March 30, 2007

What if we were in Iranian waters?

I probably won’t make myself popular for saying this… But what if the British sailors were in Iranian waters?

I’ve been troubled by some of the Foreign Office language, which is vague enough to leave room for admitting they were wrong. For instance, we’ve heard about the exact spot where the sailors were captured. But we’ve not been shown the line that they took before that. What if they accidentally went into Iranian waters, then returned to Iraqi waters, and were then captured. Essentially, both the British and the Iranians would be in the wrong. The Britons for having been in Iranian waters, and the Iranians for having gone into Iraqi waters to detain them.

If what we’ve heard is true, the Iranians were in the wrong because they should have shepherded the sailors out of their waters – there is no need for them to have been detained under maritime law.

Compare a British news report with one on an international news website. There is often a subtle difference in language. The British media take MoD statements as fact, while there’s more emphasis on ”...the MoD claim that the sailors were in Iraqi waters…” in international reporting.

My concern is that we’re only hearing half of the story. This is largely because the Iranian regime is disfunctional, secretive and has a lot to hide. But I wonder whether the vacuum of information from the other side means that we’re getting information which isn’t as high-quality as we’re led to believe.

Would our media ever decide something the Iranians said was correct and that something the MoD said was incorrect? It seems very unlikely.

We, understandably, want our sailors back. The MoD, understandably, would never want to admit that they made a mistake in relation to Iran. Foreign relations are too sensitive to give them any ground on such an international stage.

And the Iranians have, for sure, acted wrongly by detaining the fifteen, putting two of them on television, making them read admissions of guilt and denying consular access.

But what if we did cock up? Would we ever find out the truth?

- 4 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Mark

    Shortest answer – No. There seems to be a whole lot going on here that the public have not been enlightened to. I highly doubt we will find out anything, well unless the sun manages to get hold of top secret information again like it did with the friendly fire story.

    30 Mar 2007, 13:18

  2. There are a lot of possibilities going on but, until people sit down and start talking to each other instead of trying send ‘messages’, we are unlikely to find out.

    30 Mar 2007, 13:30

  3. Have you read Craig Murray’s comments on this (here and here)? Personally, I’m totally ignorant about it all so I make no comment.

    30 Mar 2007, 14:27

  4. Just read Craig Murray’s comments. He forgets to state that, by training, Tony Blair is a barrister so is used to making assertions that he thinks might help his position. If he doesn’t win he will just shrug his shoulders and go on to the next job without any loss of face. But he’s making these assertions to a culture that doesn’t like finger pointing and would like nothing better than to sit down and discuss its problems over a decent cup of coffee during the course of an afternoon observing all the pleasantries. Understanding the differences in culture would be a start in resolving this problem.

    30 Mar 2007, 14:57

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