Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 29, 2007

Blair's Faked Border

As former British ambassador Craig Murray points out, the British seem to have faked a maritime boundary.

The British Ministry of Defense has released coordinates where fifteen British sailors and marines were picked up by Iranians after searching a merchant ship:

"As shown on the chart, the merchant vessel was 7.5 nautical miles south east of the Al Faw Peninsula and clearly in Iraqi territorial waters. Her master has confirmed that his vessel was anchored within Iraqi waters at the time of the arrest. The position was 29 degrees 50.36 minutes North 048 degrees 43.08 minutes East.

The MoD asserts that this position is within Iraqi waters:

This places her 1.7 nautical miles inside Iraqi territorial waters. This fact has been confirmed by the Iraqi Foreign Ministry.

Additionally the MoD provides a map with the position marked and with a line labeled "Iraq / Iran Territorial Water Boundary". I have taken this map and made two circles with the ship-position the MoD marked as the center. This is a part of the graph.


The complete bigger graph is here

The blue line is the circle centered in the given position and touching the nearest point of the Iranian coast. The green line is the circle centered in the given position and touching the nearest point of the Iraqi coast. The distance from the given position to Iraqi land is considerably larger than that to Iranian land.

But the MoD map also says "positions for illustrative purposes", so let's not rely on them. The next map is copied from Microsoft Encarta. The maps there include latitude and longitude lines. Using such and the MoD coordinates I interpolated by pixel-count and marked that position in red.


The complete bigger graph is here

The blue line is the circle centered in the given position and touching the nearest point of the Iranian coast. Again it is obvious that the position is more near to the Iranian than the Iraqi coastline.

Which leads to the obvious question. On what basis are the British asserting that the line they painted in their graphic is indeed the "Iraq / Iran Territorial Water Boundary."

That boundary is simply not well defined and Iran and Iraq have fought several wars about the Shatt al-Arab and its waterways. There is no binding or otherwise recognized international agreement about the maritime boundaries.

If one would use a maritime boundary defined by equidistance from the Iraqi and Iranian coastlines, as is commonly (see Art.7) done in such cases, the result would be something like this purple line.


The complete bigger graph is here

The merchant vessels position as given by the British and the British forces themselves would then have been well in Iranian waters.

Tony Blair should get some sense and tone down the hype over this. The British sailors and marines certainly will soon be returned to their homeland.

To rely on dubious boundaries that are not supported by the geography but drafted by his own Ministry of Defense is certainly not a strong argument for further agressions.

Posted by b on March 29, 2007 at 10:21 AM | Permalink

Comments

thanks for getting this rolling b, I am sure at least one side is lying about this and maybe both are but the English have more of an incentive to be less than truthful.

one thing that keeps coming out is a weasel word sentence where the brits insist the sailors were "picked up" in Iraqi waters. Bliar never says that the sailors "were never in Iranian waters". how to lie by simply not stating the whole truth.

Many GPS have a "breadcrumb" feature that records positions and times. If the brits did not have time to erase theirs and the Iranians have it, which I suspect they do, I dare say the Iranians have better cards. should bliar and co start getting too uppity these tracks get shown to the whole world.

check!

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 29, 2007 11:45:38 AM | 1

You have done precisely what I warned against doing in my posts on Craig Murray's website - drawn an equidistance line between the high-water lines on the two coasts rather than the low-water line which is the legal baseline for delimiting the territorial sea. In fact the agreed boundary in the Shatt al Arab extends well beyond the point shown on the Microsoft map you have used - to a point around 1.7 nautical miles northeast of the position where the Ministry of Defence said that the arrest took place. And the median line extending seawards of that point runs east southeastwards from the charted low-water line.

You may not like the approach that the British government has taken, but your analysis here is badly misplaced.

Posted by: Martin Pratt | Mar 29, 2007 11:46:05 AM | 2

oh yeah, and the anchored vessel is Iranian. another point somehow overlooked by the whole friggin world.

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 29, 2007 11:47:03 AM | 3

Have you tried using Google Earth (satellite imagery from 2006)? Resolution is great. You can zoom in nicely to see the Iranian fast boat base just inshore. Detailed enough to spot the outboard engines on the small launches there. And it allows you to overlay the Mod maps and enter GPS coordinates.

http://images.hostmypic.info/e8da6ecb3e.jpg

Posted by: Jurgen Leemans | Mar 29, 2007 11:48:26 AM | 4

sorry, this is link actually works:

http://www1.filehost.to/files/2007-03-29_03/174744_Iraq3.jpg

Posted by: Jurgen Leemans | Mar 29, 2007 11:53:18 AM | 5

@Martin Pratt

- sorry, I have found no map that would show the low water line (btw: at full- or at half-moon?) There seems to be no map of the boundary on the web at all - no wonder as it is disputed since 1639 or so. There are hardly good criterias to come up with a real boundary - that would have to be negotiated.

But that in no way is the case I wanted to make.

I wanted to show that there is nothing and that Blair is just coming up with something his folks made up. How can Blair come up with a map and boundries when there are none and then bluster about "illegal" and going to the UN.

That does make no sense at all neither is it helpful.

The Iranians could up with a map themselfs that would show all kind of bounderies to their liking.

Here is what a British expert had to say to the BBC

Richard Schofield, an expert in international boundaries at King's College London, questioned whether the dispute would be eased if the Royal Navy released co-ordinates of where the sailors were seized.

"Releasing the co-ordinates wouldn't necessarily help us as there is no formally agreed boundary," he said.

"It isn't clear the incident happened off the water of Shatt al-Arab. We are talking about territorial waters beyond."

"Iran and Iraq have never agreed a boundary of their territorial waters. There is no legal definition of the boundary beyond the Shatt al-Arab."

@Juergen - the google pictures don't show boundaries either ...


Posted by: b | Mar 29, 2007 12:53:19 PM | 6

I heard it reported that the searched vessel was Indian.

Posted by: R.L. | Mar 29, 2007 1:00:29 PM | 7

b - Thanks for this post. When the British announced the border and the location point of the boat, it confused me. I thought I recalled, from the incident a couple years ago, that there was something very squirrely about that water border between Iran & Iraq. Yet here the Brits had a diagram with a nice clear boundary line. No mention of boundary uncertainty or ship's path or recent past incidents in any reports I found.

Has the press entirely given up the old-fashioned journalistic principle of recapitulating background and relevant historic details at the end of a news report, establishing historical context and perspective? Or do reporters no longer have memory or knowledge of even the recent past?

Of course, with Abdullah of the Saudis calling US occupation of Iraq "illegitimate", others in that neighborhood may soon make the argument that Brit & US ships have no right to be on the Iraqi side of the border either.

danos re GPS record - Good point. Inquiring minds would certainly like a glimpse of that record.

Posted by: small coke | Mar 29, 2007 2:09:57 PM | 8

"Has the press entirely given up the old-fashioned journalistic principle of recapitulating background and relevant historic details at the end of a news report, establishing historical context and perspective? Or do reporters no longer have memory or knowledge of even the recent past?"
1. Yes.
2. Yes. Memory suppression is the most important journalistic attribute of our time.
You got questions, we got answers!

