Monday, March 26, 2007

Trap? Counter-Trap? Iran Crisis Deepens: We Must Stop This Now!!

Tensions between Iran and the UK haven't lessened any since my last post on the topic; quite the opposite, in fact. Here's a snippet of the latest news, from the UK's Times Online: Iran rebuffs Blair’s plea for release of captives
The Iranian Foreign Minister accused a group of captured British servicemen last night of having committed an act of “aggression”, only hours after Tony Blair appealed for their release.

“The charge against them is their illegal entrance into Iranian territorial waters,” Manouchehr Mottaki, the Foreign Minister, told a press conference in New York.

In a telephone conversation with Mr Mottaki last night Margaret Beckett, the [UK] Foreign Secretary, “made extremely clear our view that our personnel were operating in Iraqi waters, called for their immediate return, and asked for immediate consular access to them”, a spokesman said.

But Mr Mottaki told the conference that Iran had already provided British officials with details, including GPS coordinates, of the servicemen’s arrest. The British Ambassador to Tehran was summoned to the Foreign Ministry to explain why 15 service personnel in two inflatable boats had strayed into Iranian territorial waters.
OOPS! GPS coordinates? This could get icky.

As you might expect, Larisa Alexandrovna is very concerned. At her blog, At-Largely, she writes: Iran crisis grows:
We are in a very serious situation with the Iran/UK stand-off on the 15 soldiers and marines who were allegedly (according to Iranian officials) found in Iranian waters - which would violate international law. The UK account was that the 15 Brits were in Iraqi water and that the Iranians took them hostage. The problem is, the UK has yet to release evidence showing the position of Iranian ships in Iraqi water, which leads me to suspect that Western version of events is not accurate. Although apparently this minor issue of evidence seems to have eluded the corporate press.

Anyone following my reporting on what the US has been doing inside Iran - for several years now - sees right away why the Iranians would be concerned about foreign elements in their territory. The fourth estate has resumed its role in selling us a war by omitting relevant facts, such as US covert activities inside Iran, and by not asking the tough questions, such as, where is the evidence that the Iranians were in Iraqi waters?
And forgive me for saying so, but ... ahem ... what if they weren't? What if the Brits were in Iranian waters when they were captured?

Would that make any difference at all at this point?

Or have we left reality in the dust again?

As usual, Justin Raimondo has just a few thoughts on the matter: The Coming War With Iran: Is it inevitable?
The timing of the recent incident in which 15 British sailors were arrested by Iran at the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab waterway for purportedly entering Iranian waters couldn't have been more provocative if it had been planned that way. And perhaps it was. The question is, however, who did the planning?

We are supposed to believe that the Iranians entered Iraqi waters to "ambush" the Brits, who were engaged in what is described as a "routine" patrol of the disputed waterway in search of suspected smugglers. Car smugglers were offloading their merchandise onto a barge when they were approached by the Brit patrol and fled into Iranian waters – but not before "irking" the British crew:

"The suspected smugglers complied with the British orders and the crew returned to its rigid hull inflatable boats (rhibs) to continue its patrol, only to turn around and see the traders laughing in its direction."

Laughing at Her Majesty's sailors, who were guarding the civilized world from the pernicious plots of car smugglers, was surely an act of war. After all, isn't a car a "weapon of mass destruction" in present-day Iraq? The Brits weren't going to let the Iranians off the hook quite so easily, and the next day they returned to the same waters to find the same smugglers plying their trade. The British patrol made a beeline for the smugglers, but this time the smugglers didn't run – and the poor naïve Brits walked right into the trap. No sooner had they boarded the vessel than they were surrounded on all sides by Iranian gunboats. Last anybody heard of their fate, they were in Tehran and the Iranians were talking about putting them on trial for espionage.

The Iraqi commander in charge of guarding Iraq's territorial waters, Brig. Gen. Hakim Jassim, has a different story to tell, as reported here:

"The Iraqi military commander of the country's territorial waters cast doubt on claims the Britons were in Iraqi waters. 'We were informed by Iraqi fishermen after they had returned from sea that there were British gunboats in an area that is out of Iraqi control. We don't know why they were there.'"

Ah, but I suppose it depends on which fisherman you ask. At any rate, no fisherman in the area will be interviewed by anyone in the Western news media any time soon, because, as the UK Independent notes, all reporters have been "ordered away" by coalition forces.

The Lobby is pushing hard on this one, and, politically, the War Party has lined up the leadership of both the Democrats and the Republicans, as Pelosi's capitulation on the Iran proviso makes all too clear. As long as domestic political support for an attack spans both parties and includes the key element of "liberal" Democrats like Pelosi and Chairman Dean, all systems are "go" for war with Iran.
Well ... all systems may be "go", but that doesn't make it inevitable. Maybe we can stop it before it starts! And if we can, we must!!

Here's the House of Representatives. You can find your Representative using the search box at the top left corner.

And here's the Senate. You have two Senators and you can find them using the box at the top right corner.

Please contact these people TODAY and tell them not to attack Iran! And read this post for more good background and action suggestions.

Does it seem hopeless? Not quite. Things may look grim, but there's still a chance to prevent a disastrous war.

We'll never know what we can do until we try. And millions of lives are at stake.

The Senate. The House. Please!