Saturday, March 31, 2007

Britannia Ruled the Waves

A reader emails me THIS link to an article in the New York Post headlined HOSTAGE SAILORS - BRITAIN'S IMPOTENCE. It says that the current crisis in Iran demonstrates how weak the British Navy has become and that HMS Cornwall should have blasted the Iranian abductors out of the water.

Whatever sympathy I might have for gunboat diplomacy is somewhat diminished by thinking that had they done just that it might well have triggered something far more dangerous. Remember August 1914, anyone?


Laurence Boyce said...

Er, no . . . I don’t remember 1914. What happened?

One thing that struck me about this whole business was how inappropriate some of the triumphalism which we witnessed last week was, when it emerged that “we were in the right” about the coordinates. This may sound like a really stupid thing to say, but it would be far better if we had been in the wrong. Then we could have made a grovelling apology and maybe got our sailors back. But if the GPS data checks out, then there’s really no point contemplating that route.

Anonymous said...

Terrifying ignorance from the other side of the Atlantic.

I'm not one for praising Mr Blair as a matter of course, but (apart from being a little slow to react initially, in my opinion) I think he is doing all he can right now in light of his seriously limited options.

Little Black Sambo said...

Can't see the relevance of August 1914. Please explain!
If HMS Cornwall had been near perhaps the Iranians could have been sent packing. They ought to have been, anyway. This is humiliating.

Anonymous said...

While I think Blair has done the right thing thus far, I do feel somewhat ashamed that we are being bullied by the islamo nazis.

Take a look at this Iain. You're a sensible guy, what the hell do you think when you see that nearly a 1/4 of the population would rather capitulate, nearly 1/2 would pay for peace at any price?

I feel embarrassed at such ignorance.

How is it that the same population that not long ago voted Churchill as their greatest Brit, could allow themselves to appease an enemy begging for a fight?

Anonymous said...

Interesting how we are caught between a belicose Iran and a belicose US media and co. IHT and every US rag running as many disparaging articles as they can though anyone else has ever managed a hostage situation with any advantage or any situation remotely similar is a breeze. Mogadishu humbled American might. So much for that. Any response needs some planning and isnt guaranteed to make you look any less humiliated - or weak.

Anonymous said...

The poll was via the ap actually. The IHT just reported it.

Anonymous said...

There is a fantastic article by Terry Jones in today's Guardian about this.

The trouble is that by aligning our country's foreign policy so closely to that of the Americans, we are up the creek without a paddle on this.

If we tell the Iranians off about not respecting international treaties, they can point out that we invaded Iraq without a clear UN resolution.

If we complain that they're breaching the human rights of the captives they will say just two words - 'Guantanamo Bay'.

Of course, Iraq doesn't excuse this behaviour, and even if the Yanks closed Guantanamo tomorrow, I am not naive enough to believe that would guarantee the safe return of these sailors.

But by forfeiting the moral high ground, especially by circumventing the UN over the Iraq War, then we can hardly expect them to bend over backwards to help us - they will say, 'Well, you're going to do your own thing whatever we say..'.

Hoist by our own petard - although fear not, Beckett is on the case..,,2046991,00.html

Roger Thornhill said...

I think Iain is referring to how a reaction can trigger a massive war via the domino effect.

1914 kicked off because, due to rising tensions over Serbia, Russia decided to mobilise in case Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire mobilised, as Russia being a massive country with poor infrastructure knew it took weeks if not months to get its armies together and could be exposed.

As Russia's decision became clear (you cannot hide such things easily), Germany unt the Austro-Hungarians rapidly mobilised and made a preemptive strike because they knew that if they waited for the Russians to get ready, once they were indeed ready they were highly likely to lose to the Russkies.

As for the actions so far, I take this as a sign of Iran (read: IRG) doing anything to distract from being to blame for sanctions either by the distraction itself or heading off said sanctions. What does this tell you? Well, it tells me that the IRG are concerned enough about the negative reaction to sanctions domestically to the extent that it might threaten their position.

Still does not explain fully how on earth the Marines got into the position to be nabbed in the first place.

Still does not excuse the utter spineless, self-loathing, surrender-monkey behaviour of a rather large section of society so deep in their indulgence they cannot bring themselves to be outraged at the capture.

Anonymous said...

I assume this crisis is being managed by the Foreign Office, who ALWAYS advise a low profile, quiet diplomacy, let's work behind the scenes approach. And a fat lot of good it does.

John Macarthy was held hostage for month after month while the Foreign Office advised Jill Morrell not to make a fuss. Only when she finally lost patience with them and made a tremendous row did anything happen.

Blair should be using robust, noisy language. It's no use telling these people their conduct "causes grave concern" or is "unacceptable". They are despicable, untrustworthy pirates and our Prime Minister should be saying so, in as many words. So should Cameron.

Anonymous said...

roger thornhill - I think it a little unfair to say that people are not 'outraged'. This has been the No 1 news story this week, and was the first thing to be covered on 'Any Questions' and 'Question Time'. But the British don't want precipitate 'knee-jerk' reaction to put lives at risk. Diplomacy is what normally does best with these scenarios - we know Iran is nasty, that is nothing new.

As with the Terry Waite kidnapping, bombing is unlikely to achieve anything, and we have seen many examples where a raid to free the hostages goes badly wrong.

Once they are freed, that is then the time to let them know how we really feel about them...

Anonymous said...

And we are the country that wants to HALVE THE SIZE OF OUR NAVY !

Let us make sure when this is over that Blair is reminded about this when he tries to churn out all that 'our brave sailors' spin to boost his 'legacy'...

Anonymous said...

'Bush speaks out'..

Anonymous said...

Little Black Sambo, agreed.

Blair, who wants an excuse to stay in office after he promised to go,is going to keep this running as long as he can. Why else would he put the legally brain dead Margaret Beckett in the great office of state as Foreign Secretary?

It's absurd to pretend that this woman is in charge of anything.

Trumpeter is correct - Blair should be using confrontational language. Angry. Clinical. He should also demand that our captured service personnel have access to their own religion with proper priests and parsons (or rabbis, as the case may be) and the Holy Bible or the Torah.

But most of all, Iran should understand that we've got an eye on their only oil refinery. Oh,what the hell, why mess about? Let's just blow it up, with the news that one of their warships is next. Diplomacy is for incidents that occurred through misunderstandings or mistakes or for negotiating treaties.

This was designed to provoke, thereby morphing "diplomacy" into "crawling".

Tony's micromanaging this, as he micromanages everything else, which is why everything he touches fails.

Bombing doesn't work? Could you get Hitler's signature on this statement, please?

Anonymous said...

Such a shame verity wasn't around at the time of the 'Spaghetti House siege'...

Wrinkled Weasel said...

As indicated by an anon poster the British Government lost all moral authority when it entered an illegal war, and was complicit and probably still is complicit in American human rights abuses.

Contrast the reasonably healthy-looking, if traumatised captive sailors with the inmates at Abu Graib who were made to sit in their own shit, perform sex acts and take part in mock executions - all in the name of Western Democracy.

While I have every sympathy with the kids who are now hostages in Iran, I can only surmise that this state of affairs, and our inability to raise any real outrage, or find a solution is due to Tony Blair's immoral and criminal venture in Iraq. The Prime Minister is most certainly down there in the gutter, morally speaking, and now is the time to realise he is going to get a kicking.

At the cost of some innocent pawns in the game, Blair is getting a bloody nose.

We have come along way from the days of the Falklands when our leader had backbone, vision and moral authority.

Anonymous said...

And Iain - Yes, August 1914. And what would diplomacy have accomplished in that tragic, tragic period? If one side had held out, trying to jaw-jaw instead of engage in war-war, it would probably have been the same result. God rest all their souls.

Meanwhile, back at the tranche, we should tell Iran it would be a good move to get all their personnel out of their oil refinery because a large swathe of damage would be coming through in, say, eight hours. Or two hours. Whatever.

Anonymous said...


An excellent and challenging posting - as we've all come to expect from you.

However, take a look at the suggestion I left for you in the section entitled: "Am I a Biased Hypocrite?" below.