Posted by: Dick Durata | Mar 29, 2007 2:41:35 PM | 9

here is one story about the merchant ship being Iranian. that was the initial report and then corporate media dropped the nationality of the vessel so as not to confuse the issue

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 29, 2007 5:15:58 PM | 10

Well - Blair's map didn't even impress his allies in the UN Security Council, but maybe the headline writer at AP:

U.N. calls on Iran to free Britons

The
U.N. Security Council expressed "grave concern" Thursday over the capture of 15 British sailors and marines and called for an early resolution of the problem, including their release.

Britain failed to win support for a stronger statement deploring weeklong
Iran's detention of the Britons and calling for their immediate freedom, primarily because of Russian opposition.

Britain sought Security Council help as Iran rolled back on its promise to release Faye Turney, the sole woman among the captives, and a senior Iranian official suggested all 15 Britons might be put on trial.

Usually some pressure game would have started at the UN. Here nobody wants to take a legal stand on such fake borders.

Meanwhile the 5% increase of oil prices will help Iran to keep a straight budget and to pay the Russians for continuing the Bushaer reactor ... Blair is really screwing up the case and his position here ...

Posted by: b | Mar 29, 2007 6:34:28 PM | 11

@Dan - according to this from the Guardian, the ship was under Indian flag. It could have an Iranian owner though - maybe there is some confusion. (Germans own some 70% of the world's containerships even though only some 10% are under German flag - it's a crazy system.)

The UK denies Iran's claims and insists that the personnel - who were taken after carrying out a routine inspection of an Indian-flagged civilian ship - were in Iraqi waters.

Posted by: b | Mar 29, 2007 6:38:33 PM | 12

1. Excellent review - fundamentally there is no boundary agreed between the two adjoining sovereign states so in Maritime Law there is no basis for argument.

2. Seizing the crew whilst it may not be causus bellis is illegal under Maritime Law whatever they were doing. The Law requires they be asked to leave first.

3. the ship remains un0named and is described in the MOD briefing as "Indian flagged merchant vesel" so the ownership could be Iranian or indeed any other nationality.I find it curious the name has not been disclosed.

4. Much scandalum magnatum over the Iranian fillums on TV of captured personnel, Human rights etc.,by TB, beckett, Des Brown and then the BBC (BBC World is actually a section of the Foreign Office and funded/staffed by them) show it continually and their staff painstakingly deconstruct the film shwoing how it is composed of fillum from the Navy, etc., Beckett in the House of Commons this pm dropped all whinging about the fillum.

5. The inescapable conclusion (including the "coincidental" filming by BBC who "coincidentally were on the Cornwall filming our "brave" lads and it appears sassy mother of 3 year old child is interviewed)is that this is Gulf of Tonkin versin 2.0 supported by Dodgy Dossier by the MOD with fake legal reasoning - the Att. Gnl Lordy Goldsmith hasn't chipped in his bit yet.

Which is bad news all round. maybe we will get to see if those Iranian Sunbursts can destroy aircraft carriers after all.

Posted by: ziz | Mar 29, 2007 6:41:58 PM | 13

Ooops

Forgot the Curiousn case of the disapperaing Lynx helicopter. This arrived with the boarding party as standard procedure to provide "top cover". The MOD briefing mentions only that it "returned" to the scene of the crime (pictures of GPS over anchored (un-named vessel) to validate GPS data - which in picture are actually variant from figurs given in briefing).

Mark Urban on Newsnight last night the mouthpiece for the MOD said it returned for refuelling to the Cornwall, some few miles. Do the Navy regularly go out on sorties with inadequate fuel for the completion of the mission leaving their boarding parties without "top cover" ?

The Missing Lynx..indeed.

Posted by: ziz | Mar 29, 2007 6:50:30 PM | 14

British troops raid IRI consulate

British forces stormed Iranian consulate in Iraq's southern city of Basra and surrounded the office during a shootout with unknown gunmen in Iraq on Thursday, Islamic Republic of Iran's consulate announced.

"British forces sealed off the Iranian consulate in Basra. They went inside for 10 minutes and after that there was intense gunfire on them," Iranian Consul Mohammed Reva Nasir told reporters in Basra.

"This is a provocative act against the Iranian consulate in Basra. I believe it has something to do with the British detainees in Iran," he said.

Posted by: Alamet | Mar 29, 2007 7:02:55 PM | 15

forget the damned gps,
the only place they have rights os the u.k. coastal waters.

they are illegal invaders of iraq claiming permision from a pupet government while the legitimate government is part murdered and part imprisoned.

boarding a forougn vessel at gunpoint is piracy and unless things have changed over the decades the maximum sentence for piracy under naval law is execution.
it *was* hanging from a yardarm or being chained to "traitors-gate" on the thames next to the tower-of-london for 3 tides under u.k. maritime law originally - did it get changed?

these stupid globalists are looking for ww3, i hope i survive to see there faces when they finally get there wish.
i suspect israel will be the first to disappear followed by all government in the u.s.
after that - it's anybody's guess where it will all end.

Posted by: james | Mar 30, 2007 1:04:10 AM | 16

As others have pointed out the question is what are the British and American warships doing in Iraqi waters?

The answer is they have invaded and occupied Iraq and are now using its territorial waters as a base of operations from which to cause an "incident" to be used as "cover" for the destruction of as much of Iran as is possible.

It is unclear what will happen once they do that, but it will not be good. It will be very, very bad it seems to me for everyone on earth.

How can it be that the whole world watches this unfold and does nothing to prevent it?

Posted by: John Francis Lee | Mar 30, 2007 1:21:31 AM | 17

what a luck somehow the shot from the air they knew what time when and where to take that exact picture that show exact position lol too much of coincidence

Posted by: who cares | Mar 30, 2007 2:08:51 AM | 18

Now it's getting serious - the third carrier is on its way: USS Nimitz Scheduled To Depart For Persian Gulf

SAN DIEGO -- The USS Nimitz and its support ships will depart San Diego on Monday for the Persian Gulf to join another local aircraft carrier strike group already in the region, military officials said.

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier will join the San Diego-based John C. Stennis Strike Group and relieve the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, according to Naval Air Forces Public Affairs.

Military officials said in a statement that the two-carrier presence in the Persian Gulf area is intended to demonstrate the country's "resolve to build regional security and bring long-term stability to the region."
...
The Nimitz Strike Group is comprised of the guided-missile cruiser Princeton, guided-missile destroyers Higgins, Chafee, John Paul Jones and Pinckney, two helicopter squadrons and an explosive ordnance disposal unit.

The Stennis, and its strike group, left Naval Base Coronado on Jan. 20. The aircraft carrier entered the Persian Gulf Wednesday, according to authorities. It is the largest carrier presence in the area since the start of the war in Iraq


Posted by: b | Mar 30, 2007 3:00:13 AM | 19

? b-, 2nd graph says it's REPLACING the Eisenhower. There's new story out in which Blair plays Tough Guy, says he will not negotiate blah blah...

