>> Whew! Rog was uncharacteristically brief. When I first saw his post pop up I thought the two of you were going to gang up on me.
Don't worry. Rog and I never agree, out of principle. It keeps us sharp.
And, as long as we are no longer arguing my point that the kids could've been snatched from across the border, and since you have expressed an interest in debating these incidents further:
>> Yeah, you could term it confused. I'd tend to say they disagree with the Western powers who defined it for them.
First, another point of order- one could argue that the West did not impose that border upon Iran and Iraq. As I understand it Iran and Iraq did (to the extent that they bothered to define it) in the 1975 Algiers Accord that ended the war.
>> Or was that really the reason they were there?
Your innuendo falls flat here, Tom. I'm far from a British apologist but, again, the Brits didn't point weapons at anyone. And since we're wildly speculating, her...
If they were up to no good then why didn't the British flee when they saw the Iranian gunboats coming? Why didn't they resist the seizure of their personnel with their helicopters? For that matter, if the British were trying to infiltrate Iranian territory why on Earth would they choose to do so with such patently non-elite and essentially unarmed and utterly ill-equipped personnel? In broad daylight? Why did the Cornwall not warn off the Iranians, but rather inform their own personnel not to be provocative? If the Iranians weren't trying to stage an incident then why were they so speedy and enthusiastic about publicizing the whole thing? Why didn't they try to confront other more heavily armed vessels that had been operating in the area for years, rather than waiting for some basically unarmed RIBs? (On both occasions.) And why NOW, suddenly? Such searches had been conducted for years. The Iranians did NOT send messages to the British to assert their sovereignty and instruct them to stop the searches in this disputed region- they just came in one day with gunboats and snatched people involved in law-enforcement duties.
>> Shadow the dhow and let the Iraqis seize it when they try to offload. Why make the interdiction in a sensitive, contested area,
Why NOT search the vessel at sea? You can't shadow it forever. Searching at sea allows one to search far more craft much more quickly, and thus with less personnel committed to the effort. And such compliance inspections are commonplace and routine. And again, why did the Iranians suddenly decide one day to come screaming in and snatch people? Why were so MANY gunboats so near- when usually they operate spread out over a very large area. And why kidnap the personnel? The usual, accepted procedure in situations where another sovereign's military vessels have strayed into one's territorial waters is to warn them off. No such attempt was made. So why take them into custody and make such a public spectacle of it all?
As I said I am far from a British apologist, but I propose that the Iranians more than likely had the ulterior motive, here, not the British.
>> address those who send our best and bravest on a fool's mission, to die and be maimed,
Yes, that is sort of the point that I demurred on addressing when I mentioned the "prior US administration" a while back. My views on this may surprise you, but I'm simply not going to start THAT flame war. Because even if WE agree, we will simply incite some rabid individual with a contrary view. It is pointless.
Ok, Tom, you double-posted on me. Play nice.
>> No proof, just things I hear and read which make sense in the current context.
Well, sorry, that simply doesn't sound terribly convincing. If the West were arming Iranian Kurds and Baluchis that would be an incredibly provocative act. OTOH, Iran tends to interpret ANY aid to Kurds as military aid, which is absurd. Do they want us to stop helping Iraqi Kurds rebuild northern Iraq? What? In fact the US has been trying to convince the Iraqi Kurds to STOP supporting insurgents in Turkey and other neighboring countries. (It gets embarrassing when two of your allies are killing one another.) I doubt that, given current tensions, we are handing out Stingers to the Baluchis.
>> We've already established that the border is ill defined and highly sensitive at this time.
True. But the Iranians interpret the ill-defined area as being totally theirs. They have no sense of compromise on this. And, again, the British weren't pushing the issue in the ill-defined area. They were pretty well away. The Iranians were being provocative. (See my rant, above.)
And, again, that cuts both ways, Tom. Why were the Iranians playing games in such a sensitive area? Seizing British military members is a hell of a lot more provocative than searching a dhow.
(And incidentally, I was never talking about good and evil, here.)
>> Revenge is part of the code in that part of the world.
Does the fact that it is a tradition make it right? Of course not! I find any callous disregard for life inherently repugnant.
Sorry. I had to degenerate into a smug American for a second, there. And, of course, my views are colored by living in a society where almost anyone can expect not to starve, and to live a long life.
>> Now that's a much more reasonable way to state your proposition.
That is PRECISELY how I stated my position, Brother. Several times. :o) The first time was a bit flippant, I admit, but when it became contentious I clarified it immediately. I'm sorry I had to beat that same drum over and over (and over) before I made it clear what I was saying...
>> Also incidents have been reported where Iran complained about infiltrators inciting unrest among both the Baluch minoity in southeastern Iran, as well the equually restive Arab population in West central Iran on the Iraqi border.
I take a contrary view, in the context of a government that tends to characterize ANY internal dissent as the work of "Yankee Devil Provocateurs." One can only cry wolf so many times... :o) Witness their recent mass election protests. Sorry, but the CIA simply isn't that competent...
And, what difference does it make what Iran "complained" about? Show me a Stinger, or a western body. Knowing what little I know about intelligence work and the military, I find it HIGHLY unlikely that we could have anyone doing such blatant provocation in Iran since 2003 and NOT had one of those operations go pear-shaped in a messy and massively public way to date.
As I said, I am far from an Iran-basher. And I found W's attitude toward Iran to be puerile. (Though it also says something that Obama, who made a big deal about his plans to re-engage with Iran during the election, has cooled off on it somewhat.) But on these snatching issues I think that the Iranians are being intentionally provocative, aggressive, and irresponsible.
I'll read your reference, though. More later...