the last day of their captivity, the soldiers were in new suits, waving, smiling and shaking “Mahdi’s” hand while on their way out of town.
As Neo-Neocon put so well:
In propaganda terms, the Iranians may have gotten everything they wanted—the humiliation of Britain, the British Navy, and the sailors—and have no reason to continue to hold them further if there’s any chance the ante will be upped.
In strategic terms, they may have learned what they wanted to find out: that they could get away with this and more, without real consequences.
I have a deep respect for the mullahs’ knowledge of how propaganda works, and to my way of thinking they won this particular PR skirmish, big time. I hope they lose the war.
Mahdi told us all the “pardoning” was his Good Friday gift, saying it was for the occasion of the passing of Christ (how unbelievably tolerant of him), and finished out his PR coup by criticizing the West for having a woman deployed and in harm’s way (oh beacon of women’s rights, he is).
One of Iran’s own newspapers, run by the Supreme Leader Khamenei, said:
[...] the abduction of the British servicemen was an occurrence that was rare and unprecedented in the Middle East, and that it indicated Iran’s capabilities and proved that Iran would permit no one to harm its sovereignty.
[...] even though the abduction was unconnected to Iran’s nuclear dossier, it showed that Iran’s sovereignty could not be undermined by the use of either warships or sanctions.
Get that? Iran set out to tell the world that they can’t be stopped…and no one stopped them.
On top of the PR battle that was won by Iran here, we find out that the U.S. possibly did some negotiating with these terrorists to get the hostages released. From The Corner:
As some of us predicted, the quid pro quo included concessions by the United States—we know that Iranian officials will now be allowed to visit the five Iranian “diplomats” detained by the United States in Iraq for supporting the insurgency.
Could any other country have attempted this and gotten away with it? Syria? Saudi Arabia? Egypt? Surely not. Britain, meanwhile, reinforced Iran’s view of the West as a decadent society that does not respond effectively to provocations and need not be feared. Perceptions matter: Recall the conclusions Osama bin Laden drew after the American retreat from Somalia. What we can expect now is greater aggression, from both Iran in particular and Islamists in general.
Unless Britain and her allies act quickly and cleverly to show that they are, appearances notwithstanding, powers to be reckoned with, a great many lives will be at risk for a long time to come.
But alas, this is not what is happening. Today in the news we saw a press conference with the recently freed British soldiers, telling us that “fighting back was not an option”. As Dean Barnett says:
They don’t regret a thing. They couldn’t have won.
“Fighting back was not an option” – Will those words someday be the epitaph of the Western World?
Where is the honor? Since when is it a soldier’s main concern to stay alive, as it seems was the main goal here? The commander of the group said that no matter what we’ve heard, or what they said while in captivity, they were without a doubt in Iraqi waters. Is “surrender, and hope they don’t kill you” the first code of conduct for UK soldiers? From Derb at NRO:
“Some of the Iranian sailors were becoming deliberately aggressive and unstable.”
Imagine—military personnel being aggressive! None of that in H.M. armed forces!
“The questions were aggressive and the handling rough, but it was no worse than that.”
I guess that is what they were so effusively thanking Ahmadinejad for.
“We all, at one time or another, made a conscious decision to make a controlled release of non-operational information.”
Some of us further decided to make appearances on Iranian TV, insulting our country and praising the Tehran dictatorship.
“The pressures that we were subjected to were quite diverse in the way it [sic] was carried out. It was mainly psychological and emotional.”
They yelled at us and lied to us. Can you blame us for groveling to them?
“On arrival at London Heathrow, we were given the news that four UK servicemen and a civilian interpreter had been killed in Iraq. We would like to pass on our thoughts and condolences to the families of those who died serving their country.”
Oh, I am sure those families appreciate your concern—given that their loved ones were killed by an IED very likely assembled in Iran and shipped across the border by Iranian soldiers, while you were yukking it up with Li’l Sqinty and his pals.
[...] I am no longer a British citizen, having taken up UScitizenship 5 years ago. Even so, I am burning with shame at this disgrace to British honor. And from the Royal Navy—the Senior Service—of all places!
Now comes word via Hot Air that the British have suspended cargo inspections off the coast of Iraq. Is this possibly part of the deal made with Iran for the soldiers? Part of that “we promise not to bother you any more” thing we’ve been hearing about. On top of that, we are already seeing increased attacks in Basra, the British controlled area of Iraq:
In the deep south of the country, the Basra police commander said the type of roadside bomb used in an attack that killed four British soldiers on Thursday had not been seen in the region previously. Maj. Gen. Mohammed al-Moussawi’s description of the deadly weapon indicated it was a feared Iranian-designed explosively formed penetrator.
Two more of the bombs were discovered planted along routes heavily traveled by U.S. and British diplomats in Basra. Weeks earlier, the American military had claimed Iran was supplying Shiite militia fighters in Iraq with the powerful weapons, known as EFPs. They hurl a molten, fist-sized copper slug capable of piercing armored vehicles.
Allah says: The appearance of EFPs in British-controlled territory coincides perfectly with a British standoff with Iran. Fancy that.
And, the propaganda continues (like we thought it would stop) today, with Iran suggesting that everything the British soldiers are saying now is actually coerced:
Iran’s state television said the British military “dictated” to its sailors what to say in a press conference Friday, in which they said they were pressured while in custody to admit to being in Iranian waters.
In its news report on the sailors, Iranian state TV said they held a “pre-organized” press conference in which “the British sailors only read from pages dictated to them.” “They made statements completely different from what they had said in Iran and claimed that they were in Iraqi waters when detained,” the TV newsreader said.
*Update: Evidence of possible quid pro quo for release of British soldiers:
Yesterday, a spokesman for the National Security Council, Gordon Johndroe, told reporters that America is negotiating a process with the Iraqi government that could lead to the release of the five Iranians, captured in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil by American forces on the morning of January 11, hours after President Bush announced a new Iraq strategy to combat the Iranian and Syrian networks in Iraq…
More at Hot Air…
- 15 British Sailors Captured By Iran
- Iran Lies About Coordinates, And Then Lies Again After Being Caught Lying.
- Appalling: British Female Hostage Shown In Veil On Iranian TV
- Britian Chooses Diplomacy Despite Act Of War By Iran, Marines Interrogated
- Khamenei Underestimated Location Of USS Nimitz Group