Posted by: jj | Mar 30, 2007 3:14:30 AM | 20

Bush regime today stated that America is not occupying force in Iraq and is there on the blessing of the Iraq government. Pure stinky vomit !
All England had to do was just say sorry it was a mistake and it wouldn't happen again. And the 15 would be released--no big deal. Just imagine if Iran gunboats were boarding American or Brit cargo ships and checking for smuggling of Lada cars or Panda bears?
The west has always being middling in this area for thousands of years. Millions have died for oilust and England pieced Iraq together and still trying to make it bigger by stealing Iran terratory. All the middleast was stolen from once the Turkey Empire on lies. English @sshole terrrrorist Pirates !
Notice UN is silent on this issue for now. Two things that would make the world better--get rid of UN and Israel.

Posted by: genrikh yagoda | Mar 30, 2007 3:23:49 AM | 21

As pointed out above, the main issue is that the Limeys were operating out of territory unlawfully and illegaly captured by them and the Yanks, who launched their attacks from aircraft carriers and missile cruisers on the sea, which makes the invasion itself and the occupation of Iraq an act of piracy. That they also sent in forces from land (Kuwait) is irrelevant. Therefore, as criminals cannot resort to the law to protect any of their acts, the whining protests of the Limeys against the Iranians are to be ignored. The Iranians are to be commended for capturing the Limey pirates. Long live Mahmood (The Great) Amadi-nejad!

2nd issue - as any one with eyes can see, the Limeys and the Limeyship Cornwall were trespassing in Iranian territorial waters. Note to Mr. Pratt - please produce maps showing the low-water lines. Put up or shut up.

3rd issue - How is it that the Iranian speedboats were able to surprise the Limey landing party (or is it called "OA Team" these days?)? It's not like a boat on water has any place to hide. And why did the Cornwall not fire on the Iranian speedboats when they saw them coming towards the landing party? And did the Limey pirates' landing party lack any weapons at all to be able to repulse the Iranians before they got close enough to surround them? That's readiness for you! see --> http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/march2007/290307staged.htm


All this points to the conclusion that the Limeys deliberately sent their boarding party to provoke the Iranians and get captured, just as the Israelis sent their forces into Lebanon to captured by Hezbollah last summer so that they would have a pretext to attack Lebanon. Bliar seems to be doing everything to scuttle a settlement/agreement with the Iranians so that the Limeys will have an excuse to attack Iran. Since he is out of office in a month anyway he doesn't have anything at stake like the Americans and Israelis do, which has prevented them up till now from launching an attack on Iran. So the Limeys attack Iran and NATO (North Atlantic Terrorist Organization) buddy Amerikkka is obligated to join the fray to protect their asses.

And Israel gets to kick back and enjoy the show while everyone else sheds the blood of their own children for them fighting Israel's enemies.

Posted by: Antranik | Mar 30, 2007 3:59:20 AM | 22

There is something very fishy about this British/Iranian incident. On the Iranian TV broadcast shown on BBC you see scenes only the sailors could have shot themselfs. For instance you see their boat right infront of the destroyer Cornwall. The Iranians could never get that close. And then you see the captured sailors on the Iranian boat still holding their weapons while the Iranian flag is in view. What kind of a phoney capture is that where you can keep your arms? Very generous of the Iranians. Looks like this is a staged event and the so called enemys are in this together. Why? Who do they want to fool? I smell a very big rat!

Posted by: FromTheColonies | Mar 30, 2007 4:03:05 AM | 23

@jj - carrier "replacement" - for a period of time there will be (at least) three carrier groups around Iran. That may be a replacement, but ...

---

A very astude history of British-Iranian relation in the Guardian - the Brits have screwed Iran quite often ...

A bitter legacy

Hostility to all things British is, as every foreign office mandarin knows, the default mode of Iran's staunchly anti-western political leadership. From its perspective, Britain - along with America - is in the vanguard of "global arrogance", Iranian political shorthand for the contemporary western interventionism whose alleged goal is to dominate and control the resources of developing nations such as Iran.

But this is not just President Ahmadinejad. The antipathy goes back to colonial times, and the long and tortured history of British intervention in Iran.

This anti-British sentiment is shared by ordinary Iranians. Its resonance defies boundaries of age, education, social class or political affiliation. In the eyes of a broad cross-section of the population, Britain - as much, or even more than, the US - is the real enemy.
...
Quiet has seldom been an apt description of the British relationship with Iran in modern times. It started during the 19th century as Iran - along with Afghanistan - became a pawn in the imperial Great Game between Britain and Tsarist Russia. The British sought successfully to use Iran as a buffer to bolster its position in India against the tsarist empire.

In doing so, however, they created an enmity supplanting the traditional Iranian fear and loathing of Russia. Fuelling it was a quickly acquired habit of meddling in Iranian politics and a pattern of monopolising the country's vital natural resources.
...

What follows is quite a list of sins ...

Posted by: b | Mar 30, 2007 4:12:19 AM | 24

Novelist Ronan Bennett: A peculiar outrage

It's right that the government and media should be concerned about the treatment the 15 captured marines and sailors are receiving in Iran. Faye Turney's letters bear the marks of coercion, while parading the prisoners in front of TV cameras was demeaning. But the outrage expressed by ministers and leader writers is curious given the recent record of the "coalition of the willing" on the way it deals with prisoners.

Turney may have been "forced to wear the hijab", as the Daily Mail noted with fury, but so far as we know she has not been forced into an orange jumpsuit. Her comrades have not been shackled, blindfolded, forced into excruciating physical contortions for long periods, or denied liquids and food. As far as we know they have not had the Bible spat on, torn up or urinated on in front of their faces. They have not had electrodes attached to their genitals or been set on by attack dogs.
...

Posted by: b | Mar 30, 2007 8:54:23 AM | 25

This is not the first time British navy has violated Iran’s waters. Now the media in UK is reporting that Iran first supplied them with one co-ordinate and then gave a different one. The truth is that Iran has actually already supplied them with 4 co-ordinates in which British boats entered Iranian waters, in 4 different times and places; it was only at the last location that they were captured. The previous time in which 9 soldiers were captured UK admitted and accepted that this would not happen again.

An Iranian naval officer was shown on Iranian TV who demonstrated exactly what was going on using detailed maps, he also had in his possession their GPS, he said it confidently that there is no doubt the British had transgressed sea boundaries in 4 different places and it was compatible with information stored on the GPS.

Furthermore Ali Larijani on TV said that the claim of the British that these navy men where investigating a merchant ship for a possibility of smuggling stuff such as cars is a joke. He also said that instead of sending a technical team, they quickly sent two journalists and tried to boil up the situation on media by baseless claims; this attitude is further complicating the issue.

There is no doubt these sailors remain safe, but as for when they will be released that probably depends on the level of UK arrogance.

As for a possible war with Iran:

Guys I just tell you one thing, whenever US ordered its naval forces to leave the gulf then be sure there is a possibility for war with Iran. This is all psychological stuff mainly to gather support from Arab puppets.

Iran has a very long shore in Persian Gulf, just imagine how many mines can be laid a day in the gulf and then a few mine sweepers sent by US doesn’t change anything. It takes about 5 ours to remove a single mine.

The gulf’s dept only allows larger ships such as aircraft carriers to move only in a very narrow and small area in the middle of the gulf, do not see the gulf and think: oh such a large area! No fool would ever risk its fleet in such nasty place against water guerrillas equipped with thousands of speed boats that carry anti-ship missiles. Iran also has missiles that carry cluster warheads specifically designed to target the top of the air-craft carriers.

