Friday, March 23, 2007

The "Simple Mistake"

The Iranian seizure of a British inspection and boarding party may have happened only yesterday, but structurally it is a replay of similar incidents such as the Pueblo affair and even the seizure of the US Embassy in Teheran. The provocation is symbolically serious but not actually vital. As such, the provocateur provides the challenged party with the problem of how to respond without escalating things too far.


The Cornwall's commander, Commodore Nick Lambert, said the frigate lost communication with the boarding party, but a helicopter crew saw Iranian naval vessels approach. ... Lambert said he hoped it was a "simple mistake" stemming from the long dispute between Iraq and Iran over demarcating their territorial waters just off the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab, a waterway that divides the two countries.

White House press secretary Tony Snow said the Bush administration was monitoring events. "The British government is demanding the immediate safe return of the people and equipment and we are keeping watch on the situation," Snow said.

The incident occurred as the U.N. Security Council debates expanding sanctions against Iran seeking to force Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment. The U.S. and other nations suspect Iran is trying to produce nuclear weapons. Iran denies that and insists it won't halt the program.

The Iranians may hope that seizing the British sailors may provide them with leverage in related issues. By attacking the weaker coalition partner, Britian, which has a relatively powerful Leftist domestic constituency, Teheran may be hoping to gain get the American "Surge" off their backs or perhaps gain some concession in talks over its nuclear weapons program.

If history is any guide, both the British and the US will attempt to solve this problem diplomatically, as occurred when the Chinese seized a US signals intelligence aircraft and as happened the last time the Iranians seized British personnel. However, it is also possible that given the heightened tension between the US and Iran that policymakers may interpret these actions as an escalation to which they must respond. This is exactly what happened to Krushchev when he shipped missiles to Cuba. Instead of backing down, JFK upped the ante and a confrontation that neither bargained for ensued.

The case for responding forcibly against Iran lies in the fact that, unlike the relationship between the US and China, there is no pre-existing "normal" relationship to which to return. The seizure therefore represents, not a blip in an otherwise stable relationship, but one in a series of actions between the two. How this plays out will be evident in a few days. Let's wait and see.

Update

STRATFOR analyzes why Iran did it and what HMS Cornwall could have done to stop it, which is apparently not much.

61 Comments:

Blogger Reliapundit said...

it might be tit4tat since we seized some of there people in iraq -and may have seized that general fella and some nuke scientists of theirs.

they might release them ONLY IN EXCHANGE for something...

3/23/2007 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger Will Rayford said...

Please Brits, please use this as an excuse to destroy them.

3/23/2007 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Reliapundit: it might be tit4tat since we seized some of there people in iraq -and may have seized that general fella and some nuke scientists of theirs.

It was a US raid in Northern Iraq that got the Iranian hostages. Unfortunately, the Brits don't have much weight anymore to lean on Bush to help them get their boys back, since they've already decided to cut and run from Iraq.

3/23/2007 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

I hope that, at a minimum, the Brits publicly prohibit Iranian naval vessels from entering the Brits AO if not outright keeping them in port. If the Iranians want to play chicken, let 'em.

3/23/2007 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger RAB said...

The Brits should announce the arrival of a MOAB
by high noon on Sunday if the sailors are not released. Many more to follow if they are injured.

There will be no further correspondence.

3/23/2007 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

I'm unsure what is to be gained by NOT escalating this as far as possible.
The history of the past thirty years shows a rapid and steady aggression by the Islamic world toward the the West. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that the Islamists have any notion of "climbing down " from there continued aggression.
There is nothing to be gained by the West in negotitating with them any further than we have. This latest "test" if negotitated to an end or capitulated to an end by the Brits will simply continue to confirm Islamic opinion that the West can simply be waited out, that they will not use all their arsenal to gain victory because their own population would not like it and doesn't have the will to back it in the first place.
In the world of realpolitik the West is losing badly. Radical Islam is a Mushariff assassination away from a nuclear arsenal. Iran continues to play for time. In Egypt the Brotherhood is getting restive and Israel cannot count on the US to save her.
In the final analysis this is bigger than the diruption of oil to the West, the collaspe of economies or even the deaths similar to WWII. It's all about the continued existence of Constitutional freedoms guaranteed to our citizenry in perpetuity not just from 1776 to 2007.

Cause make no mistake, the Islams will take away your freedoms.

