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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Friday, March 23, 2007

An interesting game Iran is playing, with a couple of minor cards being played today.
The first, and largest, was the arrest and seizure of 15 British Marines and Naval personell, as they conducted what has become a 'routine search' proceedure of the Shatt al Arab, the waterway dividing Iran from Iraq..
It's a narrow waterway. But these parols by the British Navy have become so SOP, that when they stopped the ship they wanted to search, they were most certainly in Iraqi waters. The HMS Cornwall is not some clapped out old tub, assigned to a duty comprable to the USS Caine. It is a state-of-the-art frigate, with navigation equiptment capable of drawing a line accurate to a centimetre, down the demarkation strip, which defines Itaqi from Iranian waters.
Therefore, Tehran 'knew' they were provoking a reaction from the West, and to remind us that while most of the attention in Iraq is being aimed at the United States, that Britain is involved.
It also states unequicovably, that Iran is too.
Also doesn't hurt that the price of oil has hit a four-month high on the British markets..
But the reason behind this military action, blatently illegal action, is to remind us that should there be military action aimed at Iran, they'll be ready.
It is a calculated action, which will start the question circulating as to whether Tehran already has a red button, and whether or not they'll be willing to use it.
Or, whether they have the supplies now, to continue with their development program towards nuclear capabilities, and still have enough to sell to terrorists, and whether or not they'd risk losing that much respect among their peers, if they stooped so low..
The last time British servicemen were detained by Iranian officials, they were degraded. Treated with techniques I'm sure they'd love to be able to use at Gitmo. Forced to make public apologies on Iranian national television. But, with perhaps the worst being forced to kneel in a ditch, blindfolded, while having AK-47's fired on command over their heads, those servicemen were released, 'unharmed'.
Tehran is not unaware that we know their arrests and seizures were illegal. But Ahmadenejad and Khamaini are well aware of the fact that we are bound by our culture, not to react in kind, but to be 'diplomatic'.
In the meatime, while Israel went to war over the kidnapping of 'one' soldier, we, with our overwhelming might, will talk.
They know this.
The second, seemingly smaller card played, is Ahmadenejad's refusal to make an appearance before the UN Security Council later today..Saturday.
The Iranian President says the necissary visas for his flight crew 'came too late', due to American manufactured delays.
Now, the State Department says the visas were provided some time ago, and the President and his entourage would be granted access to the US, but, says Ahmadenejad, it's too late...
Even when it was pointed out by the Chinese delegate, that a vote will not be taken at this meeting, merely the 'setting' of a date.. I was too late.
This is a meeting at which the possibility of further sanctions will be placed against Iran, and is of intense importance to the West, because in effect, it will be the Iranian man on the street who will eventually feel the pinch of any further economic cutbacks, and that will only fuel the already blazing hatred most of the Middle East has, for the Great Satan.
This is something we would like to diplomatically avoid.
Jesus wept.
This is a game those in the Levant have been perfecting since we were running about wearing woad.
Rather than the Califf attending himself, this meeting of infidels who would pass judgement on those chosen by Allah, as promised by His Prophet Muhammad(Blessed be His Name).. he will send a lesser official.. the Iranian Foreign Minister and an aide, will travel by commercial airflight.
It appears their visas were available.
And this official, will not have the answers to the questions the Security Council needs, to effectively make a 'just' decision on further sanctions. These sanctions, to be voted on, involve the sale of arms internationally, and the freezing of assets of some Iranian individuals, and companies abroad.
It is amazing, that in this day and age of western 'self-awareness', that these ancient, traditional, transparent diplomatic tricks still symie us.
Perhaps it has something to do with the 'collective guilt syndrome' suffered by the West, which has prospered, to allow that which we allow in the Middle East, and in Africa.
But, if this capture of British servicemen and their inevidable mistreatment and release, and this obvious diversion of a sanctions issue by the Iranian President does not provoke in us, at least a sense of derision for those who would play such games, then something is wrong.
It's reminiscent of that line from Dudley Moore in 'Beyond the Fringe'..
"Yes, we stood their and drank his champaign, and ate his caviar, while sniggering openly, behind our hands..".
Of course, the timing of this is perfect.
George is finding how limited his powers are relative Iraq are now, with the loss of the House and the Senate..
And we in Britain are waiting with 'bated breath, for the date to be announced at which Tony will step down, and Gordon Brown will take power..
And the UN.. is the UN.. subject to diplomacy first and to the end, and dependant on a majority vote.
Seems we have a ring of oil through our diplomatic noses, and at least Iran, is willing to pull it..

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