Tuesday, March 27, 2007

What's odd about the kidnapping of 15 British service people

There is a place for quiet diplomacy, but I am starting to think the government has been too quiet over the abduction of British personnel from Iraqi waters.

It could be diplomatic - but I'm starting to wonder. Think about it the Iraqi area of sea is quite small, but strategically crucial for the flow of oil out of Iraq. Given current tension with Iran it should be protected, airborne radar etc and intelligence looking all over it.

Rumour also has it that the Iranian abducted the service people well inside Iraqi waters, not just near the edge.

So how come the British and Americans had no assets that could:

    1) Detect the incursion on its way in ?
    2) Prevent them leaving with their prisoners ?

Is part of the reason that No10 and the NuLabour government has been so quiet not the masterful diplomacy that is hinted at, but some real embarrassment at their own failures.

If it turns out that the the incident happened well inside Iraqi waters then there was time for command decision to be referred to HMS Cornwall and perhaps even higher up the chain of command. Have any Journalists asked if political control was exercised as the incident took place - eg by Tony Blair himself here ? (They surely should have been aware of a possible wish by the Iranians to exchange prisoners with the Americans arrest of revolutionary guards for assisting in terrorism in Iraq.)

They seem to have been far to keen to play this quiet and as we now all know this government doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt.

Update: An article on this in the DT here ends - there's something fishy here and certainly in Adam Ingram's answer:

Questions were asked in the House of Commons yesterday about whether Britain's rules of engagement in Iraq prevented the Cornwall from opening fire on the Iranians.

Adam Ingram, the Defence Minister, said: "There is too much speculation about what happened and what did not happen."

And further: Suppose the government does produce all the evidence that the abduction took place well inside Iraqi water - what that shows is they can take photos, but not control the area. Its like a CCTV camera with no police available on call out.

1 comment:

Elliott said...

I think it's a lack of resolve in the face of complaisant Foreign Office advice which is behind our current lamentable inaction. Of course it is humiliating for the country at the same time, never mind just for Labour. The message seems to be that the Iranians have nothing to fear (link).