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calendar   Wednesday - April 04, 2007

Brit Hostages Freed

"Gift to Britain”? “Brave border guards”? Is this bunch full of s**t or what? If Jimmy Carter hadn’t been President and let them get away with this once, we wouldn’t have to put up with this crap? If any of you out there has a Time Machine™ could you please go back to November 1976 and stuff some ballots with votes for Jerry Ford? Please!

Iran To Free UK Captives
(SKY NEWS) - 15:31, Wednesday April 04, 2007

imageimageIran is freeing the 15 UK sailors and marines taken captive in the Shatt al Arab waterway 13 days ago as a “gift” to Britain. Some have been shown on Iranian TV speaking to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejadk at his palace in the capital Tehran.

Their release was announced by the president who said they would be handed over to the British embassy. He said he had pardoned the sailors as a gift to the British people and to mark the birthday of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed and Easter.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “We welcome what the President has said about the release of our 15 personnel. “We are now establishing exactly what this means in terms of the method and timing of their release.”

President Ahmadinejad announced the Britons’ release after awarding medals to the “brave” border guards who had arrested them. “I would like to thank the Iranian coast guard for courgeously defending our Iranian territorial waters,” he said.

He then pinned medals on the chests of three Coast Guard officers. The ceremony was performed during a press conference broadcast around the world. The controversial leader said he was “saddened” that Britain had violated Iranian waters.

He also accused the Government of concealing the truth about the affair and the EU of being too quick to condemn Iran. “Is this the kind of attitude, manner that we want to run Europe - this is the European Union - without investigating they announce a certain stance.

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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 04/04/2007 at 10:41 AM   
Filed Under: • Iran •  
Comments (3) Trackbacks(1)  Permalink •  

calendar   Friday - March 30, 2007

One Lump Or Two?

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“Tea & Sophistry” -by- Cox & Forkum

Judging from the editorial below from the UK’s Telegraph, some in Britain are becoming more hawkish and are ready to declare “enough is enough”.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are bout to enter “interesting times”. Buckle up your seat belt, put on your crash helmet and hang on ...

Online comment: Heading for war with Iran?
-- By Simon Heffer
(TELEGRAPH-UK) - 1:54pm BST 30/03/2007

imageimageI start to wonder whether it might not be time for us to get as nasty with other countries as they do with us. As we wait anxiously to see what will happen to our 15 hostages - for that is what they are - in Teheran, we should feel undiluted rage at the behaviour of other countries and institutions towards us.

Mind you, when those third parties witness the drivelling weakness of the Foreign Office over the last week, and in particular the pathetic show put up by our Foreign Secretary - who must surely be just about the worst in our history - who can blame them?

There is no doubt the 15 were in international waters when captured, or that they were undertaking a United Nations mission in pursuit of upholding UN resolutions. Yet the best the UN itself can do is pass a weak-kneed resolution describing its “grave concern”, rather than a tougher one calling upon all nations to “deplore” Iran’s behaviour.

This is all the fault of Russia, to whom Mr Blair routinely cosies up, and whom the civilised world invites to its annual G8 summit meetings. Russia seems to think it isn’t worth “deploring” the kidnap of our sailors, so we had better start to show Russia what we think of it: by uninviting it from the G8 this year, and every year until it learns some manners.

When not busy ordering the murders of his opponents, Vladimir Putin seems to enjoy hobnobbing with the leaders of civilised countries, so such a sanction would hurt. We don’t have the means to engage in gunboat diplomacy with Iran, and any special forces operation would be fraught with risks both for the hostages and their rescuers.

For the moment, ever-stricter sanctions on Iran seems the only answer. America is resolute about this. So too, oddly, is the world’s greatest sanction-busting nation, France. So the scope for tightening the economic ratchet on Iran, and the means to do so, look healthy. However, we should be under no illusions about the effectiveness of such weapons.

Saddam Hussein, after all, was put under sanctions for years. Real hardship was caused to his people, but almost none at all to him and his ruling clique. President Ahmadinejad of Iran has already threatened Britain about our involvement of “third parties” - that is, the UN - in the present dispute, showing his utter contempt for that organisation.

He would treat sanctions with similar disdain, happily cutting off the noses of his own people to spite their faces. And all the time, the threat he and his inherent instability pose to us all would never cease growing.

Whatever the immediate outcome of this crisis, Britain has some hard decisions to make. Is it worthwhile, any longer, to work through the United Nations? So long as a morally warped nation like Putin’s Russia calls the shots in the Security Council, no.

We can make debating points about how odd it is that Putin deplores Islamic nutters when they attack his forces but is relaxed about them attacking ours, but in the end there is no point in bothering.

The UN showed itself to be weak with Saddam Hussein. It is no better now. If we are going to continue to try to be a player in the Middle East, then we have to throw in our lot with the Americans, for no-one else makes the blindest bit of difference there.