If US can and wants to attack Iran they already have surrounded Iran with many airports and bases all over the place in almost every country, just two more floating airfields won’t change anything. So don’t buy that propaganda.

If Iran sinks an oil tanker at the narrow place half of the tanker would remain on the water this is how shallow the place is, it takes five mounts to salvage the mess. All the oil must wait for five mounts…

If they could they would have already attacked Iran.

One final thing, some people talk about war, war has a definition, there are about five different scales of significance and a war includes all, for instance Iran-Iraq war included many battles (fronts) and each battle many operations and each operation many fights and so on, a simple air strike does not mean war and it should receive a response in the same level.

Iran has Oil, Gas and Uranium, while European countries have to import their own uranium, Iran can sell enriched uranium 30% cheaper than the whole world. This is serious control over future energy.

Finally, the recent holocaust move by Iran was to show that Iran can define a strategic ground in which the opponent must play. It did cost west a lot.

So all these movies (300), events and talks are all tensions between a few powers (old ones and new ones), nothing is excluded, everything is related, even the price of egg, after all when two big guys wrestle in a small room those little kids will be crushed underneath! (Referring to less powerful countries)

Thank you, sorry for the long post.

Posted by: Iranian | Mar 30, 2007 8:56:51 AM | 26

@Iranian - your opinion is welcome, no need to apologize for length.
---

AP: - Good point on the boundaries:

Iran Rolls Back on Pledge to Free Sailor

Britain has circulated a draft press statement to the Security Council, asking it to ``deplore'' Tehran's action and demand the immediate release of the captives.

But Security Council diplomats said the statement is likely to face problems from Russia and others because it says the Britons were ``operating in Iraqi waters'' - a point that Iran contests.
...
In London, Vice Adm. Charles Style said the British boats were seized at 29 degrees 50.36 minutes north latitude and 48 degrees 43.08 minutes east longitude. He said that position had been confirmed by an Indian-flagged merchant ship boarded by the sailors and marines.

But the position, outside the Shatt el-Arab waterway in the Gulf, is an area where no legal boundary exists, leaving it unclear whose territory it lies in, said Kaiyan Kaikobad, author of ``The Shatt al-Arab Boundary Question.''

``What we do have is a de facto state practiced boundary - a line both countries have been observing on the spot,'' he said. ``The problem is that though the British have drawn a line where they claim the de facto line is, we haven't seen an Iranian version.''

Posted by: b | Mar 30, 2007 9:09:57 AM | 27

so if what Iranian says is true, the Brits did not erase their GPS. That would certainly explain the spin about the anchored vessel and the insistance that their guys were "picked up" in Iraqi waters.

I wonder what the world press would say if Iran made those guys wear orange jumpsuits and showed them shackled to the cargo floor of a cargo plane. what could they say?

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 30, 2007 9:35:57 AM | 28

On another group's e-mail someone state that the mother ship may have been somewhere else and her boats with the 15 soldiers were somewhere else. So it's very plausible they were in iranian territory while their ship was no where to be seen. This leaves room to question as to what vessel UK is speaking of; the ship or the two boats that Iranians claim were in their territory. I'm sure if the ship was close at hand, they would have protected their two boats. Sounds like the UK was inciting an incident to give them cause to invade Iran along with the US as planned some years ago. Sounds fishy in any case. UK put the bait out and Iran bit it. Hmmmmmmmmm.

Posted by: Tane | Mar 30, 2007 9:54:24 AM | 29

I'm not so sure relying on GPS is something I'd put 100% faith in anyways.

It's pretty obvious that some people in the US administration & military have been itching for a fight with Iran for ages and that Europe's hostility to such a move - including the UK - has been a stumbling block.

I suspect that seeing as the US military has complete control over GPS that a slight adjustment in terms of the 1 mile or at most 2 required would be no big deal if it was desired.

The helicopter conveniently called away is mightily suspicious.

.....and the British tabloid treatment of Faye Turney has Jessica Lynch written all over it.

Posted by: Hmmm | Mar 30, 2007 11:53:07 AM | 30

A Point About Marking the Boundaries at High Tide versus Low Tide

Some people have raised an objection about this arguement, saying that the boundaries must be marked at low tide. Of course, there seem to be no maps available showing the water level in the gulf at different tidal points. I did some research, and it turns out that the Persian Gulf is a body of water known as an 'amphdrome'. It does not experience significant variation in water level between the tides. This is an effect that is caused by the length of the time that it takes for the tidal wave to travel from mouth of the Persian Gulf to it western end. The variation is even dampened more because of the narrow Straight of Hormuz. You can find more info on this BBC page, and other more technical sites.

So, it follows that if there is no variation in there is no variation in water level, then the maps used on this page and by Craig Murray are correct. Hence, the British sailors were in Iranian waters.

Posted by: Tinoush | Mar 30, 2007 1:00:17 PM | 31

I suspect that seeing as the US military has complete control over GPS that a slight adjustment in terms of the 1 mile or at most 2 required would be no big deal if it was desired

IF that were possible, and I really don't think it is, others standing on dry land would suddenly find that their coordinates had changed. Airplanes would have to do sudden course correction in flight. GPS relies on several satellites broadcasting their position to a receiver on the ground. that receiver triangulates the information received and gives a precise location. there was code built in that allowed military users to have more accurate information but that is now been done away with and everyone can get really precise coordinates.

No, the track history is and always has been damning. that is why they always frame it in reference to the anchored vessel. It has been working too, quite well actually. most people I talk to are certain the Iranians are in the wrong.

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 30, 2007 1:10:34 PM | 32

Blah blah blah. Too many posters here are obviously Da Vinci Code fanatics.

Do people really believe that a British warship would deliberately enter Iran's territorial waters and allow itself to be discovered? The surveillance technology available to them would have warned them of the presence of an Iranian vessel long before they had come into view.

Why are people trying to disprove the British line on this? Surely the Iranians have a far far worse record on this kind of thing?

Posted by: David in Istanbul | Mar 30, 2007 1:40:55 PM | 33

Surely the Iranians have a far far worse record on this kind of thing?

They do? What's the last time they attacked another country? What's the last time they tortured foreign prisoners? What's the last time their president/prime minister lied to their parliament and the people to make himself a poodle?

Posted by: b | Mar 30, 2007 2:08:56 PM | 34

Britain stumbles in diplomatic dance with Iran | Special Reports | Guardian Unlimited Politics

With the crisis over the 15 captured British sailors and marines seemingly getting worse from day to day, there is increasing scrutiny over how the issue has been handled by the Blair government.

A former ambassador to Tehran, Sir Richard Dalton, appeared on the BBC expressing surprise at the government's tactics and suggesting that it had allowed "anger at the way the sailors are being treated" to get the better of it, and had played what may be its strongest card - going to the UN security council - too early.

He was giving voice to four years of experience in Tehran and knowledge of how chaotic its multi-polar government can be and how slowly wheels turn, virtually grinding to a halt over the fortnight-long no rouz (new year) holidays. Sir Richard could also have been channelling the frustrations of his former colleagues at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who feel they were bumped into an early escalation by a gung-ho prime minister, under pressure from the rightwing media.

