Iran Seizes 3 British Ships And 8 Crew

If Afghanistan and Iraq were the first two theaters in the war on terror, Iran today is making a bold gamble that it will not be the third as it deliberately provokes the coalition.

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran seized three British naval boats Monday, which it said had entered its waters near the Iraqi border, and arrested eight British crew.

Britain reported it had “lost contact” with military personnel in the narrow Shatt al-Arab waterway between Iran and Iraq and later said they were being held by Iran.

“We can confirm that eight Royal Navy personnel from the Royal Navy training team based in southern Iraq have been detained by the Iranian authorities while delivering a boat from Umm Qsar to Basra,” Britain’s Ministry of Defense said.

A Defense Ministry spokesman said Britons were in the area helping to train Iraqi police.

While Tehran was deeply opposed to the U.S.-led war and occupation of Iraq, there has been little direct conflict up to now between the Shi’ite Muslim state and foreign forces along its western border.

The incident is likely to place further strain on Tehran’s ties with London, which last week joined other European nations in condemning Iran for being less than fully cooperative with inspectors from the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog.Wretchard at Belmont Club says the enemy offensive has begun:

…the seizure of the Royal Navy patrol vessels is surprising because it represents a public and unilateral escalation by Iran. As a political statement, it must rank with Iranian hostage crisis of 1979, which was calculatingly delivered against a weak Jimmy Carter. It is an indication of how politically emasculated the Mullahs think the Coalition is, that they should have attempted this at all. Shortly after the conclusion of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Mullahs were practically trembling on their thrones. But now they smile; the BBC has done its work well.

Lt. Smash (who has had run-in’s with the captors) gives the background information you need, but don’t see in most other stories.

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