Telegraph: Deal in the works for British sailors’ release? Update: Revolutionary Guard commander wants sailors freed?

posted at 7:22 pm on March 31, 2007 by Allahpundit

Haven’t read it yet but I wanted to get the link up before Drudge does. (He’s teasing it but hasn’t added the URL yet.)

Standby for updates.

Update: It’s a non-apology apology. The plan is to send someone from the Royal Navy to Tehran to promise that they’d never knowingly enter Iranian waters. As an acknowledgment of basic territorial sovereignty, that’s unobjectionable; but under the circumstances, as a veiled admission of guilt (which is how it’ll be perceived), it’s as objectionable as can be. A Falkand War vet wonders how it came to this:

Maj Gen Julian Thompson called for a review of the Navy’s rules of engagement, dictated by the United Nations, that they cannot open fire unless they are shot at first. “In my view this thing is a complete cock-up,” he said.

“I want to know why the Marines didn’t open fire or put up some sort of fight. My fear is that they didn’t have the right rules of engagement, which would allow them to do this.”

Captain Ed explains the gist of the problem — in a word, demilitarization. Although that’s not the whole problem. Check out this poll, some of the numbers from which are truly depressing:

Only 8 percent of respondents to the survey for the Sunday Telegraph newspaper said Britain should prepare to use military force at this stage, nine days into the crisis. Asked if force should be used as a last resort, 48 percent were opposed and 44 percent in favor…

Forty percent of Britons polled backed the government’s current strategy of quiet diplomacy but no apology to Iran, while 17 percent felt Britain should impose sanctions and 26 percent felt Britain should apologize and ask for the captives back.

The Telegraph says British officials fear this could drag on for months, a la 1979.

Update: They’re practically apologizing already: “The message I want to send is I think everyone regrets that this position has arisen. What we want is a way out of it.” The absurd thing about this dispute, according to the former head of Brtain’s maritime Foreign Office, is that there is no official boundary between Iraqi and Iranian waters. Both sides are talking nonsense when they point to GPS coordinates since there’s no demarcation reference point that would formally deem the boat inside one country or the other. Which in turn means that Britain’s promise not to enter Iranian waters in the future is meaningless.

I figure they must have broached this idea of the conciliatory non-apology apology in the note they sent to Tehran earlier today because the Iranian envoy to Russia who hinted the sailors might be put on trial later backed away from that, claiming that he’d been mistranslated. It may be that they’re trying to defuse the situation before the hardliners really start demagoging it in earnest next week:

It has also emerged that the President will hold a press conference on the crisis on Tuesday. His intervention – which comes at the end of a two-week national holiday that has hampered diplomatic activity – suggests that, far from bringing an end to the crisis, the return to work of Iranian politicians could herald its escalation.

Iranian media have been trumpeting Britain’s failure to secure a strong condemnation of Iran at the UN Security Council or a freeze on EU diplomacy. State television has run footage of the seizure of the boats and the “confessions” of Faye Turney and Nathan Thomas Summers, two of the seized UK personnel, repeatedly on the news channel.

The EU called for the sailors’ release a few days ago but when asked last night to do something about it by freezing exports to Iran, they balked. Iran greeted the capitulation today, naturally enough, with a threat. Amid the stupid Russian rumors that the U.S. is planning to attack Iran this Friday, Bush called for the sailors’ release himself today and the State Department made clear there’ll be no swap for the Quds Force boys we nabbed in Irbil just in case that’s what the Iranian leadership has in mind.

I wish I had some red meat to offer you here, but the pickings are slim except for these two righteously indignant Telegraph editorials. You know they’re mad when they’re quoting Caligula.

Update: A fracture within the leadership? I think it’s psyops, mainly because the Revolutionary Guard was responsible for seizing the sailors in the first place. Why would their leader have ordered the operation if he was going to panic a week later when Britain inevitably took umbrage?

For what it’s worth:

According to an Iranian military source, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards has called for them to be freed.

Major-General Yahya Rahim Safavi is said to have told the country’s Supreme National Security Council on Friday that the situation was “getting out of control” and urged its members to consider the immediate release of the prisoners to defuse tension in the Gulf…

Iranian military sources said the Supreme National Security Council had concluded on Friday evening that Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader, should order the release of the British naval personnel on Safavi’s advice.