The near consensus in the foreign office is that, in the ceaseless struggle for the ear of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the pragmatists and internationalists ultimately win out over the hotheads, particularly if there is a risk of Iranian isolation. They point to the precedent of 2004, when the British naval crew captured then were released after three days. The difference between now and then, they suggest, could just be the complicating factor of no rouz.

Since Mr Blair announced the start of a "different phase" on Tuesday, and the severing of government-to-government contacts on Wednesday, the situation has clearly worsened. Britain's weakness at the UN was demonstrated by the watered-down statement issued by the security council.

Posted by: Fran | Mar 30, 2007 2:54:05 PM | 35

1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (Appendix E)



Article 12
1. Where the coasts of two States
are opposite or adjacent to each
other, neither of the two States is
entitled, failing agreement between
them to the contrary, to extend its
territorial sea beyond the median
line every point of which is
equidistant from the nearest points
on the baselines from which the
breadth of the territorial sea of
each of the two States is measured.
The provisions of this paragraph
shall not apply, however, where it
is necessary by reason of historic
title or other special circumstances
to delimit the territorial seas of the
two States in a way which is at
variance with this provision.
2. The line of delimitation between
the territorial sea of two States
lying opposite to each other or
adjacent to each other shall be
marked on large-scale charts
officially recognized by the coastal
States.

Article 13

If a river flows directly into the sea,
the baseline shall be a straight line
across the mouth of the river
between points on the low-tide
line of its banks.


Thus the territorial line in waters off the river mouth will be a line perpendicular to the baseline drawn across the river mouth.

Posted by: john | Mar 30, 2007 3:29:39 PM | 36

Tony Blair has no credibility left. The west is clearly trying to provoke Iran. 9/11 was an inside-job, one designed to bring about a "clash of civilizations" so that the Anglo-American power-structure can stave off economic collapse. Phony Tony earlier said that he wanted no part of attacking Iran, so this latest debacle is probably designed to give him a plausible excuse to go back on his word.

The neo-con fascist war-mongers are desperate; they wanted to get more mileage out of 9/11 than they've so far had success with, so don't be surprised at a convenient Gulf of Tonkin-style event to take place in the Middle East, or maybe even another false-flag terror attack in the U.S. to justify martial law and WAR, WAR, WAR.

Posted by: The End | Mar 30, 2007 3:58:49 PM | 37

In response to "dan of steele"'s comments:

You can see the video here it's in Farsi though:

http://www.iribnews.ir/PhotoGallery/Photo/_546d1971.wmv

I was wrong in saying four locations, there are more... multiple locations that's for sure as you see in the maps.
--------------------
Regrading other issues:

As far as I know, it is nearly impossible to change the recorded data on a GPS, though I may be wrong.

I would like to also add something here regarding world borders. Over 70% percent (maybe even 90% if you consider the Anglo-Saxon race as a whole) of borders between countries have been drawn by the British. I do not have evidence of this but you can do a search. Your ancestors have drawn both American and Iranian borders as well as many others. It was the British who separated Afghanistan and Bahrain from Iran not more than a century ago.

Despite what appears on the media, Iran actually has a very good image in the world and in particular in the middle-east, while both US and UK have very bad images (reputation) particularly in the middle-east. I personally don't like the word middle-east, it was an American naval officer who for the first time used that word; he was defining the world from his office somewhere in US; middle-east of who!?

Thank you, until the next time…

Posted by: Iranian | Mar 30, 2007 6:08:22 PM | 38

just read something nasty,

the american traitors known as "representatives" (LOL) are all on holiday between the 2nd and the 9th of april!!!

so if some suspicious shit happens between those dates the monkey-puppet can act without debating or requesting clearance from them!!!

didnt the russians say something about the 6th?
when is that 3rd carrier expected to arrive???

Posted by: james | Mar 30, 2007 6:46:54 PM | 39

one other thing,

Bliar said the treatment of the prisoners was unaceptable,

maybe the iranians should have:

A: put sacks over there heads,
given them a good kicking and then taken them to a prison for some photographed "group-anal-sex" - followed by another good kicking.

/or/

B: put them on a plane to another country for some good old fashioned torture,
followed by a hosedown and a matching orange jumpsuit and hood.
then a one-way trip to some cages on a remote desert-island.


both these things are not just acceptable to Bliar, but are standard methods of operation.

maybe one day his people with give him the "karimov" treatment - something else he has no problem with.
boil the bitch!

Posted by: james | Mar 30, 2007 6:54:22 PM | 40

Ah well - it's all idle conjecture - backed up by "serious analysis" or otherwise.

Although it's probably best not to do too much serious thinking with your "guts" - I also have an uneasy feeling about the "6th".

The planets (and the carriers, the stock market close, the upcoming election season, the corner the they have backed themselves into) - all seem to point to a last window of opportunity for the crazies to forment a crisis.

This might not be possible (who knows what goes on in smoke-filled back rooms) - but the AIPAC crowd have a long-term agenda - and if they don't move on it while the going is good then they will have lost their chance to shape the future.

At the moment, all is quiet on the Iranian front, but quiet times make me nervous.

I think it is either now or never, and I am not convinced that the Empire is yet at the point where they are ready to tuck their tail between the legs, and slink off home.

Posted by: DM | Mar 30, 2007 7:11:09 PM | 41

Slightly OT:

America And Britain Asked Poland To Host Secret CIA Gulag

Britain's collusion with the CIA rendition and black sites program has been well documented. However, what seems to be emerging now is not so much a story of collusion but full involvement.
(snip)
According to a confidential British intelligence memo shown to RAW STORY, Prime Minister Tony Blair told Poland's then-Prime Minister Leszek Miller to keep the information secret, even from his own government.
(snip)
And if Blair not only knew but also requested this, it begs the question: how much further was he involved in this program?

Posted by: Alamet | Mar 30, 2007 8:01:25 PM | 42

Re #41 - I should have said AIPAC/PNAC. I don't want to be seen as favouring one bunch of fucking crazies over the other.

Posted by: DM | Mar 30, 2007 8:19:05 PM | 43

The surveillance technology available to them would have warned them of the presence of an Iranian vessel long before they had come into view.

you are right david , it would have. that is precisely the point. why did they do it? either way, what would be the point of being secretive or evasive about identifying the origin of he vessel they were searching?

what a coincidence eh, the timing.

Posted by: annie | Mar 30, 2007 11:01:03 PM | 44

I wonder, could the gulf of tonkin incident have played out (as it did) in todays world -- with blogging? Interesting just how fast the wheels fall of the spin these days.

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 31, 2007 12:55:35 AM | 45

Call that humiliation?No hoods. No electric shocks. No beatings. These Iranians clearly are a very uncivilised bunch

I share the outrage expressed in the British press over the treatment of our naval personnel accused by Iran of illegally entering their waters. It is a disgrace. We would never dream of treating captives like this - allowing them to smoke cigarettes, for example, even though it has been proven that smoking kills. And as for compelling poor servicewoman Faye Turney to wear a black headscarf, and then allowing the picture to be posted around the world - have the Iranians no concept of civilised behaviour? For God's sake, what's wrong with putting a bag over her head? That's what we do with the Muslims we capture: we put bags over their heads, so it's hard to breathe. Then it's perfectly acceptable to take photographs of them and circulate them to the press because the captives can't be recognised and humiliated in the way these unfortunate British service people are.
...

