Updating on my previous three pieces on Iran found here, here and here, things are moving along pretty fast now it seems.
The UK is revealing the evidence, from satellite data, that the Navy personnel and Marines that were kidnapped by Iran were 1.7 nautical miles inside Iraq waters at the time of their capture. (Via BBC)
The UK forces were based on the HMS Cornwall and as you can see from the map it was well within Iraq waters, thus disproving Irans false claims that they had entered Iranian waters.
At a briefing in London, the Ministry of Defence said it "unambiguously contested" Iran's claims that the Royal Navy personnel had strayed into Iranian waters.
Speaking later, Mr Blair told MPs it was time to increase pressure on Iran "in order to make sure the Iranian government understands their total isolation on this issue".
The seizure of the personnel was "unacceptable, wrong and illegal" and the UK was now in talks with all its key allies and partners, he said.
America, being one of those key allies and partners is also showing that we stand with the UK on this issue and according to Wapo, we have "flexed" our muscles in the Persian Gulf.
ABOARD THE USS JOHN C. STENNIS -- American warplanes screamed off two aircraft carriers Tuesday as the U.S. Navy staged its largest show of force in the Persian Gulf since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, launching a mammoth exercise meant as a message to the Iranians.
"These maneuvers demonstrate our flexibility and capability to respond to threats to maritime security," said Navy Lt. John Perkins, 32, of Louisville, Ky., as the Stennis cruised about 80 miles off the United Arab Emirates after entering the Persian Gulf overnight.
"They're showing we can keep the maritime environment safe and the vital link to the global economy open."
Britain has also stepped up pressure on Iran by freezing all ties with Tehran until the British hostages are released.
After five days of discreet but fruitless diplomacy, the offensive began with a press conference at the MoD at which Vice-Admiral Charles Style published satellite coordinates proving that seven Royal Marines and eight sailors were 1.7 nautical miles inside Iraqi waters when they were "ambushed".
He was backed up by the Prime Minister and by Margaret Beckett, the Foreign Secretary, who told MPs that Britain was immediately freezing all bilateral ties with Iran - except for contacts directly concerning the seized personnel.
"They should not be under any doubt at all about how seriously we regard this act, which is unjustified and wrong," Mrs Beckett said.
In apparent response, Iran said that Leading Seaman Faye Turney, the only female detainee, would soon be released. "Today or tomorrow, the lady will be released," Manouchehr Mottaki, the Foreign Minister, said on the sidelines of an Arab summit in Riyadh.
Vice-Admiral Style, Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff, displayed nautical charts showing the position of the group when they were seized. Vice-Admiral Style said that their coordinates had been confirmed by the skipper of an Indian-registered merchant vessel that the sailors had just inspected when they were seized.
The Navy chief said that the group were engaged in routine anti-smuggling patrols under a UN Security Council mandate at the time, operating with the authorisation of Baghdad.
He also accused the Iranians of having changed their story over the weekend after being told that the coordinates Tehran initially gave for the incident showed that the patrol boats were in Iraqi waters.
"It is hard to understand a legitimate reason for this change of coordinates," he said. "In any case, we unambiguously contest both coordinates given by the Iranians."
Their exact postition - 29' 50.36" N, 048' 43.08"E - was confirmed by a Global Positioning System (GPS) on one of the small patrol boats that was displayed on the Cornwall. It had also been confirmed on a subsequent fly-past of the site.
In a statement to the Commons, Mrs Beckett said that the Government had tried to deal with the crisis through "private, but robust diplomacy". When the Iranians' mistake over the coordinates had been established, she had suggested to her Iranian counterpart that the situation "could be easily resolved" by releasing the detained Britons.
But it was now clear that a change of tack was needed. Accordingly, Britain was mobilising diplomatic support to show Iran how isolated it was over the issue. The Foreign Secretary said that she had spoken to various world leaders, including the US Secretary of State, the Turkish Prime Minister and the foreign ministers of both Iraq and Iran.
Mrs Beckett said that the Government had "no doubts about the facts or the legitimacy of our requirements" - that Tehran state where the detainees are being held, grant Britain consular access to them and give details of their release.
But even if the British sailors had strayed into international waters - which they had not - she said that under international law, Iran would not have had the right to detain them. It could at most have asked them to leave those waters immediately.
A CNN article:
Iran insists the ship was inside its territorial waters and, according to Style, provided a map with coordinates on Saturday in attempts to prove the point.
Blair said those coordinates actually "turned out to confirm they were in Iraqi waters" and Iraq has supported that position.
Upon pointing that out Sunday through diplomatic contacts, Style said Iran then "provided a second set of coordinates" on Monday that were "in Iranian waters over two nautical miles" from the position shown by the HMS Cornwall and confirmed by the merchant vessel the British personnel boarded.
The "change of coordinates," Style said "is hard to legitimate."
There are the updates and they will continue throughout the day or week, however long it takes to resolve this issue.
I see that Jimmy Carter is offering his "expert" help with this crisis which is, at best, the joke of the year.
It took Jimmy Carter MONTHS to attempt a rescue during the Iran Hostage Crisis from 1979 to 1981.
Even that was a dismal failure and his handling of the affair, it is believed, was one of the major reasons he lost his next election.
