Monday, April 02, 2007

Iran Hostage Crisis; Weekend Round-Up

Lots more information emerging over the weekend about the 15 British hostages in Iran.

1. Are you with us and or against us?

Despite the robust words of Germany's Premier, Angela Merkel, who proclaimed that Britain had the full support of the European Union, it transpires that France and Germany opposed economic sanctions. That these two nations are such large trading partners of Iran, i assume had nothing to do with their 'moral' stance.

The US has been slightly less equivocal with its support.

"Iran must give back the hostages. They're innocent, they did nothing wrong, and they were summarily plucked out of waters."
George Bush

After five hours of strained talks on Thursday Britain managed to extract a message of support from the Security Council, detailing their "grave concern", but, crucially, not a call for the immediate release of the hostages after failing to win support from Russia and China.

2. How did it happen?

The Telegraph has some interesting detail about how the 15 naval personnel were captured and cites the reason for their capture as due to a lack of support from the accompanying Lynx helicopter which had flown back to the HMS Cornwall to refuel.

3. How did Britain used to react to such incidents?

Historian, Niall Ferguson, reminds us that the British used to deal with incidents such as these by using "disproportionate force". The deterrent effect was paramount.

4. How is this playing to the home crowd?

Pretty well according to the BBC. Though it would be great to hear from any Iranians with knowledge of this.

5. Hostage swap?

US officials have ex-Foreign Ministers and Ambassadors share the benefit of their infinite wisdom with the BBC and conclude that, no, there is nothing to be done except 'negotiate'.

6. Most useless Foreign Minister of all time?

"It was deplorable that the woman hostage should be shown smoking. This sends completely the wrong message to our young people."

Patricia Hewitt, UK Foreign Minister completing missing the point, again.