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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 03/30/2007 at 11:38 AM   
Filed Under: • Iran •  
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calendar   Wednesday - March 28, 2007

No Balls

SO they kidnap British sailors and marines in international waters, one of the sailors a female. They dress her up in a Muslim headscarf and parade her on Iranian TV and broadcast a “confession”.

According to my official count, the total number of politicians with a real set of balls in Washington and London is pretty much ... zero.

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Iran Shows Video of Captured Britons
Mar 28 01:05 PM US/Eastern

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iranian state TV showed video Wednesday of the 15 British sailors and marines who were seized last week, including a female captive who wore a white tunic and a black head scarf and said the British boats “had trespassed” in Iranian waters.

The British government, which described Iran’s broadcast of the captured crew as “completely unacceptable,” had earlier released what it called proof that its boats were in the territorial waters of Iraq—not Iran—when they were seized.

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Russian Intelligence Sees U.S. Military Buildup On Iran Border
MOSCOW, March 27 (RIA Novosti)

Russian military intelligence services are reporting a flurry of activity by U.S. Armed Forces near Iran’s borders, a high-ranking security source said Tuesday. “The latest military intelligence data point to heightened U.S. military preparations for both an air and ground operation against Iran,” the official said, adding that the Pentagon has probably not yet made a final decision as to when an attack will be launched.

He said the Pentagon is looking for a way to deliver a strike against Iran “that would enable the Americans to bring the country to its knees at minimal cost.” He also said the U.S. Naval presence in the Persian Gulf has for the first time in the past four years reached the level that existed shortly before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Col.-Gen. Leonid Ivashov, vice president of the Academy of Geopolitical Sciences, said last week that the Pentagon is planning to deliver a massive air strike on Iran’s military infrastructure in the near future. A new U.S. carrier battle group has been dispatched to the Gulf.

The USS John C. Stennis, with a crew of 3,200 and around 80 fixed-wing aircraft, including F/A-18 Hornet and Superhornet fighter-bombers, eight support ships and four nuclear submarines are heading for the Gulf, where a similar group led by the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has been deployed since December 2006. The U.S. is also sending Patriot anti-missile systems to the region.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 03/28/2007 at 01:45 PM   
Filed Under: • Iran •  
Comments (15) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Tuesday - March 27, 2007

Mad Dogs And Englishmen

The crisis continues in Iran over the kidnapped British Marines, one of them a female. Iran claims to have confessions and Tony Blair is responding with harsh language. The entire world knows the Iranians are full of crap and the Marines were never in Iranian waters yet the most punishment inflicted on the Iranians so far is a stern warning of a “different phase” to come?

When I was 10 or 11 we lived next door to a couple who had a mean, loud-barking dog tied up in their front yard. Every day when I passed by on my way to school that sorry ol’ cuss jumped out at me and barked and snarled. At first he spooked me. Then it started to get on my nerves. Finally, one day I had enough and I picked up a hefty rock and scored a bullseye on Rover’s head. I got a spanking for hurting the neighbor’s dog ... but that damned SOB never barked at me again.

It’s something for Tony Blair and George Bush to think about ....

Blair Warns Iran Over Captured Sailors
LONDON (TELEGRAPH) - 9:41am BST 27/03/2007

Tony Blair has warned of a “different phase” if diplomatic efforts fail to secure the release of the 15 British service personnel held captive in Iran. The Prime Minister said the first concern of the Government was getting the personnel released as “quickly as possible”.

“I hope we manage to get [Iran] to realise they have to release them,” he told GMTV. “If not, then this will move into a different phase.”

Asked about what he meant by a “different phase”, Mr Blair said: “Well, we will just have to see, but what they should understand is that we cannot have a situation where our servicemen and women are seized when actually they are in Iraqi waters under a UN mandate, patrolling perfectly rightly and in accordance with that mandate, and then effectively captured and taken to Iran.”

The warning comes as the family of one of the service personnel has spoken of the “very distressing time” they are going through.

Faye Turney, 26, who has a three-year-old daughter, was the only woman among the British sailors and Marines captured last Friday after boarding a dhow carrying suspicious cargo off the coast of Iraq.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Defence on behalf of her family said: “While we understand the media interest in the ongoing incident involving Faye, this remains a very distressing time for us and our family.

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Iran Claims To Have Confessions From Marines
TEHERAN (TELEGRAPH) - 12:54am BST 26/03/2007

The Iranian military last night claimed its interrogators had extracted confessions from 15 British naval personnel, who had admitted straying illegally into Iranian territorial waters.

The 14 men and one woman were reported to have been transferred to Teheran to be grilled over what they were doing when they were picked up near the entrance to the Shatt al-Arab waterway south of the Iraqi city of Basra. Iran called the action “blatant aggression”. Britain insists its forces were on the Iraqi side of the maritime border with Iran when they were surrounded by gunboats and taken into custody.

The Sunday Telegraph has learned that British intelligence was warned by the CIA that Iran would seek revenge for the detention of five suspected Iranian intelligence officers in Iraq in January.

But although the US raised threat levels around the world and warned British intelligence that there was a danger Iran might step up attacks in southern Iraq, British threat levels were not altered.

