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Subject: Ok so maybe I should wait until the sailors are on UK soil, but I have to know...what now?
ProDemocracy    4/4/2007 10:35:09 AM
Do we just politely thank the Iranians for releasing (after 10 days) men and women they should have never kidnapped in the first place? Or is there a resulting military response against the Iranian navy?
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YelliChink       4/4/2007 11:59:36 AM
I think that the first priority is to modify ROE so that the crew are allow to shoot back had this happens again. The tactics also need to be reviewed. It is evident that sending RHIBs into harms way doesn't make sense anymore, but the USN and the RN don't have much corvettes, while USCG's cutters seem to be in trouble. Aussies sure have some good boats, but they are just too few to be spared. Where are the Pegasus boats when you need them?
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CardEE       4/4/2007 3:44:01 PM

There is no will for military action against Iran in any western nation.  You could barely get the publics attention when they were holding military hostages.  This whole incident will be framed as an understandable mistake precipitated by US aggression against the Iranian people.   Additionally, the Iranians are scoring countless media points for their “nobility” in returning the hostages unharmed. 

Already we’ve seen two major news stories that call out the US as the final cause for the hostage situation.  Both the Independent article that was discussed yesterday and another story implying US sponsorship of terrorist organizations attacking Iranian targets laid the blame at the doorstep of the US.  These stories broke in western media sources, WHILE the Iranians still paraded hostages on TV.  The US took as much flak as the Iranians for their actions!

We don’t even know what backroom deal sprung the release.  I give it a 50/50 shot that the 5 Iranian detainees in US custody get released sometime in the next two months after the US has ascertained their “innocence”.  As far as I can tell, the Iranian leadership has paid no price but has gained enormous domestic prestige from this episode.  Even the EU couldn’t be bothered to support one of their own, and the US congress couldn’t even issue a worthless condemnation.  The lack of any credible response by the west will ensure these provocative actions not only continue, but escalate.  Ironically, I believe action against Iran now would play far less favorably than before the entire crisis happened.  The moment has passed.

At the end of the day, I think the last few days have ensured that the Iranians will get nuclear weapons and there isn’t anything that the west will do to stop it.  The will of the people and the political ruling elites just does not exist.  Very sad.


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neutralizer       4/5/2007 3:56:53 AM
The informed view (and not only in UK) is that UK has come out of this ahead on points, diplomatic success is the polite term.  The Iranians were after Brits grovelling, in fact all they got is a rant by themselves and weak attempt at face saving (awarding medals to their 'heroes').  Oh, yes, they'll probably keep the equipment they've nicked and try to play up the use of mothers in the RN.
The Iranians sought an apology, and haven't got it.  One view is that the hardliners in Iran have been stopped by more moderate elements in the Iranian govt probably for a number of reasons, starting with a distinct lack of international support, and the prospect of increasing pressure. 
What is unclear is the internal background to the affair.  Was it just an RG initiative, and if so at what level, or did it have wider support, if so was this only limited to hardliners.  There's a heap of unanswered questions about motives and intentions.
There's no obvious need to change RoI (except in the view of those in the west who are keen to inflame an already delicate situation by in effect encouraging boarding parties to open fire at any Iranians who appear over the horizon) but I do think they need to revise the operating procedures when boarding vessels close to Iranian waters.  As for needing bigger ships or something, nonsense (anyway the UK's ultra-modern patrol ships are committed elsewhere and ships of this type just don't have the combat suite to cope with any escalation).  Of course they could stick to using Type 23s and do all boarding vertically from a Merlin.  Or maybe put the party aboard by boat but take them off by heli, or just a rear-guard with firepower taken off by heli.
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Yimmy       4/5/2007 7:46:44 PM

The informed view (and not only in UK)

What is the "informed view" worth to a 3rd world dictatorship?  The answer of course is nothing.  Our weak response, though full of political cunning, is inviting open house upon ourselves in the future from those who are not aware of, or do not understand the "informed view", and instead just sawe the Iranians kidnapping some British servicemen and getting away with it un-bombed.

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Zerbrechen    Solution   4/5/2007 10:47:18 PM
     Simple, you bait a trap.  Down the road when another big UN meeting is coming up regarding Iran you get you trap in place without it looking like a trap.  When the Iranians use this tactic again, you drop the hammer.  Sink their boats on the Iraqi side and take any survivors into custody.
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neutralizer       4/6/2007 5:29:08 AM
'3rd World' is not synonymous with lack of political smarts.  And UK's vigourous response in Sierra Leone doesn't seem to have influenced Teheran.  IIRC it was Eden who said 'circumstances dear boy, circumstances'.  And it always depends on the circumstances, in other words on planet Earth goverments will act as they read the situation and circumstances are always different.  IIRC the last time UK went to war because johnny foreigner mistreated a Briton it was the War of Jenkin's Ear in the mid 18th Century.  Since that time assorted foreigners have from time to time grabbed British soldiers in varous circumstances and murdered them, Jews, Irish, Arabs and Afghans come to mind (ie all the normal suspects), however, there was usually an 'armed conflict' in progress. Naming a non-belligerent party seriously mis-behaving is a bit more difficult.
The point is Iran is not a belligerent state, never mind 'enemy' of UK.  The UK government quite rightly wants to keep it that way (or change in circumstances of their choosing).   
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Yimmy       4/6/2007 11:31:38 AM

The point is Iran is not a belligerent state,

Erm.... yes they are?

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appleciderus       4/6/2007 11:44:47 AM
Both sides will claim a moral victory, but the truth is Iran has suffered no penalty that would prevent additional banditry and/or piracy. There is no penalty for ignoring international agreements. Until consequences prevent Iran from repeating this behavior, we can all sit tight waiting for the next event. For surely it is coming.
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YelliChink       4/6/2007 11:46:57 AM

And after their capture the 15 marines and sailors were subjected to random interrogation and rough handling, and faced constant psychological pressure.

Where are the Amnesty International when you need them?
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reefdiver       4/6/2007 12:21:48 PM
Its great to see the soldiers now denying they were in Iranian water.
Hopefully they'll get enough press time to keep the west outraged at Iran's actions.
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