However, according to one account, which could not be confirmed, Javani described Safavi’s recommendation as tantamount to treason.

According to an article out tonight in WaPo, there are very few people in Iran right now who’d feel safe questioning Safavi’s loyalty. The IRGC has allegedly assumed control of key sectors of the country’s energy and weapons industries, thanks in part to Ahmadinejad’s patronage. It’s important and only a page long, so read all of it; roughly speaking, it sounds like they are to the Iranian army what the SS was to the Wehrmacht.

The Guard is now a less effective conventional fighting force than it was during the Iran-Iraq war, Cordesman said. But it controls the deadliest arms, including adapted Scud missiles with ranges up to 1,200 miles, along with a chemical and biological weapons program and missile production. The Revolutionary Guard remains “the center of Iran’s hard-line security forces,” he said.

The most secretive Guard unit is the Quds Force, which conducts operations beyond Iran’s borders using proxies such as Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Cordesman says in the book. It has several directorates — for Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories and Jordan; Afghanistan, Pakistan and India; Turkey and the Arabian Peninsula; North Africa; and Europe and North America, Cordesman writes. It has operatives in many embassies abroad, he says, and runs Iran’s training camps for unconventional warfare.

Buried within is a tidbit I haven’t seen before: apparently, Iran thought the five Quds Force members we captured at Irbil were going to be released on March 21, the start of the Iranian New Year. Why they thought we would do that is utterly beyond me, but there may be something to it. After all, the sailors were taken only 48 hours later.


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by promising that the Royal Navy will never knowingly enter Iranian waters without permission

Didn’t the UK already promise this in 2004?

Will Iran promise to obey UN laws in the meantime, by not seizing vessels that happen into their territory? Or will it promise not to parade future captives on TV and falsify statements?

lorien1973 on March 31, 2007 at 7:37 PM

The Brits are gonna let Iran save face, and will promise never to enter Iranian waters.

amerpundit on March 31, 2007 at 7:39 PM

The Iranians will jerk back the bait at the last moment, then just laugh at the impotent Brits.

laelaps on March 31, 2007 at 7:48 PM

We promise we’ll never knowingly enter Iranian waters.

We’ll go with aerial bombardment, instead.

flipflop on March 31, 2007 at 7:50 PM

So Iran lets the hostage go and immediately changes its claim of territorial waters to include much of what is now Iraqi waters and the Brits can’t say squat because they have promised to never knowingly enter Iranian waters without permission. Great. Now all we need are a few more years of negotiations over just exactly what the boundaries are and then the hostages will be set free, right?

crosspatch on March 31, 2007 at 7:52 PM

the British are now officially *****ies
God help hte Queen

Defector01 on March 31, 2007 at 8:03 PM

british people scared of iran?

lorien1973 on March 31, 2007 at 8:04 PM

Well, it’s official, we’re down one ally.

billy on March 31, 2007 at 8:17 PM

My question… who was in Operational Command OVER the CO of the Frigate?

UN Operation? Bet it was an American… this is our problem, not just theirs.

Romeo13 on March 31, 2007 at 8:20 PM

Appeasement is capitulation.

infidel on March 31, 2007 at 8:20 PM

I’d dare say things would poll better if you just sampled Democrats in America.

frankj on March 31, 2007 at 8:22 PM

It’s been years since I was in the UK, sad how wussiefied they have become. Will Blair wear a Burka for the UTube apology?

Buzzy on March 31, 2007 at 8:37 PM

You know…….. the drama, the drama…… playing into Iran’s hands once again…

I have an other possible senario….. one that Iran has not prepared for.

Let’s send a third Aircraft Carrier to the Gulf, this time with a contigent of Australian Marines along side America’s finest Marines, SEAL’s, and other Special Forces.

Have them board the ships and patrol the borders. Not one woman amoung them, except in the attack planes and hellicopters over head.

The next time an Iranian patrol comes close to a US/Australian joint Special Forces patrol, the commanders won’t call home to say “Blimey, what should we do”…… I believe “Open Fire!” would be the command…………

TAKE THE GLOVES OFF!