Posted by: b | Mar 31, 2007 4:14:07 AM | 46

Despite what appears on the media, Iran actually has a very good image in the world

I think your image has all to do with how it is presented in the media, kind of by definition.

Sorry, but your president is the laughing stock of the world. Bush some folks think is stupid (mostly folks who accuse him of having amazingly complex schemes), Blair a tad past it, but Mahmoud is portrayed as barking mad.

Posted by: Simon | Mar 31, 2007 11:47:50 AM | 47

Sorry, but your president is the laughing stock of the world. Bush some folks think is stupid (mostly folks who accuse him of having amazingly complex schemes), Blair a tad past it, but Mahmoud is portrayed as barking mad.

Simon, the poster Iranian has said "all over the world" - and therein he is rigth and you are wrong. But don't expect the western press to tell things like all non-alligned states - 118 that is - support Irans right to enrich Uranium.

Or that most Arab people like him for taking a stand against the US while none of their leaders do. Ahmadinejad may be a little lunatic and his economic policy is a joke but he was elected(!) and he has little to say in any important issue so why not tolerate him ...

Don't judge from your "western standpoint". There are some 6.5 billion people on this planet, some 800 million are "western" - hardly a position to judge from ...


Posted by: b | Mar 31, 2007 2:35:27 PM | 48

The Brits skimping out? Britain Adopts Conciliatory Tone With Iran

The British foreign secretary, Margaret Beckett, also indicated for the first time that Britain regretted the incident.

“The message I want to send is I think everyone regrets that this position has arisen,” she said after a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Germany. “What we want is a way out of it.”

Hope so ...

Posted by: b | Mar 31, 2007 4:39:37 PM | 49

LYING BITCH!

Posted by: james | Mar 31, 2007 7:02:14 PM | 50

just saw little boots on cnn demanding Iran return the hostages. so even if beckett is trying to solve the issue, the cheney admin is intent on ratcheting up tension.

maybe the attack is starting now afterall. this is a carbon copy of the ploy Israel used last summer in Lebanon.

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 31, 2007 7:45:46 PM | 51

I think your image has all to do with how it is presented in the media, kind of by definition.

well simon, that is what the US msm is hoping anyway. But I don't think most people in the world see Iran as a threat, unlike the US.

Sorry, but your president is the laughing stock of the world.

cat calls kettle black

Bush some folks think is stupid (mostly folks who accuse him of having amazingly complex schemes),

some folks? lol, i dare say most folks think one or the other. most people do not think stupid people are capable of amazingly complex schemes. that's why we have bush and cheney...

Posted by: annie | Mar 31, 2007 8:51:01 PM | 52

So, what about Johns Posting? Anyone knows more about it? It's the only one questioning the Bernhards satement.

Anyway, the iranian">http://www.iribnews.ir/PhotoGallery/Photo/_546d1971.wmv">iranian maps showed in TV look completely different to the british ones... snafu!

It's all scary! mainstream media sucks, you get very eurocentristic views (sad Said) and double standards all around (black hijab vs. orange jumpsuit)...

Posted by: snutrat | Mar 31, 2007 9:07:14 PM | 53

So, what about Johns Posting? Anyone knows more about it? It's the only one questioning Bernhards satement.

Anyway, the iranian maps showed in TV look completely different to the british ones...

It's all scary! mainstream media sucks, you get very eurocentristic views (sad Said) and double standards all around (black hijab vs. orange jumpsuit)... snafu!

Posted by: | Mar 31, 2007 9:11:43 PM | 54

whoops, waht was that? sorry, please delete this and the first one...

Posted by: snutrat | Mar 31, 2007 9:13:30 PM | 55

John is actually quoting from article 15, not 12. I think he misunderstands this part as well:

"the median line every point of which is equidistant from the nearest points on the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea of each of the two States is measured."

It's not the perpendicular to the baseline across the mouth of the river, like he suggests, but the line of equidistant points from the whole baseline, which is the low-water line plus any special features so defined in articles 6-14. Whichever baseline you're closest to would define the de jure territorial waters you're in, lacking any other agreement.

Posted by: buermann | Mar 31, 2007 10:49:18 PM | 56

by detaining the 15 Brittish sailors, the Iranians have made the boldest move so far, possibly in response to the recent kidnapping/arrests of Iranians in Turkey & Iraq.

Hence, USA/UK has the next move. And they need a good next move otherwise Iran will perceive that they have backed off from their increasingly threatening schedule. Hence indicating softness/indecisiveness.

Bush may find himself caught between a rock & a soft place soon. Plus the Saudis/Jordanians are distancing themselves from Bush. They might know something, possibly about the softness of his position.

Momentarily backing off or retreating is not neccessarily a sign of weakness. But it would be a welcome sign that there are saner minds somewhere in the loop.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Apr 1, 2007 3:47:30 AM | 57

At the very end of an Observer/Guardian article today this sentence:

But the Ministry of Defence hinted for the first time it may have made mistakes surrounding the incident. An inquiry has been commissioned to explore 'navigational' issues around the kidnapping and aspects of maritime law.
Well - not so sure where those sailers were anymore?

Posted by: b | Apr 1, 2007 4:23:48 AM | 58

jony-b- I don't think that Bush understands the idea of negotiation. his entire prez has operated on the idea that he's "compromising" when others do what he wants...congress esp. the joke that he was able to work across the aisle in Tx. comes from the failure to acknowledge that southern democrats (ie the Tx Leg.) can be and often are more right wing than northern republicans.

so, I wonder what's up with Iran. Blair has made some gestures, as far as I know from the press, so who knows, but Iran has rebuffed them. Is Mahmoud really barking mad? The sad fact is that the U.S. powers will not have Iran "humiliating" them again...and recalling the Carter-era hostage situation. The repuke powers are fueled by their hate. The dem powers will not allow themselves to be stuck with the same image that dogged Carter. I know in my heart of hearts that the U.S. powers that be could give a shit about how many people are killed because of their actions...does Mahmoud have the same attitude?

Does Iran have some sort of deal...with China? --that they can use as a poker chip in this "game?" Or does their leadership think it can take a strike and retaliate in such a way that they will destroy the U.S. presence in Iraq...and this is also a bargaining chip? Or is Iran trying oust the labor party in the UK? I can't imagine the conservatives would be any less willing to cooperate with US warmongers.

Since the current U.S. ptb are so inept at diplomacy and so far removed from reality, it's difficult to understand what is in play at this time. I know this isn't a silly game and such analogies may sound awful, but in reality this is a "game" in which all of us, around the world, are pawns...including the Iranian people. Not just in relation to the U.S., but also with their own leadership.

Mahmoud is giving the Bushies exactly what they want by this current action, however. Reminds me of the observation in "The Power of Nightmares" that fundies from both cultures involved in hostilities today have arrived at their positions from the same sort of beliefs...simply applied to other parties.

Posted by: fauxreal | Apr 1, 2007 9:15:00 AM | 59

faxreal@59
yes we are all pawns. And at this moment, the British must feel especially awful because in effect, Iran considers them a proxy or a prop and is talking past them.