In the past few days I am certain that there are one or two people who have been using your name in vain.

If I want to debate a point with you, I would like to make sure it's the real "Verity" that I'm locking horns with.

Hmm...I feel I may just have opened Pandora's Box...

Anonymous said...

It seems pretty clear at this point that the hardline elements within the Iranian regime deliberately chose to do this.

From their perspective, it is win-win:
- if the RN had indeed fired upon the Iranian personnel, then Iran would have used that to (further) incite hatred of the West
- if the RN had fired and killed any Iranians, then they would have played the injured party
- if any RN personnel had been killed, the Iranians would be exulting the death of more infidels

This is transparently an effort of an unpopular government (the Iranian government does not command popular support right now, as their last elections demonstrated) to deflect attention and to beat the nationalist drum.

I am sure that the best way to play this is slowly, slowly catchee monkey. I can only imagine that the FO has been privately tearing its' collective hair out over the bellicose noises from our government, escalating too quickly.

I thought that Cameron set the right tone at PMQs with his firm but calm stance, as a sensible opposition leader should at such a time.

I would imagine that there has been a stern message passed privately to the Iranians along the lines of "try this again and we won't be so tolerant" (and if it hasn't, it should be).

As to the size of the modern Navy, I'm not so very concerned. It is hard to easily conceive of a military engagement in the current world that a) wouldn't involve the US and b) required a sizable naval flotilla. I am happy to be put right on this score by others who know more than I do. I know that the typical response is "we couldn't do the Falklands today" but I'm not sure that is accurate. If you really want to worry, then you should lament the lack of major troopship capacity available for requisition.

Anonymous said...

When is the British government going to confirm that they had written mutual agreement with the Iranian authorities as to the line on the charts showing the seaboard border with Iraq before this current episode? Or was it the Americans' responsibility who couldn't care less about international agreements or their implications?

Anonymous said...


Peter from Putney said...

Iain - I agree with the thrust of your arguement but, that being the case, is any real purpose served in having any Royal Navy at all, save for continuing to defend the Falklands?

The Military Wing Of The BBC said...

This country is being run by twats.

An act of war has been committed.

The Government should be announcing the dispatch of
RAF squadrons, Royal Navy boats NOT fucking Royal Navy Commodores.

Walking softly with a big stick - not mincing about with a "Stern" mobile phone conversation and leaks to the Daily Telegraph.

The Yanks want to escalate this and the Iranians know it. Thus our words would not be hollow. If we threatening to escalate the Iranians will either:
1. capitulate
2. have a go at us and the Yanks BEFORE they develop their own big pineapples.

Either way we need to think through our Games Theory: mincing around with expensive kit is the worse of both worlds. Our new elite has started to believe its own bullshit - they really believe they could have sweet talked Germany into not throwing up a Hitler

The Barbarians will be at the gates within 7 years if this continues.

Anonymous said...

To "forthurst"

In respect of the maritime borders in the Shatt-al-Arab, I'm not sure that there is an 'official' border, see

Apparently, the border was agreed as being the 'thalweg' (middle of the deep water channel to you & me) at Algiers in 1975 but once you are out of the mouth of the Shatt-al-Arab there is no thalweg anymore.

Besides, I think that the actual line is a red herring anyway. Accepted international practice at sea is to escort anyone guilty of an incursion away from your territorial waters, not to immediately clap them in irons and gloat with pictures on TV.

Anonymous said...

Anyone with a brain, even with a brain the size of a pea, would know that sailors in this century operate with electronic instruments. The British sailors knew where they were. The iranians knew where the British were and knew they not in iranian waters.The ex-Iranian ambassador on radio 4 sat morning was frightening suggesting Blair should have used softer language (or something like that).If the present Iranian diplomats are of the same calibre then god help us all.

Anonymous said...

wrinkled weasel - who at least signs a name; I don't bother to read posts from the prolific "anonymous" any more - writes: "While I have every sympathy with the kids who are now hostages in Iran ..."

Could you define "kids" for us? One of them is a married mother of a three-year old child and has been in the service for nine years and has seniority. At what age, in your view of adulthood, does kidship end? Do they get to stop being kids when they come round to your point of view, for example,because adopting your stance would illustrate that they had reached maturity?

Wrinkled Weasel - Tony Blair's adventure in Iraq was self-serving, because he wanted the glory of being a 'war leader' a la Margaret Thatcher, and I loathe him for this egotistical greed. But, coincidentally, it is the correct route in these circumstances.

What all you appeasers have failed to understand - and it astonishes me that I have to make this statement, because it is so bloody obvious and has been said so bloody often by others - is, we are facilitating a DEMOCRACY in the Middle East.

Let me repeat that: a DEMOCRACY in a vast region of theocracies fuelled by a drive to convert the entire world to their god.

Iraq was already a secular society and was ideal. And they have taken to democracy rather well, as people tend to do.

There was never going to be an adorable little war that would last for eight or 10 months and then pouff! everyone would settle their differences over mint tea and the dust would die down.

Because Al-Jazeera coverage of the war is essential viewing in the ME, the theocracy of Saudi Arabia has been obliged to back down over allowing women to drive cars. Wow! Five years ago unthinkable. Now, thinkable. Because the Saudi public has been seeing footage daily from Iraq and women seem to be driving cars pretty much as men do, and allah hasn't seemed to have taken much interest.

This is an obvious u-turn, but there will be others. The theocracies are feeling a little less secure than they were. Aggressive Syrian head of state Boy Assad will be paying close attention, for example.

The war in Iraq is a long game. My guess - 10 years, more or less. The same people who don't understand that are the people who made cutesy poo posters about the war in Vietnam (decorated with flowers: "What if they gave a war and nobody came?"- oh bless!).

I don't believe that they are naive and some people are too tender to face harsh realities ... because those same people are able to find it in themselves to impose the harsh reality of "political correctness" thought fascism on education, civil life,the police and - they hope - the military in our own country.

I don't buy their skewed world. And I believe in defending our world.

The Military Wing Of The BBC said...

Iain - I do think your very wrong with the 1914 parallel.

Iraq has gone wrong for the US in terms of proving that it cannot easily impose democracy on a local level.

The US however demonstrated that it is more than capable of removing a local dictator and its military power base. The Iranians must know that given the right provocation the US could easily do the same to their regime BEFORE they get their Nukes.

When it comes to Iran, Blair is being offered a free go with the Nimitz: give our lads back or be bombed out of office. Right now Blair can threaten more military might than any UK PM for over 100 years.

Chaos might follow the removal of the Iranian theocracy, but it will be our chaos not the Mullahs and it would be Nuclear-free chaos.

Ross said...

{ There is a fantastic article by Terry Jones in today's Guardian about this. }

They must have hidden it because I can only see a trite cliche ridden apologia for Iran's thuggery in articles by Terry Jones. Comparing the actions of a few rogue US and British personel who have abused prisoners and been punished for it with the actions of the Iranian government to the most high profile prisoners they have is the work of an imbecile.

Wrinkled Weasel writes:

" Contrast the reasonably healthy-looking, if traumatised captive sailors with the inmates at Abu Graib who were made to sit in their own shit, perform sex acts and take part in mock executions "

Well first of all Iran does stage mock executions, one of the eight British sailers it abducted in 2004 confirmed this, and again the actions in Abu Graib were a failiure of policy, the actions in Iran are that regimes policy.

Historically Iran backs down when faced by threat of force, as they did in 1979, or as they did when they made no response to the Taliban murdering their diplomats.

Anonymous said...

Dark Avenger says, addressing me: "In the past few days I am certain that there are one or two people who have been using your name in vain."

So what?

Anonymous said...

Wrinkled Weasel wrote: "[prisoners in] Abu Graib who were made to sit in their own shit, perform sex acts and take part in mock executions"

In Berlin in the late thirties, they'd have paid for the privilege. In front of an audience.

Autre temps; autre meurs.

Anonymous said...

I am embarrassed that I spelled autre moeurs wrong.

Anonymous said...

I'd disagree with Verity only about one detail: warships (preferably two) bombed first, oil refinery second.