PinkyBigglesworth on March 31, 2007 at 9:00 PM

Great … by caving into something that Iran started, they’re inviting more of the same. Thanks for emboldening these nutjobs even further A Shadow of Your Former Self Britain.

darwin on March 31, 2007 at 9:17 PM

America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It…the man knows.

The sequence to the book (by a European journalist) I just finished reading “Hurrah, we capitulate” should be “Hurrah, we capitulated”.

Entelechy on March 31, 2007 at 9:29 PM

Why should anyone be afraid or care? Here’s our leadership of today.

Entelechy on March 31, 2007 at 10:23 PM

Why would their leader have ordered the operation if he was going to panic a week later when Britain inevitably took umbrage?

Maybe he’s a fan of The View and googled the Gulf of Tonkin….

elgeneralisimo on March 31, 2007 at 11:50 PM

They’re practically apologizing already: “The message I want to send is I think everyone regrets that this position has arisen.”

Practically? By Cynthia McKinney and most other lefty loons that is an apology.

smellthecoffee on March 31, 2007 at 11:57 PM

IMO they are just playing…

As long as this goes on, the price of oil goes up… which they need to sustain their crappy economy.

Saudi has already said they will not increase production to lower prices….

Romeo13 on April 1, 2007 at 12:21 AM

As soon as the hostages are returned- Strike!strong>

Every Iranian ship, sunk.

And send an apology for overlooking any that were missed.

profitsbeard on April 1, 2007 at 12:33 AM

After some thought, I am hoping for a differnet scenario….

The mullahs (and no, I will not capitalize the “m”), are thinking……….”uh, oh….”

You know, sometimes what you ask for, you get it, but not exactly in the way you want.

Russia balks, the UN “sanctions”, the United States “reinforces”, sure…. violence in Iraq in response to “The Surge” is up, BUT “The Surge” is working….. President Bush is not backing down, the “eye” of the “world”, what ever that may be is on you, you have to “re-edit”, and “re-send” the British Sailors message everyday, your economy is starting to faulter, you have dissent within, and we know where your one (1) gasoline refinery is, and they have no clue where the British and US Attack Subs are that just might cause a little “hitch in their get along”……..

Sleep well…….

Sure, we know you want to bring that “guy” out of the well, but, “hey son, are you ready to do it today?”

PinkyBigglesworth on April 1, 2007 at 1:15 AM

Just to stir the pot….here is a comment from the BBC article on the hostages yesterday…..this guy gets a BBQ….
‘If I was Iranian and reading all these comments I would be so happy to see the lack of unity from the so called ‘British’ public, we are certainly an unpatriotic lot, what must our armed forces think of the people back at home? I shudder at the comments we would receive. I think that we should say to Iran that we will exchange our fifteen service personnel for the countless lot of ‘yellow-bellied’ do gooders we have in the UK, they would quick change their tunes when they arrive in Iran.’
N**** B****, Hartlepool, United Kingdom

I ***d his name for obvious reasons

Limerick on April 1, 2007 at 1:21 AM

Let’s see. We have British sailors and Iranian kidnappers. How long will it be, I fear, before BOTH countries (and the entire UN) blame America for the incident?

MaiDee on April 1, 2007 at 1:28 AM

Look….I understand everyone looking over their shoulder at Britian. Sorta like everyone looks over their shoulder at me. But I’m telling ya I have family in England and Ireland…everyone of them feels the same way….

‘I’ll make you shorter by the head’ -Queen Elizabeth I

Just cause the commies have the media and the government doesn’t mean these guys don’t want a tussle….they gave us a pretty good run for our money in a couple of wars. These people are our allies……most of em anyway. Galloway isn’t England anymore then E-mu is America.

Limerick on April 1, 2007 at 1:45 AM

I am working on a short story, let me know what you think about it………..

“….. it has been week now, since the British soldiers and Marines were “taken” off the waters in the Gulf. No need to speculate, our Government, the Iranian Government planned this, they had to.

No one knows the truth anymore, from the Iranian News, the European News, even the American News, unless you can pay for cable, it’s all the same.

3:15 AM, on the dot….. a knock on the door…… my wife, my children are all looking at me with scarred, watery eyes, I try to be strong, but this is the moment of truth…..