Or does their leadership think it can take a strike and retaliate in such a way that they will destroy the U.S. presence in Iraq...and this is also a bargaining chip?

yes, the Iranians seem to think they can absorb a strike & still prevail. And they also seeem to anticipate that they will not be nuked. But this is mute though because the Iranians understand that conflict with the Bush Admin is in the air regardless of what they do. So they preepare for war & they will explore whatever they can to stand-up to the USA without directly provoking it.

I still doubt the USA will attack Iran. Given the choice, the American military would prefer time (years) to prepare for war against Iran. Because if this war happens, it will be as messy as any war ever gets. No one alive today can predict or anticipate what happens on day-two of this war.

the standard of success in such a war is much higher for the USA than it is for Iran. Hence the simple fact that air strikes are not sufficieent to eliminate Irans nuclear infrastructure should be discouraging enough, given that air-strikes are the USA's only attack medium. But it gets much worse as one looks down the list of potential counters from Iraq.

Iran is going to exploit its capture of the 15 hapless Brits for all its worth. They have been caught up in the tit-for-tat between Iran & USA aand they may remainn in Iran for weeks if not months before something is worked out.

Iran will seek to humuliate the USA without firing a shot and the 15 Brits provide a good enough context. This stand-off is going to put Bush under public scrutiny by the Brits like never before. And we know the Brits are'nt going to like what they see as this thing drags out.

the Brits have about 8,000 troops in Basra. These guys may be the first to engage tens of thousands of enraged Iranian troops pouring over the border as well as thousands of Irasi Shia millitia if war breaks out.

also, with this move, Iran has indicated its willingneess to defend its waters. Hence, if anyone was even thinking blockade, thats out of the window.

Iran is successfully re-framing the situation.Bush has the next move.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Apr 1, 2007 10:18:34 AM | 60

I heard a right-wing Israeli, former Sharon adviser, last night. He pointed out something we seem to have forgotten. Kidnapping of Brits is in response to West/xUS? kidnapping/disappearing several impt. Iranians. Remember that ~Head of Repug. Guards who disappeared in Istanbul w/in last 2 wks, who would prob. have info. on Iranian nukes? May have been a defection... 2 other Iranian diplomats have also gone missing from Iraq.

Enough children. Talk like adults, or get the hell out of power.

Posted by: jj | Apr 1, 2007 10:51:43 AM | 61

jony_b_cool

I wish I shared your certainty and optimism. the Iranians are playing a very delicate game and so far seem to have been successful or at least seem to have lost less than everyone expected.

their strategy of not publicly rolling over for USUK plays well to the home crowd and I am sure many others in the world who may have sore butts from previous encounters with the US. but they have to be careful so as not to go too far.....and that has got be something that only people very well versed in human nature can determine. there too the Iranians probably have the advantage as they have practiced diplomacy for centuries whereas the US has never had to deal with people except from a position of strength.

an attack on Iran is do-able. a massive attack that destroys much of the country in a few hours could possibly bring the mullahs out to publicly and loudly beg for peace and promise to be good obedient slaves again. I fear there are others who see this as a good plan. The US doesn't need the whole of Iran, just a bit along the coast that has the oil fields. that too should not be too hard to hold.

some here make a big deal of the carriers in the Gulf, they are for show and the Navy is not all that good at launching surprise attacks or massive well coordinated attacks. they simply can not get enough airplanes in the air quick enough. plus they don't have much in the way of aerial refueling. the Air Force on the other hand can do this and have demonstrated the ability a couple of times already. Long range bombers can come from Diego Garcia as well as from the continental US. There are massive air bases in Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, and of course Saudi Arabia though it is not used so much right now. Iran is completely encircled and air superiority could be established within hours. It is not a pretty sight. I would never presume that the US would fail against Iran, we are simply too powerful militarily and that is not what is holding cheneyco up. I do not believe they feel comfortable with the aftermath BUT if Iran humiliates them too much they will start to care less about the consequences and THAT is what we should be worried about.

Posted by: dan of steele | Apr 1, 2007 11:10:33 AM | 62

the Iranian end-game in this conflict is to sweat out the remaining two years of the Bush admin whilst doing whatever they can to deny the USA initiative and motivation. And its certainly achievable.

on the other hand, any one who can give words to a USA end-game that is achievable through war is either an unconscionable-liar or a psychopath. Either way, a very dangerous individual.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Apr 1, 2007 11:29:46 AM | 63

are you talking about me jony?

Posted by: dan of steele | Apr 1, 2007 11:40:59 AM | 64

dan of steele@62

the scenario (invading the coastal Khuzestan province of Iran) you mention is certainly very plausible especially if the Irans over-reach & provoke Cheney/Bush.

To add to your comments, I am not sure it will be easy to hold on to Khuzestan even if the Mullahs surrender. It would really help the USA if there was a component of the Iranian population that would rise & ally with an invading USA. Even with allies composed of significant local content, its still tough for the USA to fight non-conventional opponents globally on an extended basis. And without significant local content on its side, the USA is in a very difficult posittion.

We would probably see the Iranian central command go under-ground very quickly followed by a fierce insurgency. And the USA would also find itself fighting both Shia & Sunni in Iraq very quickly.

I agree with you that Iran has to be very delicate or it could pay a very heavy price.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Apr 1, 2007 12:04:59 PM | 65

dan of steele@64,

of course not. I had'nt even read 62 before I posted 63.

Advising caution & restraint (TO BOTH SIDES) is not the same as advocating an end-game (i.e a favorable end-game).

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Apr 1, 2007 12:11:51 PM | 66

@dan - I agree that an air attack is doable and would leave much of Iran's infrastructure in ruins.

But the backslash would be fierce and the U.S. army in Iraq would have to retreat pretty fast.

The US doesn't need the whole of Iran, just a bit along the coast that has the oil fields. that too should not be too hard to hold.

Capture and hold are VERY different issues. Of course the US can capture the area (maneuver warfare), but how many division are there to hold that piece of quite rough country (4g guerillia warfare)? A few brigades of marines will NOT do.

The best chances the US would have, and I believe some are working on this, is a 10 year long blockade of Iran like they did with Iraq and after that pick the ripe apple.

But that needs international support and times have changed and unlike against Saddam the support from Arab countries would probably be zero if not negative.

Posted by: b | Apr 1, 2007 2:14:30 PM | 67

yeah, 4g warfare is what has stopped them. low tech/no tech suicide bombers taking out billion dollar systems.

still, I bet there are Air Force type who are convinced this can be carried out using air power alone. they could point to the Highway to Hell that was a good part of the Iraqi Army as it tried to escape from Kuwait and show how they can kill thousands of ground troops without losing a single jet or pilot.

this is important to them. with a half a trillion dollars invested already, I don't expect them to give up easily.