No warnings to be given of either. No further diplomacy, no discussions.

Recall all dipl. staff and any UK citizens from Iran - 48 hours notice.

Then chocks away.

And remind combat troops of the old rule: Name Rank Number - no other info to be given, regardless of 'moral pressure'.

Softly softly indeed. Who TF you think you're dealing with? The Kaiser Franz Josef?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous - Your reasoning, please. Once the oil refinery is gone, they're up the Shatta-wotsy.

So why the oil refinery second and ships first? I am not arguing. Just interested in the logic.

Once the refinery's gone, not a lot to fuel the ships.

Anonymous said...

Don't we have cruise missiles which can be fired from Royal Navy submarines? I've no doubt they're on their way to the Gulf right now. A few of those should be able to take out a refinery or two ...

Anonymous said...

How did it get out that this sailor is a mother?

She would have given her name, rank and serial number.

Did the British government fill in the blanks for Iran's mad mohamadan regime for them?


Why do we know so much about this captured sailor? Who gave this information out?

Why is the British government giving our information about our military personel?

Because they are sleazy little stalinists who would rather see our country fall to the mohammedans than stay confidently in the Anglosphere we created?

Anonymous said...

PJ - "they've only got one refinery." They should now have no refineries.

Anonymous said...

Just a small point of FACT.

The Cornwall was not in Iraqi waters. This wet border is an entirely British invention and has never been agreed by the parties involved i.e. Iraq/Iran.

The only recognised border is within the Shatt al Arab waterway.

Using the normal maritime conventions the Cornwall and its small craft were all in an area that is closer to the Iranian mainland. There is no binding or otherwise recognised international agreement over this maritime boundary.

This becomes obvious from looking at a map, taking the equidistant measurement from the Iraqi and Iranian coastlines, the ship is clearly within Iranian territory.


Peter from Putney said...

Total, total madness.
You just don't go to war over 15 captured sailors, who may or may not be guilty of illegally entering Iranian waters. This issue is capable of being resolved sensibly by cool heads without anyone getting harmed.
Unlike the U.S. we are not a world power and like it or not we need to act accordingly.
The hotheads should also remember the small matter of the billions of dollars tied up by BP & Shell in Iran - are we really prepared to throw all this away?
A reality check is urgently required methinks.

Anonymous said...

Peter from Putney - "madness, total madness". (Are you sure you're not a thespian Redgrave? If so, could you stop it, please?)

The British government should care about "the millions and millions "tied up" by BP and Shell in Iran. Oh, God! I'm so unhappy about those millions of dollars tied up! Let's just sacrifice our armed services!

"This issue is capable of being resolved sensibly by cool heads without anyone getting harmed." Sweetie, could you run over there and solve it, then? You won't mind that you don't have the protection of our armed services, because your clear thinking and good will to all sides will be enough to save the day.

There are some short piers on the ARABIAN Gulf. Could you go for a long walk on one of them?

Anonymous said...

Sod pussy footing around.... launch the nukes.

Anonymous said...

Remember August 1914, anyone?

Oh you mean how Austria waited 6 weeks before issuing Serbia with the kind of unacceptable ultimatum Madeleine Albright issued at Rambouillet in 1999 with such a test as we would not impose on Iran

NATO personnel shall enjoy, together with their vehicles, vessels, aircraft, and equipment, free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the FRY including associated airspace and territorial waters. This shall include, but not be limited to, the right of bivouac, maneuver, billet, and utilization of any areas or facilities as required for support, training, and operations.

I guess there's being provocative and being a doormat and Britain has found its role in life

Anonymous said...

15 captured sailors, who may or may not be guilty of illegally entering Iranian waters.

You have doubts but cannot explain why the India freighter was not impounded after all the British crew were disembarking from it when seized

The Druid said...

No you're wrong here Iain. A robust response would not spark war. Why not? This is Iran testing the resolve of the West. This act was done deliberately to see what our response would be. So far we have flunked it.

You don't need to sink or kill people to warn them off. Warning shots from the Cornwall over the heads of the Iranians would have probably had the desired effect of sending them scuttling back to their own waters. What were they doing on the Cornwall? Playing on their Playstations and not watching the radar? It seems Commodore Lambert simply allowed them to be taken hostage. I always thought that senior officers were responsible for the welfare of their crew? Clearly not if one's career is on the line. Mustn't upset Whitehall.

As it is we have the grotesque spectacle of watching a British government hanging itself with semantics to secure the release of what are in law hostages. However, this pressing diplomatic incident notwithstanding Margaret Beckett did manage to find time to make a fatuous intervention in domestic labour party politics. That woman was out of her depth washing out test tubes at UMIST.

Anonymous said...

Remembering the way the intelligence was fixed around the desire of Bush to go to war with Iraq.
I wonder if the poodle has not handed his boss an excuse to strike against Iran?

Anonymous said...

Commodore Lamber has a degree in Geography....but it is from Durham

Anonymous said...

If you haven't seen it yet today, go and check out the 'Matt' cartoon in the Telegraph - very funny indeed !

Anonymous said...

"A Question of Sport - What happens next.?"

Iran says 'We won't release the sailors without admitting you were wrong'.

Beckett 'expresses regret..'

Iran says 'We won't let them go without an apology'.

What happens next, panel...

"Hmmm..tough one, but I guess that Margaret Beckett offers an apology and grovels to Ahmadinnerjacket, but he says that she has to come to Iran and personally kiss his feet."

Well, let's see if you're right...

[word verification - scowl !]

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we should keep our powder dry for the moment, and send verity to Iran - well it might work !!!

Anonymous said...

As much as I'd like to see the Iranians get a kicking what Verity and the other war-mongers on here should do is look up 'Sunburn' missiles. The Iranians have them.

Anonymous said...

"HMS Cornwall should have blasted the Iranian abductors out of the water"

Wouldn't that also have blasted the abductees out of the water too? Armchair admirals need to think before they speak.

Given that the Iranians have done this before, why were these sailors and marines sent out in an unarmed, inflatable, rubber boat? The waters in that area are too shallow for a frigate but the Royal Navy has a squadron of 14 Archer class coastal patrol craft. They also had a squadron of Tracker class ships that were given away free of charge to the Lebanese.

The Archer squadron is currently used to train reservists and university students. Surely there is a more urgent job for them off the coast of Iran.

Anonymous said...

"n Berlin in the late thirties, they'd have paid for the privilege. In front of an audience. "

So now we know what floats your boat at the weekend..Can we watch ?

Anonymous said...

Hmm...methinks we are up the Shatt - al - Arab waterway without a paddle..

Still if this goes on as long as the American hostage crisis [444 days] I can't see Gordon getting his hands on the levers of power anytime soon..

Anonymous said...

Please forward this ASAP to any sympathetic people:

Protest outside the Iranian embassy in London today (Sunday 1st April) from 3pm to 4pm against Iran continuing to hold British sailors and Marines hostage.

Anonymous said...

Since Iran helped to engineer the war against Iraq [by helping Chalabi] and seducing the West with tales of WMD, they know that they helped bring about the situation where we are fighting a war on two fronts at the moment. They know damn well we can do nothing against Iran unless we pull out of either Iraq or Afghanistan.

Which brings about the question - just what exactly are we doing in Afghanistan ? Helping ensure that the poppies for the heroin trade are being grown under 'fairtrade' conditions ?

paige said...

I would have thought there was a much more simpler solution.

You make this an example to the world. This is all about nuclear energy / bombs.

You say to Iran you want nuclear either you release those 15 or we'll bloody give you nuclear!

Sorted, problem solved, they will surrender the captives.
In the meantime it brings an awareness to the world about nuclear proliferation. And just how easily things can escalate out of stupidity!

Guthrum said...

There is no agreed maritime border between Iraq and Iran, this was piracy on the high seas and the Cornwall was entitled to engage the Revolutionary Guard speed boats.
There is no parallel here between the Summer of 1914. If we are to reduce the Navy to that of the coastal patrol of Belgium, and not allow them to use this expensive hardware in self protection- withraw back to our own waters and hope to God we can protect the Grand Union canal. Blair has reduced this country's international credibility down to zero. He is not fit to run a Parish Council.