I unlock the door, slowly turn the handle, …….. an eternity passes while the old, rusty hinges give way, and there, in the dark hallway,…….. my brother’s son, in uniform, gun in hand, his patrol………………… and their families.

We are going! Thousands of us, in different directions, a new definition of “MidNight Run”, all heading for the same place……………. “…just get the fu#k out of here!”blockquote>

PinkyBigglesworth on April 1, 2007 at 1:55 AM

Pinky……??? you ok??? Just askin….I musta missed something here. Sorry but I dunt understand.

Limerick on April 1, 2007 at 2:13 AM

Limerick on April 1, 2007 at 2:13 AM

Maybe it was a long day with a sick little 4 1/2, but in re-reading everything going on, you know we are not getting the full picture, especially INSIDE Iran,…….

Who knows, would we ever hear of the true dissent going on, or the fear that Iranians have of the consequences, or the Love they have for their children……….?

I was trying to put it into a “Hunt for the Red October” senario…… given the amount of defections already.

Our American “Free” Press won’t give us the facts, President Bush is still in power…….

PinkyBigglesworth on April 1, 2007 at 2:23 AM

Limerick on April 1, 2007 at 2:13 AM

By the way, thanks for the feed back……. mabye that explains why I haven’t published……. :O)

PinkyBigglesworth on April 1, 2007 at 2:25 AM

Hey PinkyBigglesworth……got a six pack left, and I think there are some ribs in the fridge….

Damn! I broke my promise to Allah…I just realized that it is April 1 and I said I would avoid him today……Here come the Fred! headlines!(It is self preservation..I’m sure they will knock some of the colesteral loose.

Enjoy your evening Pinky.

Limerick on April 1, 2007 at 2:35 AM

blockquote>Limerick on April 1, 2007 at 2:35 AM

Thanks Limerick, you do the same……… see you in print!

Say “Hi” to “Fred and the Mrs.”!

PinkyBigglesworth on April 1, 2007 at 2:43 AM

I blogged about Victor Davis Hanson’s omniscient understanding of the meaning of this most current “hostage crisis” here:

The Art of War, or How Europe Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Submission

Sigh. And so it begins…

wordwarp on April 1, 2007 at 3:07 AM

I blogged about Victor Davis Hanson’s omniscient

understanding of the meaning of this most current “hostage crisis” here:

The Art of War, or How Europe Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Submission

Sigh. And so it begins…

wordwarp on April 1, 2007 at 3:07 AM

Excellent post, EVERYONE, in my opinion, would gain knowledge in reading the link……… again, wordwarp, spot on!

PinkyBigglesworth on April 1, 2007 at 3:16 AM

With a muslim army already established in the UK, is there much the Brits can do except grovel? And hooked as we are on muslim oil aren’t we next in line?

dhimwit on April 1, 2007 at 5:34 AM

This quote makes no sense:

“Major-General Yahya Rahim Safavi is said to have told the country’s Supreme National Security Council on Friday that the situation was “getting out of control” and urged its members to consider the immediate release of the prisoners to defuse tension in the Gulf…”

To the contrair: they are in control.

I can understand completley the desire to want to just go in guns blazing and everything else be damned. There’s a lot of plotting going on and if something like that happened, sort of a major knee jerk, it could come out a whole lot worse. Remember, Saudi Arabia is the country that hates the Jooooooos the most, funds many a terrorist org and is home to the meanest madrassa schools in the area.

Its more than just Iran. Patience, for a time, is important prior to the final solution.

auspatriotman on April 1, 2007 at 10:12 AM

I hate to say “I told you so,” but …. I’ve been saying all along that military force was never a viable option for Tony Blair.

Anyone who thought that the Brits were capable of doing anything more than trying to talk their way out of this situation doesn’t understand that “talk” is the only card they have to play:

- They don’t have the military force capable of undertaking meaningful action far from their own territory (at least not without America taking the lead); and

- They lack the popular and political fortitude to take independent military action, even if the capability existed.

This is the perfect encapsulation of “The European Way” when it comes to dealing with aggressive regimes: eschew military strength as the province of the “cowboy” Americans, and try instead to jawbone the aggressors into submission – but in the end the only ones submitting are the Europeans themselves.

