Monday, 2 April 2007

The new Iranian hostage crisis

There are several instructive points to take from Iran's hostage-taking of British naval personnel, but perhaps the first is a simple suggestion that would take some pressure of the captives. Having watched several statements purportedly made by British prisoner Faye Turney, the Blair Government and senior media organisations should announce that they will encourage the hostages to say whatever they need to say to appease their captors, and that anything they do say that is issued by the Iranian Government will be discounted and ignored as the forced statements of those subject to unreasonable pressure -- pressure we can't even begin to imagine.

Such a coordinated statement would at a stroke remove needless pressure on the captives to stay silent, remove any point in Tehran applying any such pressure, and would instantly discount any propaganda value to be gained from forcing such statements to be made. That would be one simple thing that could be done, and more effective than all the dithering to date.

The reactions from Washington and London to Tehran's capture of these hostages has been revealing. What it has revealed has been summarised by Elan Journo at the Ayn Rand Institute.
The U.K. government and Washington are widely regarded as aggressive defenders of their interests in the face of Islamist aggression. But the present Iranian hostage crisis shows, again, how these would-be defenders of our life and freedom are pathetically timid--while our enemy is shameless and ever more confident.

"Iran is a leading world sponsor of Islamic totalitarianism and has long been waging a terrorist proxy war against the West, through groups such as Hezbollah. In Iraq, Iran's proxies have been slaughtering U.S. and British troops. Iran initiates all of this aggression--to say nothing of its nuclear weapons program--with the confidence that it has an Allah-given right to murder. No surprise, then, that when 15 British naval personnel came near Iranian waters, Teheran took them hostage--and unabashedly demanded an apology from Britain, its victim.

"What has been the British, and American, response to Iran's outrage? What has the West done in the face of such a confidently evil regime?
The response has been universal hand wringing, and an invitation to even more agression.

Remember Jimmy Carter's weak-kneed and ineffective response to the 1979 Tehran hostage crisis, a response that reinforced for an insane and aggressive Iranian regime that they had nothing to fear from a United States unwilling to stand up and defend its own people. It's only early days in the current hostage crisis, but it seems that pathetic response is now being repeated by the Blair Government in the face of an equally insane promoter of Middle East terrorism.

The world looks to Tony, and what it finds is hardly the warmonger of myth, but instead a figure of timid deference. As Elan Journo concludes, "While the British may hope that their timid, deferential approach will avoid inflaming the crisis and antagonizing Iran, they are accomplishing the opposite. The spectacle of Western nations bowing in submission is an encouragement to Iran and Islamic totalitarians worldwide."

UPDATE 1: The Neo-Jacobin takes a similar line: 'It's War, Jim, But Not As We Know It.'
Britain’s precautionary approach to Iran has only succeeded in slowly dragging this whole affair along, rather than settling it - none of this has been lost on the Iranian authorities who have used the past few days to ratchet up the political and military stakes. With a government like ours, there is one thing we can be certain of, their increasing obsession with risk, and aversion to risk, will only succeed in inviting even more ambushes, and other such 'gestures of defiance' in the not so distant future.
UPDATE 2: Marcus notes with unerring accuracy that the Iranian regime "continues as it began, with intimidation and violence." Read the litany.

UPDATE 3: The Iranian regime is like a hard-boiled egg with a thin sell, argues Victor Davis Hanson. We should tap it lightly wherever we can - until tiny fissures join and shatter the shell." See Victor Davis Hanson - Given Enough Small Taps, Iran Regime will Crack. [Hat tip, Regime Change Iran]

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  1. And we shouldn't forget to see that Britain's staunched ally refuses to do anything in the House. Not coincidentally this happens with the first female speaker.

  2. I am sure that Ruth will be flying to Tehran to support the anti-British demonstration that is currently happening there. I recalled from her past messages here at Not PC that she is a strong defender of Islam.

  3. peter - read the analysis on counter terrorism blog. link on my blog.

    it is so very easy to criticise blair for their reaction. more diffciult to do so when you understand that Iran's strategy is to provoke external attack so that it can more easily control its own radicals.

    I agree with your suggestion regarding media restraint. it has been interesting over here that it has really been played down. it is not the lead item on the news.

    Winning the propaganda war is more important at this stage than drum beating. eventually there will be armed conflict with iran. but far far better that the western media is onside rather than editorialising a repeat of iraq.
    hanson is right. but verbosity from blair & the foriegn office is not required.
    the navy setting an ambush is


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