Roger Thornhill said...

Anon 11:06 - I agree about diplomancy, as long as it has spine. I think that is clear. As to lack of outrage, when I say "rather large" I do not mean a majority, but rather large, as in larger than I would have expected and also the usual suspects who wail and protest about hostages or that vile unwelcome UK-hating people who refuse to leave the UK being held are now rather silent.

If we rattle our sabres, we'd better be damn sure we have the guts to withdraw it. That is the very essence of sabre rattling - it only works if the other side knows we are quite prepared to use it.

Ask yourself if the rattling does not work, what next? Invasion? Strategic bombing? Blockade?

Right now, I see the EU as a trecherous partner. I suspect support will only come if we yield to the EU Foreign Office.

Anonymous said...

The fact unmentioned by our media is that oil prices have gone up in the last few days to $67 a barrel, very close to the magic $70 they reached before the invasion. Iran therefore has very little incentive not to spin this out.

Oersinally I think we should be talking more to Russia & China. They are both members of the Shanghai Pact which Iran wants to join & has much more pull on them. Also their opposition to our attacks on Yugoslavia & Iraq were predicated on respect for international law (in my view correctly). This would be a good opportunity for them both to show that that respect cuts both ways.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, back in the real world, here's an ancient truth for all to ponder: Might makes right.

We have the power to rescue our people and damage the Iranian infrastructure severely. As in, no oil refinery, for example.

Almost all islamics are bullies. They will push and push and push, and when you finally turn on them and push back, they cower and hold their hands out in a plea, , "No, no! You misunderstood our intention! You misunderstood what we were saying." Etc.

The Iranians are more intelligent than the Arabs, but they islamics and bullies. What no one here has discussed is, this is part of their stupid jihad. It began in 1979, remember? Every islamic is compelled by their daft diety to force the entire world to bend the knee to islam. Why? Who knows? Who cares?

But bear in mind this isn't normal international politics. Their is religious zeal behind it, which is another reason it has to be dealt with harshly.

Tony Blair is too stupid to understand this because he wants to teach the world to sing in perfect harmoneeeeeee. He just cannot get his head round realities that don't jibe with his fantasies.

Little Black Sambo said...

Has the time come for the UN to send in the Dutch?

Anonymous said...

Having written the above, as this has developed into islam (forcing a British sailor to wear their obscene hijab)against the West, it might not be a bad idea to get an islamic negotiator who is sensitive to both points of view to come in and negotiate in the islamic way.

For this, I would suggest the outstanding King Abdulla. Sandhurst educated, as was his father, King Hussein,he is a devout Muslim (in his case, I will capitalise Muslim) yet is modern and practical. Queen Raina never wears a veil or even a headscarf and she's a volunteer ambulance driver.

King Abdullah might be able to negotiate a result.

I'm not saying I wouldn't prefer to bomb their refinery and any spare battleships they have carelessly left lying around, but for those think this too harsh and who want to negotiate a result, I think it would be hard to find a better man than King Abdullah.

Yak40 said...

Terry Jones' piece in the Guardian is dreadful, cynical "I'm so smart" drivel.

If the navy was acting under UN auspices the Sec Gen should be actively involved in helping sort it out. Where is he ?

Now we start to see scenes in Tehran reminiscent of 1979.

Anonymous said...

Yak 40 - Quelle surprise.

You say the UN secretary general ought to be involved. Please! We want this to be resolved before the turn of the century. Don't be ridiculous! Please!

Anonymous said...

yak - what are the chances that Tony will hand over to Gordon while this is going on ? No hope and Bob Hope.

If it goes on for a month, Tony will be saying words to the effect of :-

"Do you think I will be leaving the scene while the Iranians still have our service personnel ? Not on my watch."

Madasafish said...

Of course the US needs a Pretence for war: anyone remember the runup to Vietnam? (a US destroyer hit by the Vietnamese: entirely fabricated by the US...)...

Yes: blow the Iranians out of the watre .. and kill a few British sailors besides: co I assume under that scenario we would not have opened fire until after our sailors were captured...

Looks like the "act first and think later " mentality rules OK in the US press..

But then they ARE journalists and we all know they are the scum of the earth (second only to politicians ) so why the fuss?

Anyone who seriously suggests any journalist (or politician) writes anything sensible has porridge for brains.

Any if you disagree, read the Sun.Mirror Daily Express, etc...

Madasafish said...

Of course the US needs a Pretence for war: anyone remember the runup to Vietnam? (a US destroyer hit by the Vietnamese: entirely fabricated by the US...)...

Yes: blow the Iranians out of the water .. and kill a few British sailors besides: co I assume under that scenario we would not have opened fire until after our sailors were captured...

Looks like the "act first and think later " mentality rules OK in the US press..

But then they ARE journalists and we all know they are the scum of the earth (second only to politicians ) so why the fuss?

Anyone who seriously suggests any journalist (or politician) writes anything sensible has porridge for brains.

Any if you disagree, read the Sun.Mirror Daily Express, etc...

The Druid said...

Negotiating with this lot is going to be a dialogue of the deaf. There is no meeting of the minds. On the one side you have a government composed of closet peaceniks with a naïve faith in international law and morally bankrupt international institutions. All we need to do is talk and be reasonable and all will be well with the world. This world view was formed during the years that many of the serving Labour MP's were members of CND. This is the bunch of people who stupidly wanted to unilaterally disarm. Of course we now know that the Soviet was misunderstood. It was the respecter of borders, human rights and international law as the people of Hungary and Czechoslovakia would be the first to agree. If you want any evidence that that the strain of politics is still alive and well in the LP look at the recent Trident vote which was no doubt studied carefully in Tehran.

On the other side you have a bunch of religious zealots with a belief in a millennial showdown presaging the return of the Hidden Inman of Shia Islam. They are actively seeking this. Its not a misunderstanding. Has nothing to do with loosing face etc. They believe they are following the path of the righteous, and this will hasten the return of the Inman on a white horse. Yeup straight out of comic books and laughable. But this is the mindset of those in power in Tehran. (I have often wondered how liberals in the West snigger at Americans who believe in creationist nonsense, but who without blushing say that we must 'respect' the equally dotty beliefs of Moslems.)

Of course our leadership does not understand the true nature of what we are facing. They spout the religion of peace crap. True some Moslems are peaceful. But by no means all. Some are pretty dangerous. And the evidence that Iran is run by religious hard liners who have no regard for international law etc and a propensity for violence is pretty clear. They have a history of terror tactics. This is the latest example. They won't play by the same rules as the rest of the world. When are we going to realise this?

PS: The irony here is that when Saddam went to the gallows his last words were "Beware the Persians." Tehran has always been a bigger threat that Baghdad ever was.

Anonymous said...

Of course the US needs a Pretence for war:

Kind of the Iranians to oblige by acting like Barbary pirates. This is how they used to act kidnapping Christians to force into slavery.....but then we had a Royal Navy to enforce the rules.

Now we get the weak-kneed and lily-livered who are afraid to upset the pirates and slink along snivelling afaris they might be heard or seen....

Madasafish said...

o0zbtetthe druid said "On the one side you have a government composed of closet peaceniks with a naïve faith in international law and morally bankrupt international institutions"

Pardon. Did we invade Iraq? Is that what closet peaceniks do?

Personally I think the only moral to draw from the sorry episode is that the Royal Navy has lost its thinking power: no helicopter cover, close to Iranian waters, the Iranians having done this before.. Anyone who had any concerns for their sailors would take precautions...oops our helicopter ran out of fuel...

Practically what can we do? Bomb Tehran? Send in the SAS?

Yes the Iranians are nutters... all the more reason to take care... Court martial coming up when it's all over...

Anonymous said...

The Druid has a much firmer grasp on the reality of this situation than the peacenik Masasafish.

Bliar and Cherie were marching members of the CND. They only dumped it when they realised their membership was wrecking their chances of getting elected.

