I’m sure most of you have been following the British hostage crisis, but just in case, here’s a round up of what’s been happening in Iran, the UK and elsewhere, the past few days:
- Iran says all soldiers have “confessed” to entering Iranian waters, and have released video of the
New footage was then shown of six more sailors, meaning the majority of the captured personnel have now been paraded and seen “confessing” on Iranian television. Their voices could not be heard.
The broadcast, the morning after two more televised “confessions” from British personnel, a Royal Navy Lieutenant and a Royal Marines Captain, drew an angry reaction from Downing Street, which said the repeated airings would not alter Britain’s position in the crisis and that the next move must come from Tehran.
- A left-wing British newspaper has surprised us all, except not at all, by blaming the U.S. for the whole thing (visit the link for an awesome deconstruction of the article).
- Ahmadinejad pontificated:
“instead of apologizing and acting to resolve the issue by diplomatic means, Britain is piling up difficulties by means of false and noisy propaganda.” and “the occupying British forces invaded Iran’s [territorial] waters and our soldiers bravely arrested them… But the arrogant ones [i.e. Britain] are, because of their spirit of arrogance and selfishness, making demands on the Iranian people, instead of apologizing.”
- Iranian Foreign Policy chairman threatened:
“If London does indeed intend to solve the problem of its soldiers, it must dispatch a special commission to Tehran in order to find a logical solution by means of consultation and talks with the Iranian representatives… [But] if the English persist [in continuing] their illegal operations against Iran, there are many ways to respond to them…”
- Iran backs down slightly, everyone wonders why, then everyone is shown why: Iran wants U.S. to release Iranian “diplomats”, and conveniently one has already been released:
An Iranian diplomat seized two months ago in Iraq by uniformed gunmen has been freed[...]
Sharafi was seized on Feb. 4 by uniformed gunmen in Karradah, a Shiite-controlled district of Baghdad. Iran contended he had been seized by an Iraqi military unit commanded by U.S. military forces — a charge repeated by several Iraqi Shiite lawmakers.
But U.S. authorities denied any role in his disappearance.
Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency confirmed Sharafi’s release but gave no indication of the circumstances surrounding his disappearance or his release. Sharafi was a second secretary at the embassy involved in plans to open a branch of the Iranian national bank in Karradah. U.S. officials allege that Iran provides money and weapons to Iraqi Shiite militias.
Sharafi was abducted a month after American authorities arrested five Iranians in northern Iraq. One of those captives was described by the U.S. as a senior officer of the Quds Force, an elite unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
Two days after that raid, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said President Bush had approved the strategy of raiding Iranian targets in Iraq as part of efforts to confront Tehran’s government.
On Tuesday, an Iraqi Foreign Ministry official said Baghdad also was “intensively” seeking the release of the five Iranians in order to help win freedom for the 15 Britons.
- Tony Blair takes a…um…stand:
Britain had two options, Blair said.
“One is to try settle this by way of peaceful and calm negotiation to get our people back as quickly as possible,” he said. “The other is to make it clear that if that is not possible, that we have to take an increasingly tougher position.”
- President Bush was criticized for being “careless” by calling the hostages “hostages”, is told to refer to them as “as victims of a misunderstanding that could be resolved”, meanwhile Neo-Neocon points out why its so dangerous to underestimate Iran:
[...] in a situation such as this it is laughable to think that it would make any positive difference to the fate of the hostages if we call them “unfortunate victims.”
[...] [t]his attitude has become more and more prevalent. And it is very dangerous when dealing with tyrants such as the ones who run Iran, who don’t respect it and consider it a softness to be exploited, symptomatic of the decline of the backbone of the West. Among other things, this hostage crisis is a form of theater staged to demonstrate Iran’s strength and Britain’s weaknesses to a Muslim culture that operates from an honor/shame perspective.
[...]Iran and Britain are engaged in a power struggle, not a family squabble, and they are each operating from extremely different premises about human nature. “Come, let us reason together,” is not the mullahs’ motto, I’m afraid, although much of the Western world wishes it were so.
- Tammy Bruce points out why Iran is pulling all this crap in the first place:
If anyone wonders why Iran throws these saber-rattling tantrums at regular intervals, keep in mind that it’s a moneymaking process. Anything that threatens to disrupt the global oil supply — such as a conflict involving Iran — causes an immediate jump in the price of crude oil. Last summer the price reached a peak of $80 a barrel. This fell over time to a January low of slightly above $50. Now it’s spiked back up to $65. This is money in the bank, and a lot of it, for Mr. Ahmadinejad and his merry band of cutthroats. Don’t think they don’t know it.
[...] So why did Iran grab those British marines? Because, in the view of the Iranian government, a crisis creates more pluses than minuses. The oil revenues will swell, and punitive measures will be minimal.
- Iran is having a gas shortage. Seems impossible, seeing as they have tons and tons of crude oil, but the thing is they can’t refine gasoline. This all makes Gingrich’s ideas for resolving the hostage showdown seem like a big winner:
I think there are two very simple steps that should be taken. The first is to use a covert operation or a special forces operation to knock out the only gasoline producing refinery in Iran. There’s only one. And the second is to simply intercede by naval force, and block any tankers from bringing gasoline to Iran… I would right now say to them privately, within the next week, your refinery will no longer work. And within the following week, there will be no tankers arriving. Now if you would like to avoid being humiliated publicly, we recommend you calmly and quietly give them back now. But frankly, if you’d prefer to show the planet that you’re tiny and we’re not, we’re prepared to simply cut off your economy, and allow you to go back to walking and using oxen to pull carts, because you will have no gasoline left.
There ya go. The last four days in a (sorta) nut shell. What will tomorrow bring?
- Iran Not Releasing Female Hostage; Tensions Escalate
- Iran Lies About Coordinates, And Then Lies Again After Being Caught Lying.
- 15 British Sailors Captured By Iran
- Britian Chooses Diplomacy Despite Act Of War By Iran, Marines Interrogated
- Appalling: British Female Hostage Shown In Veil On Iranian TV