Partly to counter the criticisms against him, as well as to free the hostages, President Carter ordered a military rescue mission code-named "Operation Eagle Claw." This mission was a total and complete failure resulting in the deaths of eight U.S. military personnel.
On April 24, 1980, units of the rescue force landed in the Iranian desert to refuel their aircraft before heading to Tehran. A confusing series of events took place at this refueling point, including failed equipment, and desert sandstorms which reduced visibility. As a result of these problems, the rescue was called off. During the retreat, one of the helicopters collided with a transport airplane, causing an explosion which killed eight members of the rescue mission. Several of the burned American bodies were later part of grisly street demonstrations protesting the abortive U.S. "invasion" of Iran.
A second rescue attempt was planned but never implemented, largely due to equipment failure.
On January 20, 1981, the hostages were formally released into U.S. custody after spending 444 days in captivity. The release took place just minutes after Ronald Reagan was officially sworn in as president.
The Bristish would do well to remember history and say "Thanks, but NO THANKS Mr. Carter."
Appeasement doesn't work when dealing with madmen.
This is something that some simply do not understand, you cannot make a deal when you are the only one that will honor that deal. You cannot negotiate with someone whose only requirement is your destruction. You cannot reason with someone who has no reasoning abilities and has but one goal, armegeddon.
As history should have taught us, appeasement does not work.
One example here was Bill Clinton and North Korea's Kim Jong-il, which was yet another failed policy in which Jimmy Carter once again failed dismally, back in 1998.
President Clinton elected to rely on former President Jimmy Carter and decided to appease the Marxist-Stalinist dictatorship.
Carter met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang and returned to America waving a piece of paper and declaring peace in our time. Kim, according to Carter, had agreed to stop his nuclear weapons development.
The Clinton appeasement program for North Korea included hundreds of millions of dollars in aid, food, oil and even a nuclear reactor. However, the agreement was flawed and lacked even the most informal means of verification.
In return, Kim elected to starve his people while using the American aid to build uranium bombs. The lowest estimate is that Kim starved to death over 1 million of his own people, even with the U.S. aid program.
Now, let me point out here, that Clinton did what had to be tried. I am not defending his actions, I am just trying to be objective enough to state that a President cannot know a certain course of action will fail until he has at least tried it.
Clinton tried appeasement. It didn't work.
Hopefully the world learned a couple lessons from that failed attempt.
Iran needs to be given a timeframe. Britain needs to tell them "either release the hostages by XXX date or we and our allies will act".
They need to then act if that timeframe has not been followed.
Letting Iran dictate terms would simply embolden the lil thug more and this type of behavior will continue.
Act firmly now on this matter and perhaps the lunatic will think twice before pulling a stunt like this again.
Others discussing this:
Glittering Eye with a very interesting question:
As I read it this means that the British account of things has been verified by the Iraqi authorities, Iraqi citizens, and the captain of an Indian-flagged merchant ship. Has any source other than the Iranians themselves confirmed the Iranian story?
Hot Air with constant updates.
Captain's Quarters asks Carter or Thatcher?
So far, though, Blair has not exactly been Margaret Thatcher in his approach. When the Argentinians seized the Falkands in the early days of her government, Thatcher told Argentina that they had two choices: withdrawal or war. She made good her threat, despite widespread skepticism that the British Empire could still fight a colonial war -- and she beat the Argentianians in their own back yard.
Sister Toldjah has a great roundup of reactions and links.
Quote of the day comes from QandO Blog's analysis of the situation:
Yeow. Other than the fact that they can do it, you have to ask why? What is the purpose of ratcheting up tensions even more? Prior to that incident Iran could claim to be the victim of unwarranted international pressure. Now, as it holds 15 hostages which appear to have been taken in Iraqi waters, even that slim claim is gone. If Britain chooses to act militarily, Iran hasn't a leg to stand on and certainly will be considered by most to have brought the military action upon themselves.
EXACTLY MY POINT.
[UPDATE] 1:40pm- My interpretation of this Russian news story is that America is ready, willing and despite what the Democrats like to pretend, ABLE to back Britain up with whatever action they decide appropriate.
MOSCOW, March 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russian military intelligence services are reporting a flurry of activity by U.S. Armed Forces near Iran's borders, a high-ranking security source said Tuesday.
"The latest military intelligence data point to heightened U.S. military preparations for both an air and ground operation against Iran," the official said, adding that the Pentagon has probably not yet made a final decision as to when an attack will be launched.
He said the Pentagon is looking for a way to deliver a strike against Iran "that would enable the Americans to bring the country to its knees at minimal cost."
He also said the U.S. Naval presence in the Persian Gulf has for the first time in the past four years reached the level that existed shortly before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
Col.-Gen. Leonid Ivashov, vice president of the Academy of Geopolitical Sciences, said last week that the Pentagon is planning to deliver a massive air strike on Iran's military infrastructure in the near future.
A new U.S. carrier battle group has been dispatched to the Gulf.
The USS John C. Stennis, with a crew of 3,200 and around 80 fixed-wing aircraft, including F/A-18 Hornet and Superhornet fighter-bombers, eight support ships and four nuclear submarines are heading for the Gulf, where a similar group led by the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has been deployed since December 2006.
The U.S. is also sending Patriot anti-missile systems to the region.
The Democrats may be willing to actively fight for our defeat and continue to bend over and take it up the ass forever, but BUSH won't. [End Update]