As the Druid says, the Iranian leadership are nutjobs. This Iranian jihad has been going on since 1979. Undeflected for 30 years. You people who are making excuses for Iran and putting the blame on Britain have to get yourselves educated on islam. Your posts all have a Western/Christian ethnocentric point of view which simply does not apply.

The Druid said...

Madasafish - Blair's tango at the UN was to appease the left. Bush was going in come hell or high water. Do you really think that the Labour party was behind Blair in Iraq? They've be doing the 'not me guv' number ever since.

I find it amazing that the Cornwall contacted London to ask what to do! Its obvious surely? Protect the crew.

What do we have a navy for? Ferrying relief supplies about and that's it.

What can we do? Plenty of options. None very attractive.

What will we do? Kiss arse and issue some grovelling apology to those facist pigs in Tehran like the good little PC pillocks we are.

PS: How long before our Embassy is seized a la 1979?

neil craig said...

Druid you make a good case for mot marching off flags flying in a 1914 style:

"On the one side you have a government composed of closet peaceniks with a naïve faith in international law and morally bankrupt international institutions."

So that would be the other side from the one that set ip the KLA, attacked Yugoslavia & Iraq in flagrant contempt of the aforesaid law.

"On the other side you have a bunch of religious zealots with a belief in a millennial showdown"

I don't think all the neocons are that insane.

I think you should cool it.

Yak40 said...

I was speaking of an ideal case (it is April 1 after all)but reality says that the UN and EU will do nothing to help, nothing at all.

Anonymous said...

Verity - I'm not picking on you or anything but.....

1) Any military action against Iran would result them firing off Sunburn missiles against the USN and RN. Think Exocets + 500% - the RN would be somewhat smaller in approx 1 minute. The USN has virtually no defence against them - and actually tried to buy them to stop others getting them back in 1995.It failed - China and Iran have them.

2) King Abdullah of Jordan is hardly going to be the best intermediary. On his accession to the throne he called Iran the 'biggest cause of instability in the region'. He's a Sunni, they're Shia - and he's worried about the increasing Shia influence across the region.

Anonymous said...

Yak40 - Well, thank heavens for that! You had me scared there.

When is the left going to understand by far the greater part of the membership of the UN is made up of thugs, gangsters and dictators? Who cares what way people of that ilk vote on anything. I don't think we need take instructions from Robert Mugabe, Gdaffi, Putin, Chavez, the ruling junta of Myanmar,Boy Assad, the Saudi royal family, Ahmireallymad of Iran, the rulers of Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Lebanon, Angola, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Congo, etc etc etc.

We should not be associating with this garbage. Let them fester.

That the left thinks these people should have a vote on anything involving civilized countries is a puzzle. Or maybe not. Anyway. Give Iran 24 hours and, if they don't understand, take out their one and only refinery. And set up a blockade so they can't import oil.

And bring our naval personnel and marines home.

God, I hate Tony Blair.

Anonymous said...

Hedley Lamarr - You are,of course, correct. It was wishful thinking on my part. I just like that family so much and think they are so fine. But you're right, of course.

Well, it looks like the bomb, then.

Anonymous said...

Verity - we're agreed on that. They want them - we've got them. QED.

Anonymous said...

I am getting more and more disappointed in the Queen. I realise she's elderly, but why hasn't she dissolved the foul Blair's ruling junta and handed the administration of the country over to the military for a while?

Surely she is not so lacking in acuity that she thinks Blair has been good for Britain?

Why is the Crown of England adopting a position of neutrality in a foreign conflict? This is lunacy.

David Lindsay said...

Well, WHY didn't HMS Cornwall fire on the Iranians? Why didn't the helicopter gunship accompanying her?

It could not be clearer that those being held in Iran have been sent there by Blair as the excuse for an attack on that country. There is no Iranian nuclear weapons programme. The Iranian Supreme Leader has indeed issued a fatwa against nuclear weapons. Ahmadinejad is on the way out anyway. And even he has never called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" in anything like the sense alleged, but only for the Zionist system to be dismantled (without anyone's being killed), precisely as Israel's supporters would have us believe is already the case, since they insist that non-Jewish Israeli Arabs (over half of Israeli Jews are also Arabs) have equal citizenship, a situation incompatible with Zionism.

But some excuse still has to be found to destroy Iran's large and multi-ethnic emerging democracy outside the global hegemony (as in Yugosolavia) and to steal her oil (as in Iraq). The current, wholly contrived, situation is that excuse.

Anonymous said...

They're not multi-ethnic. They are genetically Iranians.

Yak40 said...

"All about stealing their oil blah blah"

The whiners are spreading out from the Guardian, doing their best to undermine support for their own guys and gals in the services. I'm beginning to think they now form a majority in the UK. Sickening.

Anonymous said...

Pardon. Did we invade Iraq? Is that what closet peaceniks do?

It is exactly what peaceniks do.

Sensible people CONTROL the country they have invaded, these peaceniks never did

Anonymous said...

The most important task of Western (what other kind is there?) science today is to rid us of the need for oil. Then we can watch the red sands of the Sahara blow over and eventually cover the shining citadels andf mosques built with oil money, and their ghostly populations from the Dark Ages.

The Druid said...

Every once in a while a regime comes along that does give a sh1t about international law. Sure it will use international law and its institutions to further its end where it suits. But when it doesn't, oh well. Iran is one. They've got form. Big time.

The international community's backing is just mere words. If this hots up - and lets hope it doesn't but I can't see sense prevailing - that support will melt away. Fair weather friends. Look at last week's farce in the UN where despite the UK being engaged on UN business when the piracy occurred only a weak resolution condemning it was passed.

I don't know if there are any realistic military options here. But if there were serious ones then I would hope they would be looked at. If we can get the crew back safe and give those beard wearing misogynist pigs in Tehran a bloody nose then great. But most people in this country are defeatists or sandal wearing appeasers. They seem to want to side with the Iranians. We're becoming a nation of little Fisks.

David Lindsay said...

You don't know what you're talking about, Verity.

Only about half of the Iranian population is ethnically Persian. Much of the oil is in the Arab South West. There are Kurds in the North West. Half of the Baluchis are in the East, the other half being across the border in Pakistan, where they have long-standing secessionist tendencies. There are so many Turkemen that Tehran is actually the second-largest Turkish-speaking city on earth, even though Turkish is a minority language there. There are more Azeris than in Azerbaijan. There is a sizeable and very ancient community of Jews, complete with its own reserved seat in Parliament. And so on.

A multinational state such as the United Kingdom should be insisting on the preservation of Iran (which the looming war would undoubtedly destroy), as it should have insisted on the preservation of Iraq and Yugoslavia. And an America true to her own best ideals would take, and would have taken, the same view. But dream on!

Anonymous said...

Yes, Druid - after 50 years of the EU and 10 years of Tony Blair, the British have lost their will to live.

I believe medical people will tell you that people who have lost the will to live, die.

Anonymous said...

"A multinational state such as the United Kingdom should be insisting on the preservation of Iran." I would no more insist on Iran being preserved than I would insist on a cancer being preserved. Iran should be destroyed.

They've been on a 37 year jihad against civilisation. Why would we want to preserve such an aberration?

The West is eventually going to have the fact that we cannot coexist with islam unless islam changes dramatically. A Reformation would be good. Otherwise, we'll have to cut it out, or stop our dependency on oil and let them wither to death.

David Lindsay said...

Well, Verity, you consistently side with those who promoted, or continue to promote, the Wahabbi interest in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iraq, putatively Syria, and on, and on, and on...

Of course, they want for themselves the privileged dhimmitude of Moorish Spain, which is why they cannot admit that liberal democracy can only arise out of, and can only be preserved in and by, a culture formed definitively by the Christianity that they define themselves by rejecting. But what do YOU want, Verity? And why?

I note that you did not, because you cannot, answer my point as to what sort of country and society Iran actually is. An attack on Iran would make the Iraq War look like the Teddybears' Picnic, exploding the Shi'ite Arab arc from South-Western Iran through Southern Iraq and round the Gulf (including most of the oil-producing part of Saudi Arabia), exploding Kurdistan across at least three countries including Turkey (a member of NATO), exploding the Turkish-speaking parts of Turkey as well, exploding Azerbaijan and thus the Caucuses, exploding Baluchistan (and thus nuclear-armed, Deobandi-ridden Pakistan), and on, and on, and on...