3/23/2007 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger Reliapundit said...

and let's not forget: it will be POSSIBLE to whack iran only up until the day they get nukes.

the longer we wait the more likely it is they will get some nukes - or buy a few from noko. therefore: the sooner we whack them the better.

tough sanctions must be seen as merely a preparatory move.

we should be deploying kinetic assets into local environs in order to be able to whack them preemptively and as soon as they pull another one of these stunts.

it has to be more than a bomb or two,

it has to be a few to several thousand bombs over a few weeks destroying their military and industrial infrastructure: their air force, navy, nuke assets, barracks, depots, power-plants, refineries, bridges, tunnels, highways, communications networks and command & control/entire political leadership.

a coup de torchon.

probably not until spring 08, or as late as early winter 09 - before rudy or romney (and veep fred thompson) are sworn in.

3/23/2007 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

So far the Iranians appear to be doing their level best to ratchet things up by accusing the British of being there "illegally". That means they want something: that the British stop their boarding practices or some such. They've announced Britain will have to "pay", but the price has not yet been determined.

I agree with STRATFOR that in the context of recent talks, plus the circumstance that Ahmedinajad has cancelled his trip, that the signs are somewhat ominous. Iran is spoiling for a fight. But not too big a fight. That's why they took on the Brits, but not the USN.

So in the Cold War tradition, you can read this as they want to fight, but not to the death. The Iranians would have noticed the recent Democratic moves in Congress and probably figure that American and probably British options are limited.

And it's a clever move because the US won't act unilaterally with British lives at stake. They'll take Whitehall's lead, which probably will be as firm as a wet noodle. And worse, if the US had any raids against the Qods in Iran planned over the weekend, those plans are probably on hold because everyone is waiting for guidance. And the longer the spell lasts, the more likely the diplomats are going to make the spell permanent.

So in my opinion, if the Brits are not going to be sucked into some paralyzing hostage crisis, they need to do something now. One possibility would be to expel all Iranian diplomats and known agents from the UK. That would break the spell without necessarily escalating into warfighting. Some of those agents could also be detained under the British preventive detention. Then it woiuld be even stevens with the ball in Ahmedinajad's court. Then it will be his turn to squirm and decide whether five and not six shots were fired from the magnum .44.

3/23/2007 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

During Vietnam when we bombed Hanoi our POWs were ELATED. They have said to a man that they were prepared to die in the Hanoi Hilton if it meant the US would bomb Hanoi inot the stone age.

During WWII Churchill knew on the night of Nov 14-15 1940 that Coventry would be bombed. He knew because he had Enigma and the Ultra code. He allowed Conventries civilian population to take the bombing to protect the Ultra secret.
It is time the West realize that the lives of a few military men whose careers and jobs are to fight and die should not allow any "negotiation" to be forced on them in return for those men. They knew the peril when they signed onto the job.
It is the reponsibility of the worlds free countries to disabuse the Islamic world of the idea that we are not willing to sacrifice everything for our freedoms.
We give them one hour to release the detainees or we take out Qum. No negotiations, no extended talks.
If they aren't released sub launched cruise missiles destroy Qom.

3/23/2007 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

You sound like it is Post 9-11, Habu:
Haven't you heard that has been banished from the collective memory banks since 1984?
It's springtime, wake up and smell the flowers.
...and be sure to keep on consumin.
(the Chinese Economy depends on you!)

3/23/2007 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

We'll ask Jim Baker how we can use Syria and Iran to finesse us outta this one too.
(as his employers, the Sauds, continue to fund the Jihad here and abroad)

3/23/2007 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger Reliapundit said...

Reliapundit said...

i like habu's sentiment but taking out qum achieves nothing.

then they'd kill the hostages after a show trial, and then what!?!?!?

no: we have to wait until we can take the whole shebang down.

3/23/2007 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/23/2007 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

well the first place for the US & GB to react is in the security council. Iran action makes them look bad. They'll get the book thrown at them. What does this mean? it means they won't get any money or deals to develop their dwindling oil production.

as well the russians will no longer aid their nuclear development.

3/23/2007 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Doug: (as his employers, the Sauds, continue to fund the Jihad here and abroad)

As their patron, the American consumer, drives to work all alone in a Hummer.

3/23/2007 08:43:00 PM  
Blogger Tom_Holsinger said...

Blair will do nothing beyond diplomatic noises. He'll leave this, and the Labor backbenchers who won't tolerate any action by Britain against anybody about anything, to his successor.

3/23/2007 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

As their patron, the American consumer, drives to work all alone in a Hummer.


not this one...

