Only in the Middle East could there be popular anger at the victims of their own kidnappings. “Eight small blasts” were spotted according to the Times of London, which attributes them to “firecrackers.” Microvideo at the Beeb, photos at Yahoo. This one’s my favorite because it’s such a nice microcosm of the duality, and absurdity, of the terror state: both sides there are creations of, and answer to, the regime. It’s the good cop/bad cop dynamic synthesized in one frame.

The embassy protest is getting the headlines but there are other maneuvers afoot today to escalate it. News is breaking as I write this that state TV’s set to air more sailors’ confessions. They’ve also sent a letter to Britain formally protesting the incident outside their offices in Basra last week. As you may recall, British troops were ambushed on the same street as the Iranian consulate, perhaps not coincidentally; they returned fire, which Iran maintains wasn’t in response to an ambush at all but was designed to intimidate the diplomatic staff. Now, today, Iranian TV is claiming another violation of its territory — this time by the U.S., when two of our jets supposedly entered Iranian airspace briefly while flying over Iraq. The military denies it. I can’t believe they’d use that as a pretext to seize any of our guys, but it does help ratchet up nationalist sentiment and feed the fantasy that they’re the aggrieved party in all this. Which may be useful right now: the IDF’s head of intel told the Israeli cabinet a few hours ago that Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah are preparing — defensively, he stressed — for an expected U.S. attack, so this could be part of those preparations. Either that or they’re planning to launch an attack of their own somewhere and want to be sure the public reads it as retaliation instead of aggression, particularly given the consequences that will follow.

Captain Ed thinks the regime’s going to let the protesters storm the embassy eventually, which of course would put all sides on a war footing. I’m skeptical, but if it does happen it could happen on Tuesday. That’s when Ahmadinejad’s holding his press conference on this so that would be the time to egg them on.

While all this is happening, Britain’s busy apologizing for the loss of life during the Falklands War and British TV is getting set to air fictional propaganda of British soldiers pissing on Iraqis in Basra. Super.

Update: Here’s the new hostage video. Keep the conciliation coming, Tony.