Posted by: dan of steele | Apr 1, 2007 4:21:47 PM | 68

Although many of us (including the IAEA) have grave doubts about Irans nuclear intentions, what if they DO get nukes? Sure, their president seems like a hard liner re Israel etc, but then again Brezhnev and most other Soviet leaders were no 'andrex puppies' ! Deterrence worked in the past, and it can work again, even against a supposed 'terrorist supporting' state. Blair has made it clear in his argument for the renewing of our nuclear weapons that any nation attacking us with nuclear weapons, even if via terrorist proxies, would receive a similar response. Many in the hierarchies in Tehran are fanatics, but they are not stupid.
I think that pre-emptive military action against Iran would be a bloodbath, mainly for the Iranians, but thousands of our troops would die too, the region would be in turmoil for decades more, and it would be a terrorist recruiters dream scenario.
As for the incident that has led to the RN sailors being held by Iran? The talk of a conspiracy to start a war is way over the top - having captives on the other side makes it LESS likely that an invasion / military action may take place - more like human shields. It's just as likely as 9/11 conspiracy theories or faked moon landing ideas!

Posted by: AC | Apr 1, 2007 6:36:50 PM | 69

more fun with maps:

Here are some detailed informations about sea borders and the position of the vessel.
this leads to the assumption, the vessel anchored on land.

Posted by: snutrat | Apr 2, 2007 1:06:37 PM | 70

snutrat, one of the comments from your 2nd link

Speaking of technical points, I think there is one aspect being completely overlooked. The GPS system has become so ubiquitous that people tend to forget that it is designed and run by the US Military. There is an excellent description of it on wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GPS.

The interesting point relating to this issue:

The GPS System used to intentionally add errors to the signal (so called Selective Availability) so that hostile forces could not use it for guiding long range missiles to accurate targets. At the same time, the US Military and it’s allies had additional accuracy through encrypted codes. The Selectice Availability feature was turned off in 2000 after pressure from the FAA but the US military is believed to have:
“developed the ability to locally deny GPS (and other navigation services) to hostile forces in a specific area of crisis without affecting the rest of the world or its own military systems”.

It has been reported that the US military had a massive training exercise going on in the area where it has deployed a large task force. It is reasonable to believe that such a task force would use such an ability in case of hostilities and therefore might even used it as a part of the exercise. It could even be suggested that the US might have much to gain by causing such an incident by manipulating the GPS signals locally (either to affect only military equipment or only civil equipment). After all, as a result of this incident, Britain and possibly more of Europe, would be much more likely to support a military action against Iran than before.

In any case, basing evidence on the GPS system, which is run by the US military (hardly an impartial player) is at best, dubious.

AC,

Deterrence worked in the past

what kind of deterrence are you promoting if any?

The talk of a conspiracy to start a war is way over the top

why? because it has never been done before?

what if they DO get nukes?

what history of irrational military moves has iran made that leads you to believe they would be less responsible than other countries w/nukes.

It's just as likely as 9/11 conspiracy theories

yawn

Posted by: annie | Apr 2, 2007 1:59:41 PM | 71

@ annie
yes, I know about that problematic.
but for me the thing here is to have a closer look on the maps and coordinates the MoD has given, because thats the only information you can work with... I find it less helpful to say "gps is not serious at all" (whitch is perhaps true in that case) than to find something more concrete questioning the offical statements. if it turns out, for example, the coordinates given by the MoD actually lie on flat land - theyre obviously wrong. the thing with the gps could then be a reason for it, alongside other reasons... but that way you would bring the officials in the position they have to say "perhaps, we're not so sure about all that". questioning the gps as a whole would imho not put enough pressure on them to change something in the presentation of their facts.

if you assume the gps has been "locally denied" for some reason (trapping mullahs?), it would mean the iranian guys got an incorrect signal, and therefore thaught the UK boats trespassing the border (or the US fooled the british army, what I don't think - I mean it's used to navigate, would the US risk a grounded UK warship to put on that farce?). to argue that way will be difficult to proof...

Posted by: snutrat | Apr 2, 2007 5:49:16 PM | 72

For a month now I have bet that sometime between April 5 and April 15 the US will attack Iran with cruise missiles and aircraft. Is this a planned incident to help justify the attack? My over 50% probability has been based on US military unit positioning, carriers and planes, and various statements in foreign media since December. Under the War Powers Act Bush can attack Iran if HE feels it is to protect American troops and tell Congress later. I spoke to a Congressman Saturday who was concerned about Bush attacking Iran, but not concerned enough in my opinion. The conservative Democrat only talked about cutting military funding for operations after the fact and did not mention impeachment.

Posted by: Gary Denton | Apr 3, 2007 8:51:13 AM | 73

@Gary Denton #73


I spoke to a Congressman Saturday who was concerned about Bush attacking Iran, but not concerned enough in my opinion. The conservative Democrat only talked about cutting military funding for operations after the fact and did not mention impeachment.

Welcome to The Trap.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Apr 3, 2007 10:17:33 AM | 74

Addendum: Gary, I should have drawn your attention to this:

All these theories tended to support the beliefs of what were then fringe economists such as Friedrich von Hayek, whose economic models left no room for altruism, but rather depended purely on self-interest, leading to the formation of public choice theory. In interview, the economist James M. Buchanan decries the notion of the "public interest", asking what it is, and suggesting that it consists purely of the self-interest of the governing bureaucrats. Buchanan also proposes that organisations should employ only managers who are motivated by money. He describes those who are motivated by other factors—such as job satisfaction or a sense of public duty—as "zealots".

From the above docu. Of course do with the data what you wish, however it is possible that it may be one answer to your query.


To extrapolate further, this is another must see series of thought-films one would gain from imo. As always, as they say, 'take what you like, leave the rest'. But MOA's would do well to hunt down this Documentary and view it with a critical eye. I am aware that is out there in bittorrent format, otherwise, here is thestreaming format as b, has gifted us...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Apr 3, 2007 10:36:53 AM | 75

It is all over; see they only had a two week long holiday! The game ended, while both sides claiming victory, whatever the case is, I believe Iran achieved all of its objectives from this event.

The most important of all is showing Iran's sensitivity on guarding its borders and the back-off message! But also the comparison that people can draw between the treatments detainees in Iraq or elsewhere receive and the detainees in Iran received.

If you knew how much US spends just to sustain its presence in Iraq, I would assure you that Iran a country of 70 million people is "thriving" by a similar spending. For every dollar that Iran might help Hezbollah a million dollar is spent to oppose Hezbollah.

So when you see Iran standing in front of the bullies, always remember that Iran does so because of superior strategies. That is the reason why today many countries are fallen or run by puppets but Iran is still standing.

West is used to first-strike-strategies, but when they find themselves doing a second-strike-strategy playing in a ground Iran defines they are surprised.

Regarding uranium and nuke: Some naïvely argue that Iran has gas and oil, Iran does not need uranium! Even if we assume this is true, still having more does not hurt! But the truth is oil and gas can run out in decades, what kind of future planning is that? Furthermore when one day Iran decides to send man to space or acquire different high level technologies we are no longer bullied, besides nuclear technology is a hub to other technologies.

Posted by: Iranian | Apr 6, 2007 6:14:33 AM | 76

It must have been very unpleasant for the 15 captured seamen, just look at this clip:

http://www.iribnews.ir/PhotoGallery/Photo/_6c79e2b3.wmv

Now I hear they are selling their stories, hehehe!

Posted by: Iranian | Apr 9, 2007 6:33:33 AM | 77

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