3.20 a gallon, fryer oil from sysco food services for my benz diesel

24 mpg, less heat, less pollution, less noise amd quite a bit less cash to the oil companies and the camel lovers...

time to act in the old fashioned american way...

a crude act...

like taking out the IRanian gasoline refinery..

and then CLAIM that we want peace and did not do it...

3/23/2007 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Exactly!
Attack their Crude-Handling Facilities!

3/23/2007 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

doug,

i like that too...


but they import 40% of their gasoline...

knock off line their gasoline production

3/23/2007 09:44:00 PM  
Blogger Emphasis said...

I wonder if this is just a test to see how the West including the US will react to the kidnapping of some of its soldiers? The next episode if the response is anemic might be the taking of a US soldier.

3/23/2007 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

I always expected that the Iranians would try to provoke Israel and the West in order to loose the dogs of war but I expected they would do it AFTER they got the bomb. Maybe they just want the sanctions vote to be off the front page. Maybe this is internal.

They say that all politics is local. Maybe this is an attempt to strengthen AhmaNutJob's hand by tweaking the enemy's nose. I guess he's counting on the Brits not to hit back hard. If they hit back but not too hard that is good for him.

3/23/2007 09:59:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

recently a ret. airforce guy with lots of :history: made the statement...

if i was in charge you see iran become the most UNLUCKIEST country in the world...

let's see what happens to break in iran within the next 4 days...

3/23/2007 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger the mad fiddler said...

It's been months and months since I've seen anyone refer to the parallels between this moment in time and the last few years before Hitler invaded Poland.

I'll spare everyone the rehash, but it sure is a continuing source of wonderment that the Democrats and the rest of the Left can't see the signs of approaching tumult.

The Party of Colonic Parisites now holds the majority in our national legislature. Watching the unfolding catastrophe they are orchestrating, and the continuing gutless response of the alleged Republicans to the Leftist tantrums, one begins to grasp the full dimensions of the menace of Jihad. I love that it is exactly the same peckerheads complaining about the lack of preparedness in our armed forces who have repeatedly voted to reduce the defense funding.

I can just imagine passengers on the Titanic arguing about whether they needed ... really... to worry about that iceberg. Hey, it’s already receding into the distance behind us! Two glasses of brandy and I’m no longer sure what’s vertical any more. Um... are we listing? No, it’s just your imagination. No, really, I think I hear water running somewhere... Why is the carpet squishing? And who is that silly couple perched on the Bowsprit?

Seems like there’s more sheer reasoning power among the contestants of any given episode of America’s Funniest Videos than could be boiled down from the harvested forebrains of every Democrat in the country.

3/23/2007 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger the mad fiddler said...

Sorry.

It's the cheap wine.

"Parasites."

3/23/2007 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger pauldanish said...

The Cuban Missile Crisis provides a fine model for dealing with Iran. Blockade the place, which would prevent crude oil from getting out (crude sales provide something like 85 percent of the Iranian government's budget) and gasoline from getting in.

And, conveniently, the United States Navy just happens to have to carrier battle groups in the region...

3/23/2007 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

If any of you can explain a rational action Iran has taken since 11/4/79 I love to hear it.

You're talking about a country we know funds worldwide terror organizations. We know they have used their own children to walk across mine fields to clear them for troop movements. We know they have vowed for the last 30 years to take us down.

The list could go on but the point is made. The West is not going to reach a diplomatic solution with Islam. If you are holding onto that thought you're seriously delusional. Their entire religion forbids it and yes we could extend it to the Whabbists etc but one bite at a time.
What would taking out Qum do? Nothing much more than send just about the most serious initial signal that hell is coming and doing serious psychological damage. What are they going to do, tell use the end is near for the hundredth time? Hate us another 2%....let's see that would take the hate meter to about 1002%, big deal. Take out Natanz and Tehran too. Do the entire gig but this endless waltz is only allowing them more time to finish their work.
You know the Russians are in there speeding the technology. They have probably already acquired weapons grade nuclear material from any number of sources.
Many of you must somehow have convinced yourself that this really isn't a clash of civilizations but just another messy diplomatic-cum-semi-war that will clear up when we leave Iraq.
That is totally irrational in view of the last 30 years or if you care since October 10, 732 and the Battle of Tours.
They love to die and we love to live. Let's give'm a big scoop of their favorite flavor. A big scoop 'o nuke.