It is almost impossible to state in words the urgency of preventing this from happening.

But why would anyone want it to happen? Iran is a multi-ethnic emerging democracy with, among other things, more women than men at university. Its present President is on the way out anyway. The people accusing him of having a nuclear weapons programme (contrary to a fatwa by the Supreme Leader) and of wanting to kill the population of Israel are the same people who told you that Iraq had magic nuclear weapons capable of being deployed within 45 minutes, capable of reaching New York from Mesopotamia, and one hundred per cent undetectable.

And they, too, are on the way out. Bush has to go. Blair will be gone very soon. And when Blair goes, expect the people whom he viciously sent into Iranian custody in order to provoke a war to be released, probably pretty much unharmed. By contrast, the moment that any such war actually started, they would be put to death. Which would you prefer, Verity? And why?

David Lindsay said...

Oh, and before anyone suggests that I have contradicted myself by calling Iran an emerging democracy while saying that liberal democracy depends on Christianity, these are early days.

Japan, to cite the obvious example, will no doubt remain a democracy for many, many years yet. And Iran is starting several decades later than Japan did. But sooner or later, liberal democracy can only survive by reference to its roots in the Biblical-Classical synthesis that is Christianity.

An America or wannabe-America which instead allows herself to be shaped by the disciples of Max Shachtman, Leo Strauss or Ayn Rand will come to have at least as much trouble on this score as Japan or Iran. Even more so, in fact, if that alternative system (let's call it, oh, "neoconservatism") has, however bizarrely and ridiculously, been declared to be Christianity for popular consumption, making it far more difficult to subject to a popularly acceptable Biblical-Classical critique.

Anonymous said...

David Lindsay notes, in his second prolix post: "Oh, and before anyone suggests that I have contradicted myself by calling Iran an emerging democracy...".

No one will suggest such, David Lindsay, because no one reads your posts.

The rest of us cut to the chase. Iran must go.

I do agree that we need our military home first and assume that there are people working on this. Although given the febrile Tony Blair and the islam-loving Camel Corps in the FO, I am not confident. OTOH, I think the Camel Corps seem to be predisposed to Arabs, so we may be OK here.

But after we have our service personnel home safely and reunited with their families, the end to Iran's petroleum refinery is very much a 'go'.

If we have to pay more for gasoline for a while, so bloody what? It is our armed services, for God's sake!

A connected chancellor - i.e., not one who picks his nose on the floor of Parliament while under scrutiny of cameras he knows are there but does it anyway because he thinks it doesn't count - leading observers to believe the chancellor is a wee bit wanting - but a real chancellor - a British Chancellor - would have enough slack in our exchequer to accommodate a temporary surge in oil prices.

Take out their prized refinery and blockade the borders. When they're on their knees, we tell them the terms.

Actually, no .... when they're on their knees, we kick their teeth out. This they can understand.

Anonymous said...

Please remember Verity, The Iranians are not exactly defenceless.

Google Sunburn Missile and think again.

Anonymous said...

Normal Norman - So what do you suggest? It should be lethal.

Anonymous said...

Verity,I suggest that we all stop and think of the global consequences of your proposal.

Please check my previous posting wherein I state that there is doubt as to the position of the Cornwall and its small craft.

Your proposal that "Iran must go" seems quite bizarre to me. Go where? Are you suggesting the destruction of Iran?

You suggest that their refinery be destroyed. How? By what means?

They already control the Gulf with their Sunburn missiles, against which UK and USA shipping has no credible defence.

Further, whilst I doubt that Iran is currently holding nuclear missiles they certainly have more than enough 'dirty' nuclear material complete with delivery systems with which much mischief can be caused.

Are you a nihilist or maybe one of the Rapture crowd?

Peace and Love.

Anonymous said...

Normal Norman - I sincerely haven't a clue what a 'rapture crowd' is, but you seem to be saying we shouldn't annoy the Iranians because they have captured British military personnel and may have more unpleasantries up their flapping sleeves.

In other words, you have an interest in negotiating from weakness.

You are a perfect example of TonyBlair"Man". Accept assaults by people far weaker than you, apologise, and grovel for titbits.

Let us get our military personnel, who we have shamefully failed to protect - even up to allowing a competent, professional woman from an advanced society wear a filthy rag called a hijab.

Let's see Amiinjihad paraded naked with a tiny hijab over his own 'head'. That would at least would give us all a laugh. Fair does!

Anonymous said...

The armchair generals are out in force I see.

1) The Royal Navy is currenly in the gulf under a UN mandate at the request of the Iraqi government to protect Iraqi oil terminals. If we suddenly started launching missiles at Iran I imagine they'd attack both, with their navy and air force, probably destroying Iraqi infastructure and sinking British ships.

2) Iran has an air force, the UK does not have foreign bases surrounding Iran, the USA does. Neither the democrat controlled Congress/Senate or the Arabs want war with Iran. Launching an air war using what 4th generation Harriers we can muster from a Naval platform against Iran would be a disaster. I reckon we'd lose whatever Navy we had out there and a shed load of planes.

3) If we attacked Iran they would probably retaliate against UK forces in Iraq on the ground - killing UK troops and Iraqis.

Would this scenario make you all feel proud to be British?

4) Oil prices would skyrocket meaning all your mortgage interest rates would rise. This would make me very happy because I'm priced out. You guys on the other hand would start bitching!

Anonymous said...


The 'Rapture crowd' that I refer to are the American group that eagerly await Armageddon, the end of the world and the second coming of Christ. Of course if you are not a member then I am afraid that, according to them, there is no hope for you, nor for me for that matter.

I really must take issue with your description of me as Tony Blair "Man". That is so far from the truth.

I am a great believer in the concept of aggression being the absolutely last resort. The current situation requires careful and considered diplomacy in order to avoid a world wide conflagration.

There is more to the capture of the fifteen British sailors and marines, I believe, than meets the eye. I have my doubts as to the actual geographical position of their capture and believe that they may well have been out of bounds. The position of their capture was probably nearer to the Iranian mainland than the Iraqi mainland which could legitimately be perceived by Iran as being an incursion into their 'territory'. Let's wait and see.

I appreciate that this may sound weak to you but I can assure you that if they were to invade us I would be among the first to volunteer in defence of the Realm. I could still take an eye out at 300 metres.

Whilst I appreciate that much of your posting is 'tongue in cheek' I don't think that the wearing of the hijab by the young lady is a large price to pay for 'diplomatic' purposes. Remember, when you are captured, best do as you are told for the time being. I do not believe that they have been abused by the Iranians and they all appear to be in good spirits, notwithstanding their 'confessions'.

Let diplomacy take its course and keep in mind that we are not dealing with a defenceless nation or one that is unused to warfare.

Please also bear in mind the current Israeli proposals for another peace in Gaza and the West Bank. Surely an attack by us or the USA would precipitate an attack on Israel which, in its turn, would respond with a counter attack and we'd all go to Hell in a hand cart, you included.

Have a good day.

Peace and Love.

Anonymous said...

Normal Norman writes: "I have my doubts as to the actual geographical position of their capture and believe that they may well have been out of bounds."

WOWWWWWWW!!! Was that just intuitive or is there some evidence the rest of us haven't seen? As in satellite from the Americans, the Aussies, the Indians, the British, the Chinese? Oh, do tell!

You "have your DOUBTS?" Does the military establishment of Great Britain, the United States and the Commonwealth, with all their expertise, know of these doubts? Or are you offering fresh evidence? Do you have some way of contacting them to let them know of your doubts?

You write, of me, "Whilst I appreciate that much of your posting is 'tongue in cheek' I don't think that the wearing of the hijab by the young lady is a large price to pay for 'diplomatic' purposes."

Don't "appreciate" that anything I post is "tongue in cheek" because you don't know me and are therefore not in a position to make your "appreciations".

You are incorrect. I don't think it's "a small price to pay". I think it's unconscionable.