Last night Gen Alireza Afshar, spokesman for the Iranian general staff, said the 15 had been interrogated and had admitted they knew they were inside Iranian waters. He said data on their geographical positioning systems backed up the Iranian claims.

“They are currently being questioned and have admitted to violating the territorial waters of the Islamic republic,” he said. “We have solid evidence that they were detained in our territorial waters. They themselves have confessed and admitted their mistake.”

The Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office both said the arrests were made in Iraqi waters, a version of events supported by an Iraqi fisherman who witnessed them. He said the Iraqi ship the British forces were searching had been anchored for a week or more and that Iraqi boats never ventured across because of tight security by Iranian coastguards.

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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 03/27/2007 at 05:30 AM   
Filed Under: • Iran •  
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calendar   Sunday - March 25, 2007

Three Hundred

Nobody ever said the Iranians had an ounce of common sense. They’re going to keep blustering, boasting and bloviating across the world stage until somebody smacks the living shiite out of them. It is times like these that we really need people like Maggie Thatcher and Ronald Reagan in charge. Are George Bush and Tony Blair up to the challenge?

What do you think we and our Brit friends ought to do if Ahmawhackjob and his Mad mullah benefactors actually try and execute these British soldiers who were not in Iranian waters when they were captured? Perhaps another F-117 raid like the one that turned Muammar Khadafi into a quaking little girl over night? How about a single nuke on Teheran? Just as a warning shot across the bow, so to speak? Perhaps in this version of the Persian Wars we need to use 300 B-52’s instead of 300 Spartans. Submission is not an option. What say you?

Iran To Try Britons For Espionage
(TIMES-UK) - March 25, 2007

imageimageFifteen British sailors and marines arrested by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards off the coast of Iraq may be charged with spying. A website run by associates of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, reported last night that the Britons would be put before a court and indicted.

Referring to them as “insurgents”, the site concluded: “If it is proven that they deliberately entered Iranian territory, they will be charged with espionage. If that is proven, they can expect a very serious penalty since according to Iranian law, espionage is one of the most serious offences.”

The warning followed claims by Iranian officials that the British navy personnel had been taken to Tehran, the capital, to explain their “aggressive action” in entering Iranian waters. British officials insist the servicemen were in Iraqi waters when they were held.

The penalty for espionage in Iran is death. However, similar accusations of spying were made when eight British servicemen were detained in the same area in 2004. They were paraded blindfolded on television but did not appear in court and were freed after three nights in detention.

Iranian student groups called yesterday for the 15 detainees to be held until US forces released five Revolutionary Guards captured in Iraq earlier this year. Al-Sharq al-Awsat, a Saudi-owned newspaper based in London, quoted an Iranian military source as saying that the aim was to trade the Royal Marines and sailors for these Guards.

- More ...

Meanwhile, Iran just keeps digging themselves deeper and deeper into this hole. Now they’re really in deep trouble - the United Nations has issued a strongly worded letter to the Mad Mullahs and threatened to stop Iran from selling any more guns to Shiite insurgents in Iraq (that are being used to kill US soldiers).

U.N. Backs Broader Sanctions On Tehran
UNITED NATIONS (WASHINGTON POST) - Saturday, March 24, 2007; 10:36 PM

The U.N. Security Council unanimously voted Saturday to impose additional sanctions against Iran for its refusal to stop enriching uranium - a move intended to show Tehran that defiance will leave it increasingly isolated.

Iran immediately rejected the sanctions and said it had no intention of suspending its enrichment program, prompting the United States to warn of even tougher penalties.

“The world must know - and it does - that even the harshest political and economic sanctions or other threats are far too weak to coerce the Iranian nation to retreat from their legal and legitimate demands,” Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told the Security Council after the vote. “Suspension is neither an option nor a solution.”

The moderately tougher sanctions include banning Iranian arms exports, and freezing the assets of 28 people and organizations involved in Iran’s nuclear and missile programs. About a third of those are linked to the Revolutionary Guard, an elite military corps.

The new sanctions - already a compromise between the stronger measures favored by the United States and the Europeans and the softer approach advocated by Russian and China - are considered modest. The ban on exports is among the harshest measures, but many of Iran’s arms sales may not be affected because they are illicitly sent to militant groups like Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Shiite militias in Iraq.

Still, world powers hoped that approving the resolution quickly and unanimously would signal that Iran will face stricter sanctions each time it ignores a Security Council deadline to suspend uranium enrichment.

The new resolution asks countries to restrict travel by the individuals subject to sanctions as well as arms sales to Iran and new financial assistance or loans to the Iranian government.

It asks the International Atomic Energy Agency to report back in 60 days on whether Iran has suspended enrichment and warns Iran could face further measures if it does not. But it also says all sanctions will be suspended if Iran halts enrichment and makes clear that Tehran can still accept a package of economic incentives and political rewards offered last year if it complies with the council’s demands.

- More ...


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 03/25/2007 at 09:17 AM   
Filed Under: • IranMiddle-East •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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