3/23/2007 10:56:00 PM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

...and the people who want to cut off their oil or use the Cuban missile crisis naval blockade ... tell me, how is that going to change the tenants of Islam that is the prime moving force in this entire period of history?
This is about religion and cultures for them, not MP3's and oil prices. They lost over a million troops in their war with Iraq. Life is nothing to them but a vehicle to convert infidels or kill them. Religion and culture hegemony.....the train with all the other "intellectual" flatulence and sophistry left the station years ago.

3/23/2007 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

In June 2004 a similar incident occurred; the Iranians held eight British servicemen for three days before releasing them. Now, the Iraqis, Iranians, and Coalition naval forces have had four years to work together and observe each others actions. With that much experience, and with the previous incident in mind, a “simple mistake” remains possible but also is an unlikely explanation for this latest Iranian capture. A much more plausible explanation would be Tehran ordering the creation of a news event to distract the Iranian domestic audience from Mr. Ahmadinejad’s fumbling with the United Nations, and the imminent vote of the Security Council to increase its punishment of Iran.

Naturally, it is a risky business to manufacture international incidents to cover up bad news elsewhere. Perhaps a different junior officer with the British boarding party, under slightly different circumstances, might have chosen to resist capture. In that scenario, the day could have ended with a surface naval engagement, an air strike on an Iranian naval base, and lots of blood and oil on the water. Next would come statesmen on all sides pondering what must be done to protect their nations’ prestige.

Senior leaders in Tehran must now be wondering what trouble their president will blunder into next. And whether he or Iran will be able to wriggle out from the next incident without gunfire and explosions. Military escalation, even if blundered into, plays right into the air and naval power dominance of the Americans. From this perspective, President Ahmadinejad may be America’s best friend and Iran’s walking time-bomb.

Westhawk

3/24/2007 03:00:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Habu: tell me, how is that going to change the tenants of Islam that is the prime moving force in this entire period of history?

You raise the rent for these "tenants"...the whole country is seething with discontent for the dead-end their theocratic rulers have taken them into. Smack 'em in the pocketbook and they'll boil over.

3/24/2007 05:10:00 AM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

This would have been seen by the Romans as a great diplomatic and military opportunity.

They would have said "give us back our citizens, or in four days your only oil refinery will be a pile of twisted metal."

They would have promptly got their people back and made their point, with no physical damage at all.

The Brits are too soft (which is why their people are getting kidnapped left and right).

3/24/2007 05:22:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Meme Chose: The Brits are too soft (which is why their people are getting kidnapped left and right).

Just when the idealists arrive at the "end of history" they get mugged by reality.

3/24/2007 05:37:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Proud Moment for the Mullahs

3/24/2007 05:56:00 AM  
Blogger Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

95 years ago, camel convoys in Mongolia would carry a Union Jack at the front and rear ... to ensure they would be left alone ... because in that era a full company or Royal Marines had the relative to eliminate untold numbers of bad guys.

Lord Rees-Mogg pointed out in 1987 (I think) that one characteristic of the early 21st century would be an erosion of such relative firepower differentials and the concommittant tendency of bad guys to push the envelope.

A bunch of Afghans with Grade III education had succeeded in stalling the Red Army, which he defined as the beginning of the shift. We're seeing further development of the same trend, which makes the job difficult, but not impossible.

The only thing capable of rendering the job impossible is lack of will on the good guys' side.

3/24/2007 06:26:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Doug, Europe has nothing to say when two teenaged boys are flogged and hanged by the Iran regime, because Iran is opposed to America. Europe has plenty of criticism when the Butcher of Baghdad is hanged (not even flogged first), because the Maliki regime is allied with America. Simple.

3/24/2007 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

What would the Democrats do?

Adm. Sestak has voted for the bill in the House that declares the end of the war in Iraq, encouraging our enemies abroad. Al Qaeda's number one, oft stated goal is to defeat America in Iraq, and Adm. Sestak voted to help them achieve their victory. At the same time, Adm. Sestak is planning to speak at a fundraiser for a terrorist supporting group called the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He hired CAIR's only employee in Philadelphia to be his staffer and he claims she accepted this invitation for him. She happens to be the daughter of a CAIR board member. In his bio, Sestak is noted as heading up "Deep Blue" which was the Navy's counter-terrorism project after 9/11. It strains the imagination to see how he could be ignorant of CAIR and their history of support for terrorist organizations.

It is not too much to ask the Democrats what expect to be the outcome of our withdrawal in face of our enemies in Iraq. There must be some precedent for such a move, they can't be just turning their backs on our allies and walking away from our enemies. The only precedent that comes to mind is the Democratic Congress doing this same thing in Vietnam. There the consequences included millions killed in Southeast Asia, and over a million of our former allies fleeing their homeland and becoming "Boat People." The consequences reached far beyond Vietnam, and encouraged our enemies worldwide. The mullahs overthrew our ally in Iran, a consequence we suffer to this day. The Soviets sent tens of thousands of Cuban troops to fight our allies in South Africa, and the Communists took over Angola after Carter turned his back on our allies there. The Soviets invaded and occupied Afghanistan, and supported Communist insurgencies openly in Central America. This is the historic precedent for the last time a Democratic Congress surrendered in a fifteen year war.

If Democrats so fervently believe in this path, surely they owe us an explanation of why they think weakness will serve our responsibilities in this global battle against Islamist aggressors who have declared war on not only the US, but the entire non-Muslim world. Are we supposed to believe that surrender is a brand new concept that has recently popped into existence, like cold fusion or carbon offsets?

Just as the Democrats rallied around the "war hero" Kerry who achieved fame for calling his fellow troops "war criminals," my fellow Americans in the 7th Congressional District of PA have elected another military man who is truly a sheep in wolf's clothing.

3/24/2007 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

This incident has to be view in the light of the British Governments placing the military under possible ICC jurisdiction.It has to be remembered that the Labour government is a left wing government,willing to try soldiers not under normal Courts marshall,but International Law.Lord Goldsmith,the Attorney General was said to have been "gaggging to do this".This explains the new rules of engagement,"For God's sake don't shoot anyone or the government will try you as a war criminal".
The military are now also liable in civil courts,where alleged victims or victims families can sue.
So chuck any unwanted family under the tracks of a tank,hop over to the EU,come to Britain,claim asylum,housing,medicine,education and sue the poor squaddies on taxpayers money.

3/24/2007 07:15:00 AM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

Teresita said: "Doug, Europe has nothing to say when two teenaged boys are flogged and hanged by the Iran regime, because Iran is opposed to America. Europe has plenty of criticism when the Butcher of Baghdad is hanged (not even flogged first), because the Maliki regime is allied with America. Simple."

Ahh, the sophistication of the European back stabbers. Thanks for the reminder.

3/24/2007 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

This is a commissioned US Navy ship in Pyongyang, North Korea, one of only two American ships captured since the wars in Tripoli. It has been a tourist attraction there since it was captured in 1968, when America was tied down in the Vietnam War. One sailor was killed and 82 were brutally tortured for 11 months before they were marched south over the DMZ on the "Bridge of No Return".

If America was not bogged down in Vietnam, undoubtedly LBJ would have found this casus belli more convincing than the Gulf of Ton Kin incident, and Li'l Kim wouldn't be in a palace getting his pecker washed and his bouffant blow dried to this day.

Flash forward to 2007. America is tied down in the Iraq War, and the Iranians capture 15 sailors from a lukewarm US ally who spent the war patrolling the relatively quiet southern theater where no Sunni-Shi'a tussles exist. The same ally who has announced they are cutting loose and leaving America alone to clean up the mess. This ally's navy is so timid they let their own sailors be abducted under the nose of one of Her Majesty's frigates, a ship-of-the-line, yet didn't so much as give the enemy some 20mm to express Her Highness' displeasure.

What are the odds they can turn to Uncle Sugar to get their boys back? Zilch point squat. Here's the acid test for all their rhetoric about diplomacy being superior to firepower.

3/24/2007 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

this may very well be the only guy left with balls in that country

3/24/2007 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

3/24/2007 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

Bisping UFC

3/24/2007 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger ppab said...

You may have seen this on Pajamas media:

Israeli PR professionals conducted a mock exercise to test their response to a hypothetical missile attack by Syria and Iran.

So I googled IsraelPR and check out this yahoo group:

Israel Public Relations is the place for Israeli and Jewish PR professionals to create and share information.
Only the most professional, respected and experienced commercial and governmental PR and media pros are invited to participate in this room.
We will formulate strategic image policy and crisis communications for Israel in addition to sharing news releases, soundbytes and media contacts. This forum will also serve as an effective commercial network. Members are allowed to advertise their services twice a month. This professional network has co-moderators and representatives in Israel, Europe and North America. This is a private, non-profit, resource group and discussion forum. This room is not affiliated with any one governmental or non-profit entity.


Arial Soudak of Galaris, LLC, is owner of israelpr.org, and could be described as a PR professional.

I'm not sure why such an overt URL would have been created. But it was created on the 13th of September, 2006, a few days after the 9/8, when hostilities between Israel and Lebanon formally ceased.

The salient lesson then, as now, was the success of the media campaign waged against Israel. Obviously they are adapting. But where are our PR legions?

Googling Soudak reveals some interesting organizational characteristics, reminiscent of "Armies of Davids," flash mobs, first adopters etc:

"Street teams:"

A street team is essentially a group of volunteers, usually your own die-hard fans who want to support you and see you rise to the very top. They are motivated to help you sell CDs, increase your fanbase and enhance your present stature as an artist. In a nutshell, they are there to help move you up a few rungs on that success ladder without invoicing you for the hours they put in! Implementing a street team is therefore something you HAVE to capitalize on if you want to utilize every promotional opportunity and increase your visibility as an artist.

3/24/2007 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger brough said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/24/2007 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger brough said...

Teresita, you make a lot of very informed contributions here and I enjoy reading your posts.

By all means, criticize the Royal Navy's ridiculous 'de-escalatory' rules of engagement but quit your ranting about how the UK is a 'lukewarm' ally that is 'cutting loose' in Iraq. It probably escaped your notice that Blair's politically timed announcement of the MOD's decision to draw-down in Basra conveniently buried the redeployments to support the much more intensive combat in Afghanistan -- how many bayonet charges are the US undertaking in Baghdad, teresita? UK has been doing plenty of cutting and running, just not in the direction you assume. :)

Wednesday, 21 February 2007, 18:15 GMT

Some 1,600 British troops will return from Iraq within the next few months, Prime Minister Tony Blair has told MPs.


Extra 1400 UK troops to Afghanistan

* Michael Evans
* February 27, 2007

SUBSTANTIAL British reinforcements are being sent to Afghanistan, consisting of 1400 more troops, heavy armour and rockets and additional ground-attack aircraft and helicopters.

MOD needs to free up troops to sustain ongoing operations because there is absolutely no slack. Labour is certainly blame for that and because of them we are certainly not as effective an ally as we could be.

We were not in Baghdad with our sand-blasted 'yellow panels' because the US wanted us out of the way so they could get the job done.

As it happens, the abductions yesterday coincided with the re-introduction into service of RN flagship Ark Royal. It has had a refit but I don't think the Royal Navy has *any* fixed-wing aircraft for its three carriers because the sea harriers were withdrawn from service in anticipation of the F-35 Lightning ... and the ground-attack harriers they were using as a stop-gap are all in-theatre in Afghanistan!

You don't need reminding that the Royal Navy lost a ship-of-the-line to the French/Argentines in its last major engagement, when they actually had their own air support, and the Iranians are better equipped. An RN engagement of the Iranians could have seen them 'Operation Praying Mantis' our asses. And with the Charles de Gaulle looking on....

Am I underestimating the strength of a flotilla of Royal Navy vessels with no carrier support? We would depend very much upon the USN.

3/24/2007 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

gee the DEM are BRILLIANT!

pass a bullshit "withdrawl" deadline...

embolden our enemies to think we are weak and to cause them to think we are running away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


thanks nancy!

I had a meeting with nancy and gwb and I laid it out...

domestic politics are what the world watches, so make it a good one, make the usa look weak and impodent...

send signals that will be misunderstood by the axis of evil types, all the while pandering to your domestic idiots..

in the end the axis of evil types will do what they must... stupid miscalculations and poof we have a interesting day..

4 carrier groups now in persian gulf, EU calling for the release of brits...

and so much more

get the popcorn ready the show is starting!

extra butter please

3/24/2007 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

T.

"You raise the rent for these "tenants"...the whole country is seething with discontent for the dead-end their theocratic rulers have taken them into. Smack 'em in the pocketbook and they'll boil over."

Ok, this is the about the fifth year we've been hearing about the discontent inside Iran. There have been a number of large demonstration already. Their leaders soon disappear.

The economic conditions in Iran are already pitiful. But let's grant your "boil over" occurs.

How does that affect the religion cum culture war from the other billion Islamics worldwide who adhere to sharia law and the Quran?
How does that change the centuries old history of their constant aggression and war against other cultures outside Islam?
They do not have a "freedom of religion right". What they have is a religious "duty" to subdue any and all infidels, meaning anyone outside Islam.

So a boil over in Iran is not going to sufficiently raise the rent high enough to cause an entire fanatically driven faith from it's end game, religious and cultural hegemony.

This piece, a speech given by Bernard Lewis is lengthy but very good and worth the time to read. Best regards.

Bernard Lewis'current thinking

3/24/2007 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

Ms. T.

"You raise the rent for these "tenants"...the whole country is seething with discontent for the dead-end their theocratic rulers have taken them into. Smack 'em in the pocketbook and they'll boil over."

Is should have shortened my answer by simply pointing out that these tenant "drivers" of Islam are justifying their use of women,children,young boys, etc to convert themselves to human bombs to destroy their enemies.
Do you seriously believe any economic squeeze by the West would change that?

3/24/2007 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Habu asks Do you seriously believe any economic squeeze by the West would change that?

Sure! Why not? Worked great in Cuba.

That's why it's time to surrender again, look how great it worked in Vietnam. Think of all the cool movies Oliver Stone will make about Iraq.

3/24/2007 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger just a marine said...

With the recent Brit problem, one might use the military approach of focusing on capabilities vice intents. Judging intents is always difficult and usually a waste of time. In the capabilities area, the Iranians have recently lost (to defections or kidnapping) more than a few senior military leaders (Army of God and regular military). They have promised to kidnap others in retaliation. Now they have. Their President has just canceled his visit to the U.N. and U.S. soil. We still can take more Iranians into “custody”, as well as continue whatever we are doing covertly. We are a bigger dog than they are. Their leadership (religious, political, and military) knows this, and we know this. We have been war gaming Iran for decades. They know that. Some Iranians used to participate in these war games since sometimes it was to defend Iran from the Russians during the Cold War (as well as other scenarios). The Russians are pulling out of Busheur, much like the French did at Osirak before the Israeli attack in 1981. The new CENTCOM is a Navy fellow with proconsul-like experience with China and other regional powers, and users of Persian Gulf oil energy and their economics for doing so. A second carrier battle group is forming up in the regional area. The President is changing other people in his team affecting the area, and is reported to be changing his strategy, and maybe even his tactics.

Diplomacy is most effective in the Eastern world with a big stick included in the process.

3/24/2007 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Reliapundit said...

rf/aka wretch: i was right.

i was the first commenter on this thread; i wrote:

"it might be tit4tat since we seized some of there people in iraq -and may have seized that general fella and some nuke scientists of theirs.

they might release them ONLY IN EXCHANGE for something...

3/23/2007 04:38:00 PM "

NOW THIS:

http://hotair.com/archives/2007/03/24/
sailors-held-as-bargaining-chips-for-iranians
-captured-by-us-in-irbil/

(url thrice broken to fit)

HA:

Big news if true. The report comes from Asharq al-Awsat, which you’ll recall had scoop after scoop about the Iranian general who disappeared last month. The jury’s still out on that story, though, so take their credibility here with a grain of salt. With thanks to John of Verum Serum for the tip:

The sailors, taken at gunpoint Friday by Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Al Quds soldiers were captured intentionally and are to be used as bargaining chips to be used for the release of five Iranians who were arrested at the Iranian consul in Irbil, Iraq by US troops, an Iranian official told the daily paper Asharq al-Awsat on Saturday.

that's why everyone should read my group blog THE ASTUTE BLOGGERS everyday: we have hawk ten bloggers with different POV 's from around the world and we are often first with news, often with UNIQUE analysis and always with unique commentary. We don;t parrot the CW. And we are very often right.

3/24/2007 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

Tony,
You're for gaffaws and laughter. And your comic releif is greatly appreciated in these stressful times. Thanks

3/24/2007 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

That PanamaYellow avatar is so apropos AZ.

3/24/2007 02:11:00 PM  
Blogger Tom_Holsinger said...

The British will do nothing. That's what they are for. The French surrender when attacked. The British "grandly ignore" being attacked. Both are patsies.

3/24/2007 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I agree with Habu-1 generally and Meme Chose specifically: this is a perfectly Roman pretext to demonstrate the extent to which we are Iran's overlord, if it should come down to it, and Iran can do nothing about it.

In the Islamic world, submission comes through humiliation. This breeds resentment, of course, but there is virtually no public sentiment more intensely observed than resentment anyway, so it's not like that matters. The point is to control those who will not control themselves.

Were I President, and had I the knowledge that our naval assets in the region were sufficient for the task, I would issue an ultimatum for the return of the soldiers to British custody in Iraq within 48 hours or begin sinking Iranian naval vessels, to cease when the soldiers are returned. Period.

Gunboat diplomacy works, friends.

Besides, as an American I'm getting f-ing fed up with getting stung by these people and my government's looking increasingly illegitimate for failing to respond with all that lovely hardware we're all paying for. C'mon, goddamnit: start firing.

3/24/2007 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

According to DEBKA link on PJM, with the arrival of the Charles de Gaulle in the Persian Gulf the West now has 4 carrier groups within striking distance of Iran.

C'mon, something is coming, and soon. That's a lot of firepower.

3/24/2007 07:06:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

emphasis - I wonder if this is just a test to see how the West including the US will react to the kidnapping of some of its soldiers? The next episode if the response is anemic might be the taking of a US soldier.

What do you mean? Iranian Quds were already behind the kidnapping and killing of 5 US soldiers. The EFP devices they have supplied have killed and maimed several hundred soldiers.

We have done a little payback, including taking Quds agents, and now the Iranian taking of the soldiers is a new round of escalation. I hear the Iranians have "espionage charges" on them.

The good news is - despite Bush's blundering - the Left's sedition - the world appears to be sick of Iranian intransigence and just slapped them with even heavier sanctions by a 15-=0 Security Council vote.
********************
In the early-80s, Richard Nixon "rocked" David Frost when asked about what he would have done differently "about the hostages", Nixon said he would have bombed the crap out of Iran. When Frost, conditioned that hostages and POWs are the highest form of heroism, followed, with how would that help the safety of the hostages that were the 1st priority, Nixon said they were not the main issue. Nixon explained that because Carter let radical Iran get away with it and showed they could face down and humble a superpower - the danger to American and other lives was dramatically greater and that Khoumeni's Islamic Revolution was assured of surviving by what Carter didn't do. Nixon said that America's inaction and paralysis emboldened our enemies.
*************************

Brough - While Britain has a lack of Naval air assets, they have top-line air assets in Basra region bases, Oman, and Diego Garcia. Iran has mostly shit airpower. Their problem is the anti-ship C-802 and other similar missiles supplied by Bush's favorite trading partner, banker, and bestest friends - the Chinese.

3/24/2007 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

Hot Air - Sailors held

Here is how you make permalinks:

<a href="url">text to display</a>

replace url with:
http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/2007/02/duke-fever.html
leave the quote marks

replace text to display
with
Duke Fever

Duke Fever

If you keep a cheat sheet (text file) up of your most commonly used forms (probably around 10 to 20) it is really easy.

3/25/2007 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger Whitehall said...

Call me a worry wart, but I see this poison pet food event as a warning.

Sneak in some agents as illegals from Mexico, get a crew working on the night shift as a big human food processing plant and let them dump in some slow acting poisons or bioagents over many evenings.

As the poisoned food works its way through the distribution network and the first cases show up, then quit the country.

Very few finger prints that way and it is repeatable over and over again.

3/25/2007 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger sofa said...

BBC online doesn't have the story on the frontpage!

Blair is finding his inner dhimmi.

----

"Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides."

- Margaret Thatcher

----------------

"If you set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing."

- Margaret Thatcher

------------------------------

"To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects. "

- Margaret Thatcher

------------------------------

"You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it. "

- Margaret Thatcher

------------------------------

"I seem to smell the stench of appeasement in the air."

- Margaret Thatcher

-----------------

"This is no time to go wobbly. "

- Margaret Thatcher

3/25/2007 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Al Qaeda's Pakistan Sanctuary
Musharraf appeases the Taliban.

Bill Roggio
Weekly Standard

3/25/2007 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Creeping Sharia

Pakistan exports the fruit of its radical madrassahs in ideology and personnel to Britain and beyond. The mother country, like an elderly spinster, doesn't like to think ill of those nice young men in Manchester and Leeds and Oldham.
We're all inclined to be deferential to multiculturalism these days: When imams get turfed off a flight in Minneapolis, it's easiest to tut-tut and demand sensitivity training for the cabin crew, so that next time round, no matter what they do, we'll know to look the other way.

The Quebec government, which mandates verifiable picture ID in order to vote, has just waived the requirement for Muslims:
Show up at the polls in a burqa or niqab and no one will be so insensitive as to insist on checking whether your face matches that on the driver's license.

And so it goes:
creeping sharia, day by day, further insulating communities already prone to self-segregation, but nothing too big or startling to ruffle the scene.
In Britain, the authorities can tell you (roughly) the number of jihadist cells and the support they command in the Muslim community.
But doing anything about it is far more problematic.
Wouldn't be cricket, old boy.
© Mark Steyn 2007

3/25/2007 04:32:00 PM  

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