I doubt, although obviously I don't know, that Turner, who is enduring this, thinks its a small price to pay, asshole. How would you know the humiliation she has gone through, a professional of nine years, reduced to a being a bint in the marketplace? How dare you?

And how dare you, an established nonentity, refer to this professional of nine years' training and standing as "the young lady", you condescending piece of chopped up nonenity?

"I am a great believer in the concept of aggression being the absolutely last resort. The current situation requires careful and considered diplomacy in order to avoid a world wide conflagration."

Whoaaaah! You missed your calling! PUNDIT TO THE ARMED FORCES WORLDWIDE!

I'm a great believer that if you are strong enough, and make it clear that you are very strong, there will be no aggression.

What a prat you are, pretending to a considered point of view, as though you were in the FO or had any say about anything - pretending to take a measured stance. How pathetic.

You give Jane's Fighting Keyboards a bad name.

Bugger off.

Anonymous said...

A Reformation would be good.

Farcical. It is imposssible. What was The Reformation in Europe ? It was the success after failures of Jan Hus and other reformers to wrest control away from Rome.

The French Kings had fought Rome for 4 centuries to control the flow of taxes to Rome, but it was Saxony and Northern German principalities which resisted paying taxes to the Bishop of Mainz for transference to Rome.

Martin Luther attacked the Secular Power of The Church and its money-making schemes such as holy relics and Indulgences designed to enrich the Roman Catholic Imperial HQ in Rome

What do you propose Muslims learn from this ? To stop visiting Mecca ?

It is a completely different religion from Roman Catholicism - it has NO church hierarchy, it is cellular and about as easy to coordinate as all those Free Baptist and Free Presbyterian Churches that sprout up in US towns and TV stations.

There is only one immutable Koran, it cannot be rewritten or textually analysed, nor written with The Great She or debased as with The Bible.

The whole discussion about "Reformation" suggests people who have no understanding of what The Reformation was and the violence of the Peasants' Revolt. It unleashed violence on a scale that makes Muslim terrorism look like a bar fight.

The Reformation went back to Judaism in looking at its structures - should Islam do the same and rewrite The Torah ?

Islam goes in waves of expansion and contraction, Napoleon woke it up when he invaded Egypt. It is OIL that has revived it since 1973 and bankers who love OIL MONEY.

In the old days industrialists looked to oil, now business is footloose and just relocates so the old national identities are shrivelling in the West as China becomes the industrial quarter for the US and Europe who just play bankers in big coastal cities

Anonymous said...

Can I just add the comment that the RN, at least in the guise of the Cornwall's captain, seems to have lost all touch with Nelson's spirit. Getting permission from Whitehall to engage an enemy on the high seas?!!? Showing no concern for his sailors?!!? He should be court-martialled, and preferably keel-hauled, if possible, underneath Victory. If they could possibly arraign & condemn Blair & all his impotent cohorts to the same fate, that would be even better.

Anonymous said...

Many posters think diplomacy will solve this hostage-taking crisis perpetrated by Iran. I am reminded of the notice pinned up in President Putin's Press Office. It says, "Diplomacy is the ability to tell a person to go to hell in such a way that he looks forward to the journey."

Others held some hope in the EU. However, (surprise, surprise)the EU refused to support export sanctions against Iran. All Blair's claptrap about restoring democracy to Iraq, pales to insignificance when one considers that he and his Government have sacrificed Britain's democracy and hard-won freedoms, Parliamentary Sovereignty, Criminal Justice system and a whole host of British traditions and values on the altar of the unelected, unaccountable EU bureaucrats in Brussels.

As this refusal shows, the EU will give the UK the same support the rope gives the hanging man. We'd be BETTER OFF OUT of the EU.

Anonymous said...

"Did we invade Iraq? Is that what closet peaceniks do?

It is exactly what peaceniks do.

Sensible people CONTROL the country they have invaded, these peaceniks never did"

No peacniks don't invade countries. The people who do this are incompetent imperialists, the worst of both worlds. People who go around saying we "punch above our weight", not in our own interests but in the USA's & get surprised when we get the odd black eye.

Anonymous said...

No doubt this posting will cause derision and I too have little time for the UN,but if,as is said,that the captured vessels were on patrol under UN auspices,then they should have worn the blue beret.It would have been far harder for the Iranians to parade them in those circumstances.As it is, we have the worst of both worlds.We do not seem to have been adequately prepared for this type of ambush or otherwise have robust rules of engagement because these are mandated UN duties but now things are badly wrong they are simply members of the British military.Surely this sort of incident must have been foreseen and ought not to have been allowed to happen.

Anonymous said...

That shows remarkably poor recollection of history, even for the Americans...

Anonymous said...


So I may assume from your hysterical diatribe that you have some disagreement with me?

With the kind permission of our host I will make a considered response to you on this matter.

My comments regarding the position of the craft WAS measured using a chart and dividers. If you do the same you will find that all positions indicated are nearer to the Iranian mainland than the Iraqi mainland. If fact, this very question is central to the current dispute. Please check the current news bulletins.

One would assume from your mocking comments that the general public should not have any "doubts" when given information by respective governments. In fact, I had doubts when Tony Blair stated that Saddam had WMDs with a 45 minute capability. I wonder if you had any doubts?

As it happens I was right on that occasion and think that I may well be right this time. If you can accept that without getting abusive of course.

I am sorry that I appear to have upset you with my description of your remarks as "tongue in cheek".
I honestly could not believe that a fellow human being could wish for the annihilation of another country.

Presumably the sight of all those women and children lying dead in the streets would bring tears of joy to your eyes.

It certainly reminded me of Mr. Ahmadinejad's comments regarding the removal of Israel. How alike you are.

I referred to Leading Seaman Turney, not Turner, as the "young lady" as I was unaware of her rank at the time. I now know her rank and refer to her accordingly. Happy?

I note that you, too, have doubts about L/S. Turney's wearing of the hijab. So you can have doubts but I can't. Like I said previously. When captured, do as you're told for the time being. L/S Turney is a Service person who has been trained how to behave in such a situation and is presumably acting accordingly. At least she has not had to suffer the indignity of being hooded and manacled.

Being seen with a piece of cloth over her head can hardly be described as being a "bint in the street". She is in their custody and is probably wearing the hijab because she was told to. It's not the worst thing that could have been inflicted on her after all. I believe that the captives have, to date, conducted themselves in a digified manner notwithstanding the 'humiliations' that they have endured. Their situation is probably preferable to the innocent inmates of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.

Having exhausted your rather weak argument you then go on to abuse me. Why? Please believe me, I have no wish to abuse you, Could it be that it just makes you feel better?

Bring it on if you must but your opinion falls flat on its face when you resort to such abuse.

You clearly indicate to me that I should have no opinion on anything if it conflicts with your rather ill-thought statements. Why not? I have served this country in uniform for many years, although now retired, and have as much entitlement as any other to my opinion and the freedom to express it.

That's exactly what L/S. Turney and her comrades are doing at this time. This is the same freedom of speech that allows you to verbally abuse me in this thread. In fact, they are currently captured as part of the greater scheme which has given you YOUR freedom to abuse people. Whilst I would not agree with your abusive comments I would defend to the death your right to make them. Subject, of course to to approval of our host.

Would you do the same for me?

I wish you well and look forward to another discourse with you at a later date.

I am afraid that I must reject you kind offer to bugger off. It's not really my cup of tea dearie.

Be well.

Peace and Love.

Anonymous said...

"I honestly could not believe that a fellow human being could wish for the annihilation of another country."

Awwwww. Bless! (Believe it.)

"Presumably the sight of all those women and children lying dead in the streets would bring tears of joy to your eyes."

Why? You people on the moonbeam far left really don't have a sense of irony, do you? You try. You mimic what you think is cutting, pointed irony, but you just can't get it, can you? And you always over-egg the pudding.

I would probably feel sorry that children's lives had been cut short through no fault of their own and I would hope they didn't suffer. About the women, I think 'indifference' would about cover it. They're all part of the same set-up. Half the people protesting outside embassies, doing the one!-two!-three! thrusting of their right fists as they shout their slogans are women. Half the people who waded into Cartoon Rage with such vigour and hatred were women. So, no.