Jonah Goldberg at National Review summmed up the Euro Way best by making the following comparison: If you have very little cash but lots of food stamps, it comes as no surprise that you want to buy more and more things with food stamps. Just like if you have very little military capability but a surplus of diplomatic hot air, you want to resolve more and more problems by “talk” than by action.

Q.E.D.

Spurius Ligustinus on April 1, 2007 at 11:03 AM

The Iranians have gambled, correctly, that the Europeon Union is a farce. It will not stand together, except against its own internal dissension and surrender policies.

On the same week that 15 Europeons are held hostage by what are the enablers of Jihadists, they make rules that way you can’t use the word Jihadist…

Romeo13 on April 1, 2007 at 12:34 PM

Haven’t read it yet but I wanted to get the link up before Drudge does.

Allah, you don’t need to compete with Drudge. He delivers the mail, you add interest and perspective. Each has its place, but I would suggest that the latter has greater value over time.

LB - the one that isn't LaShawn Barber on April 1, 2007 at 12:51 PM

WWTD?

What would Thatcher do?

Mojave Mark on April 1, 2007 at 12:55 PM

Buried within is a tidbit I haven’t seen before: apparently, Iran thought the five Quds Force members we captured at Irbil were going to be released on March 21, the start of the Iranian New Year. Why they thought we would do that is utterly beyond me, but there may be something to it. After all, the sailors were taken only 48 hours later.

I might suggest a much more conventional explanation for the timing. March 21 is also the start of the Iranian government’s fiscal year. Their budgets have been increasingly dependent on oil revenue. Other sectors of their economy are in decline. World oil prices were below the price estimated when the budget was created which would cause an even greater budget shortfall. Reserve funds have been almost completely depleted. This was done to get oil prices up on world markets.

Iran realizes there is no down side for them in this. They can hold those hostages forever and the Brits aren’t going to do anything about it. When they need to boost oil prices a little, they trot out a new hostage video or announce some news development in their nuclear program. This is basically all theater designed to modulate the prices on oil markets to keep the Iranian government solvent.

They can push as close to the line as possible and can continue to do so forever because Britain doesn’t have the will to do anything about it. I would not be surprised if they take additional hostages from other countries too or use some of the hostages for political gain such as by turning over two or three to, say, Pelosi in Syria. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see Iran hand over the female hostage to Pelosi to stir the political pot in the US.

They know that nobody is ever going to do anything to them for this. The only effective counter to this would be for global news organizations to just stop reporting on it but they Iranians know that is never going to happen. But if the media were to stop enabling the Iranians by allowing themselves to be used as a tool of the Iranians, there would be no utility for holding the hostages and they would be released.

crosspatch on April 1, 2007 at 3:41 PM

Excellent post, EVERYONE, in my opinion, would gain knowledge in reading the link……… again, wordwarp, spot on!

PinkyBigglesworth on April 1, 2007 at 3:16 AM

Thanks Pinky – though it’s really sad that such a column has to be written. Excuse my unPC post-postmodernism, but are there no more red-blooded men left in Europe?

wordwarp on April 1, 2007 at 4:47 PM

Thanks Pinky – though it’s really sad that such a column has to be written. Excuse my unPC post-postmodernism, but are there no more red-blooded men left in Europe?

wordwarp on April 1, 2007 at 4:47 PM

Shame…….. you are right! Go

PinkyBigglesworth on April 2, 2007 at 3:12 AM

If anyone reads this far down, please read this AP, maybe add this link as an update?

rightside on April 2, 2007 at 9:21 AM

No question, Britain is afraid. One minister recently wrote a Saudi prince: “After the train bombing in London , we dutifully enacted the legislation you demanded which would make it a hate-crime for anyone in Britain to criticize Islam.” Britain has shown its fear. Arabia has seen Anglo cravenness and weakness. England is bowing to a new monarch. It seeks not victory but good will and acceptance. “We’ll be good, just leave us alone.” We won’t even fire at those taking our men — if the kidnappers are Islamic. We’ll fight Argentines — because we aren’t afraid of them, they won’t behead us in London and, most of all, we don’t feel guilty when fighting others of European, Christian ancestry.

Quote from the above piece. Talk about Dhimmitude.

rightside on April 2, 2007 at 9:22 AM