Thursday, April 05, 2007

On the Subject of Piracy.......

Yesterday I logged onto the BBC Homepage to read the joyous news that Iran had finally blinked first in its Gulf Standoff with Britain and released the 15 Royal Navy hostages captured at gunpoint, who were now on their way back home to their families. Most importantly Red Tony had somehow managed through behind the scenes diplomacy, to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat by resolving the standoff peacefully whilst maintaining Britain's stance, that Iran was the aggressor without a humiliating public grovel for the hostages release; whilst also putting me in the somewhat novel position of actually praising Red Tony's actions, which in light of the last decade of Red Tony's premiership is something very rare indeed, let me assure you!

Nevertheless it seems rather obvious to me that this whole process could have been avoided had the New Labour government learned the lessons of three years ago, when the Iranians seized six Royal Marines and two navy sailors at gunpoint from the Shatt al-Arab waterway, on the Iran-Iraqi border, and subsequently forced Tony Blair into a groveling and humiliating public apology for "trespassing" into Iranian territory. Obviously even if the British personnel had genuinely strayed across the border in 2004 & 2007 (which is a very big what if?), you would think that the rather cordial relations enjoyed between two counties not at war at this point, would caused the Iranian government to give the British navy personnel the benefit of the doubt, by simply issuing a warning that they were trespassing into Iranian waters and that they had a limited amount of time to withdraw, with at most a stern private warning to the British government not to repeat the mistake again.

However in each instance it seems the Iranian authorities were waiting for an opportunity for allied forces in Iraq to either blunder across the border, (or as seems more likely given their recent history.....) or to seize them when vulnerable and haul them across the border, without any warning like the pirates or slave merchants of old; and milk the resulting standoff for all its worth to score cheap political points over its enemies. It would thus seem even after the first standoff that in future any allied operations near the Iraqi-Iranian border need to drastically beefed up in terms of security, manpower and equipment, coupled with a a clear firm message to the Iranian powers that be, that the U.S and Her Majesty's government are not ones to be mocked; and that if Iran continues down its reckless path of oneupmanship that it will be met by a swift response, not just from the US & Britain but (ideally....) her allies in NATO too!

Of course you'd think this would have all been done by now after the 2004 fiasco, but Red Tony & George Bushes crass stupidity in this matter has inevitably led to this latest incident, and a swift stern response is definitely the sort of tonic needed to forestall further incidents of Iranian piracy on the high seas, from a government clearly intent on pushing to see just how much it can away with. Certainly it wouldn't do Red Tony any harm by appointing Margret Thacher his new chief adviser, in order to either forestall or better handle such incidents in the future......

No comments: