The Iranian regime says that the 15 British sailors and marines seized by Naval Pasdaran units are "well" and it is considering charging them with illegally entering its waters.
Next they'll be calling the inflatable boats the Britons were using "nests of spies" and claiming that they're sorry, but from a distance the British boats looked a lot like foreign embassies. Maybe I'm behind the curve and they're doing this already: as both Captain Ed at Captain's Quaters and Wretchard at Belmont Club point out -- the Iranian threat to try these uniformed British sailors and Royal Marines as spies violates Article 46 of Protocol I of the Geneva Convention of 1977. (To be fair, the Iranians have signed this, but never ratified it, although customary International Law, which binds everybody, accomplishes the same object). Funny how none of the usual Lefty suspects can be troubled to look up from their Abu Ghraib photographs to notice this. I guess, for them, only Bush and America violate international law.
The Persians do love the hostage game don't they ? Probably they will keep loving it until they lose an oil port or something.
The Iranians are clearly playing games, but it should be remembered that this is at least the second time that such an incident has occured in the waters near the Iranian/Iraqi frontier. Why was there no resistance ? Did the British have no communications devices to call for help ?
I wonder what orders the captured British personnel had regarding challenges from Iranians ? Surely this possibility was considered. I wonder whether the captured personnel had rules of engagement precluding resistance; whether such would have been hopeless; and, finally, (given that this is a disputed, contentious border area), whether there were stronger British units in supporting distance ?
I cannot fathom why the local commanders would leave their sailors hanging out vulnerable to capture in this manner. That's not the Royal Navy that used to run the world. I strongly suspect that political considerations were in play, and the British commanders have orders to avoid lethal incidents with Iranians. But if this is the case, why were those sailors and marines mucking about near the border ?
The Iranians are at fault, and need to be slapped down. But the British have some questions to answer.