Thursday, March 29, 2007

The quiet kidnap of Britannia's children

When 15 British sailors and marines were captured by Iran last week, it seemed that the country at large was not really interested. After all, to be in the military these days is a career choice and not a duty. Therefore those sailors were there out of choice and capture by a foreign power is one of the risks that comes with such a choice.

However as the week has gone, Britain in its quiet way seems to have started awaking. True, there has been no mass outbreak of patriotic concern, no yellow ribbons on trees as would no doubt be the case if the sailors were American.

If anything the media and politicians have been overly restrained and it is the general public who are left to raise concerns.

The Times letters page gives a flavour of this today:

Principally the concerns focus around how 15 sailors on a Royal Navy patrol were left so exposed, close to Iranian waters and the fact that the British government's response has so far been far too weak and cautious.

The precise location of the sailors at the time seems almost irrelevant. They were stopping an Indian registered ship to search for smuggled goods. This was an entirely legitimate operation and the fact they were lightly armed and in dinghies hardly suggests they were an assault group.

Iran, despite its attempts to flex its nuclear muscles is fast becoming a pariah nation. While even China now votes for sanctions against it, Sunni muslim powers such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Jordan form an unlikely alliance with Israel as nations that would suffer from a powerful Shia theocracy.

Iran has long caused problems for the world although on a personal level I studied with Iranians at university and found them all to be charming and cultured. It is unfortunate that Iranians have themselves long suffered from a revolutionary regime. This regime now spreads suffering to Iraq where they seek to encourage their Shia cousins in decimating the minority Sunni population.

It seems that the biggest killer of muslim people in the world is Iran and its radical Shia allies.

It is worth noting however that the majority of the worlds muslims, at least 85 % ,are Sunni. So many nations would suffer as a result of a Shia superpower that it seems more than possible to construct a broad anti-Iranian alliance. Nations such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE, even Turkey not to mention Israel all fear the vision of Islam favoured by Iran and its would be despot, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

So I feel it is time for Britain to wake up to the kidnap of 15 of its children. We are dealing with a cornered pariah whose economy is suffering. This is not about invading Iran but it is about dealing toughly with an unpopular bully. Bullies only cave in when they are treated with force and Iran's current leadership is no different .

This is not about destroying Iran or harming her people. However Britain, who as Britannia used to rule the waves, should stand up for the interests of all her children, particularly those who risk their lives for her interests. To do otherwise is national cowardice and would suggest to the world on the 25th anniversary of the Falklands War that Britain is no longer a sea power worth fearing.

Here's a reminder of how a previous Prime Minister dealt with her own Iranian hostage crisis at the Iranian Embassy in London back in 1980 :

(the recording ends prematurely- all hostages were fine. To avoid confusion, the hostage takers were themselves opposed to the Iranian regime. However the principle to be applied is one of the benefits of a tough response to such actions)

Come on Tony, we know you admire her ! It won't be easy but may your resolve in this crisis be equally tough. Now that would one "legacy" worth leaving !

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