Well, Iran must be getting ready for some open conflict if they’re taking hostages from Western governments. After all, that tactic served them well in the past.
Back in 1979, when the current government of Iran was still “revolutionary” and heady after chasing out the dying Shah, they got drunk on the rush of power and decided to challenge America openly by siezing our embassy in Tehran and taking our people hostage. It worked pretty well, too — in the end, they managed to help bring down Jimmy Carter and cast a pall on our standing in the region that lasts, in some respects, to this day.
So, with a confrontation with the West again looming large, Iran figured it’d dust off its old tactic once again and grabbed 15 British sailors and marines from the waterway between Iran and Iraq. Charging that they had “violated” Iranian waters, they were taken from their launch, hauled back to Iran, and brought to Tehran to face charges of espionage.
There is also the possibility that they were taken as a form of “tit for tat” for the arrest of numerous Iranian military figures inside Iraq, who are charged with aiding and abetting the terrorists. The Iranian government’s referral to their British prisoners as “insurgents” adds weight to the theory that they might be offered in exchange for the Iranians.
The only problem with this tactic is that while Tony Blair is no Winston Churchill, he’s even less of a Jimmy Carter.And while he’s a “lame duck,” he’s no chicken.
Iran should look a bit more closely at British history. While the Empire is nowhere near the power it once was, or even was a mere 25 years ago, they don’t take kindly to attempts at extortion or humiliation or outright brigandage. While Blair, as I said, is no Winston Churchill, he is far more Thatcheresque than Chamberlainian — I believe he will fight back rather than acquiesce.
Another blogger e-mailed me a comparison between the current situation and the Falkland Islands War of 1982, but I can’t seem to find the article he was referring to. Nonetheless, it’s an interesting point of comparison — a nation finding the courage to challenge Great Britain openly, hoping that anti-war sentiments, geography, and logistics will bring the Lion to heel. And we all know how well that turned out, especially once it was clear that the United States was providing “assistance” to the British.
Iran, perhaps out of desperation from the UN Security Council’s vote on Friday, has decided to raise the stakes and try to forestall an attack by taking these British hostages. I fear that they have managed to throw oil on the flames, and pretty much guaranteed that should military actions be taken, the British will proudly be in the forefront. Indeed, select military strikes by the British might now be far more likely — and more justified in the eyes of the world, who have looked away at prior Iranian provocations.
Methinks this would be a bad time to be an insurance underwriter for Iranian assets such as offshore drilling platforms, refineries, and military installations.