"I referred to Leading Seaman Turney, not Turner, as the "young lady" as I was unaware of her rank at the time. I now know her rank and refer to her accordingly. Happy?"

No. "Young lady" is how you refer to the girl who stamped the wrong date in your library book. As in "I think the young lady had forgotten to change the date stamp". Not how you refer to a sailor on active duty. Would you refer to any of the male sailors as "young men" or would you refer to them by their profession: sailors?

You're patronising, self-rightous and preachy, so at least you fit the stereotype.

"When captured, do as you're told for the time being. L/S Turney is a Service person who has been trained how to behave in such a situation and is presumably acting accordingly."

No shit, Sherlock! I criticised not L/S Turney but the vile Iranians for humiliating her with obscenity of the hijab. You're not supposed to humiliate prisoners of war. Please try to put your prejudices to one side and read what people actually write instead of setting up straw men to triumphantly pull down.

"At least she has not had to suffer the indignity of being hooded and manacled." GITMMMMOH!!!!!! Thank God you mentioned it! The suspense was killing me. Moral equivalency. Self-detonators and their handlers compared to a ship full of professional sailors working peacefully under the auspices of the UN. Makes sense to me.

I don't care how many years you served in the armed forces. I'll bet you were a pain in the neck with your little lectures and your moral equivalency, dearie.

I wish the enemies of Britain ill. Iran is our enemy. Ergo ...

Anonymous said...

Normal Norman - when I discussed how you had the impertinence to refer to L/S Turney as a "young lady", I asked if you would have referred to her male colleagues as "young men". That was a mistake. I meant to ask you if you would have referred to them as "the young gentlemen".

You wouldn't, of course, because something in the back of your mind would warn you of how patronising such a phrase is. And you referred to L/S Turney as "the young lady" because that is how you feel about women. Patronising. And vaguely resentful.

No one but a lout would refer to a 26-year old professional woman as "the young lady". That you did so is illustrative of your patronising attitude to women.

David Lindsay said...

"The Islam-loving Camel Corps in the FO", writes poor, mad, sad, demented Verity, unable to answer any of my points about what would happen if Iran really were attacked as "she" (I'm not convinced of that, by the way) advocates, or indeed about anything else.

Well, Verity, try this one: they don't come much more "Islam-loving" than those who backed the proto-Taliban, Alija Izetbegovic, the Kosovo "Liberation" Army, and the unleashing both of Wahhabism and of its Shi'te twin in Iraq, and who continue to back Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Chechnya, while calling for the Iraqification of Syria and the letting of out of such Iranian genies as the Shi'te Arabs, the Kurds, the Turkeman, the Baluchis, the Azeris, and Persians bent on revenge.

Of course, dhimmitude holds no terrors for your neocon pals, Verity. They look back to Moorish Spain, and they like what they see.

Do you actually know what any of these words mean, Verity?

Anonymous said...

David Lindsay writes: "Do you actually know what any of these words mean, Verity?"

Any of which words? You didn't specify which words you thought were too arcane for their definitions to be in common currency.

Be assured. I understood every word you wrote. What I didn't understand is where on earth you are coming from.

I have written many times that we are in Iraq not because of WMD, but because we have to establish democracies in the ME to counter Wahabbism. I have written that it is working - the Saudis, their people having watched footage on Al-Jazeera nightly that includes women in Iraq routinely driving cards and they have been forced to do a volte face and agree to give driver's licences to women. As a small, easily encapsulated, sample.

Dhimmitude is what some of us are fighting with vigour, although frankly, it's a losing battle. Eurabia becomes more real with each passing day. If you are interested in dhimmitude, may I commend the books of Oriana Fallaci and Bat Y'eor. I would also comnmend the website dhimmiwatch.

Don't patronise me, sweets. You're not up to the job.

Anonymous said...

I must have typed the word verification under Nombre de usuario instead of my name.

David Lindsay said...

"Any of which words?"

Any at all, it seems.

"I have written many times that we are in Iraq not because of WMD,"

Well, at least somebody now admits this, I suppose.

"but because we have to establish democracies in the ME to counter Wahabbism."

But, as I wrote before, liberal democracy arises out of,a nd is ultimately only capable of being sustained by, classical Christianity. As a disciple of Max Shachtman, Leo Strauss, Ayn Rand and the rest (or, more probably, as a disciple of their disciples), you want to de-Christianise (precisely in order to de-democratise and to enslave) the West, even if you are prepared, for popular consumption, to define your own system as Christianity so as to prevent any serious theological critique of it.

"I have written that it is working - the Saudis, their people having watched footage on Al-Jazeera nightly that includes women in Iraq routinely driving cards and they have been forced to do a volte face and agree to give driver's licences to women. As a small, easily encapsulated, sample."

And that has anything to do with democracy, as such, how, exactly? Women always could and did drive in Iraq (although see below as to for how much longer, thanks to your lot), and in any case, whether by this criterion or in terms of democracy properly so called, your friends the Saudis have a great deal less to commend them than, oh, the Iranians.

The unleashing of Wahhabism in the centre of Iraq, and in the south of a strain of Shi'ism which would simply never command popular support in Iran, might yet, and soon, stop women from driving there. That unleashing was the wholly predicatble, and widely predicted, consequence of removing one of the Arab world's two principal bulwarks against such forces. I note that the other such bulwark (in Syria) is also high on the neocon hitlist.

All of this is entirely of a piece with the neocon record in 1980s Afghanistan, in 1990s Yugoslavia, and in Pakistan, Chechnya and the Gulf monarchies (especially Saudi Arabia) to this day.

"Eurabia becomes more real with each passing day."

Thanks to the unlimited immigration advocated by your neocon mates. Logically, of course, there cannot be a global "free" market in goods, services and capital but not in labour. And anyway, you and yours want to Islamise Europe (and then America, seldom mentioned but already well under way) in order to destroy the Christian basis of her culture and thus of her freedom, as well as in order to stke up inter-ethnic tension so as to justify all manner of repressive measures.

"Don't patronise me, sweets."

Clearly, I don't need to.

Anonymous said...

V: "I have written many times that we are in Iraq not because of WMD,"

DL: Well, at least somebody now admits this, I suppose.

Not "now". I understood from Day One what the point of this war is. I never had the faintest interest in WMD because I understood that this was a sop to people who couldn't get their heads round the need to defeat Wahabbism.

Re your remarks about Christianity, I think the absolute defeat of islam is a big enough subject. I'm not going to address it in terms of Christianity as that will simply give rise to hostility and furious side-tracking from the fundamentalist atheists who infest Britain today.

I know that women always could and always have driven in Iraq, Mr Lindsay. That was the whole point of my simple sentence.

Coverage of the war in Iraq has shown images of women routinely driving around. These images have been seen in every home in Saudi Arabia, making it untenable for the House of Saud to continue to ban women from driving. They are now issuing drivers' licences to women. A tiny step forward, but one that has been forced on them by our presence in Iraq.

"Unlimited immigration" has never been a stance adopted by neo cons or any other cons. This is strictly a leftist construct to destroy national identities. I thought everyone knew that. Blair and the slithy toves in the cabinet are the ones you should be berating.

You are living in a dream world. I have written many times that we will, at some point, have to consider a massive programme of reverse immigration. It's the CNDers like Cherie Blair and other one-worlders you should reserve your toxicity for.

Your reading comprehension is very poor and I won't be responding to you again.

Anonymous said...

Well done Verity. True to form as usual.

Lose the argument and resort to abuse.

I'm glad that you have chosen not to reply to David Lindsey's posting. Please do me the honour of not responding to this one as well.

Having been described by you as the following:-

Established yet chopped up nonentity.
Self righteous.

If that's the best you can do I look forward to further intelligent discussion with you at a later date.

For the time being, this correspondence is closed.

If you think that's patronising, you ain't seen nothing yet dearie.

Peace be upon you.

David Lindsay said...

I Googled for "Verity UK", and I found "14-year-old Halifax girl appears in court charged with murder".