View Full Version : Iran captures British sailors

03-23-2007, 01:39 PM
They are currently holding 15 Brit sailors and Marines. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6484279.stm)

03-23-2007, 04:16 PM
-and oil jumped to $62 a barrel on the spot and will probably peak even higher by close of business today

-and I'm reminded of that pirate song verse " 15 men on a dead man's chest". I thought there were still Laws on the books about piracy, that it was a scourge to be eradicated by any and all means necessary?

03-24-2007, 08:50 AM
In Iran's case, it's not piracy, it's just "business as usual."

03-24-2007, 09:00 AM
... let's divert attention away from the Security Council's vote today on sanctions...

03-26-2007, 12:05 PM
From the AP:

"LONDON — Iran warned that 15 British sailors and marines could face charges for allegedly entering Iranian waters and rejected British requests to meet with the servicemen detained off the coast of Iraq."

This reminds me of saddam's antics and actions before the first invasion. I'm all for sanctions and due process but I doubt these sailors will be returned. To return them will show weakness - that's how I see their thinking.

03-26-2007, 12:11 PM
They returned eight sailors last year. Iran no doubt sees these Brits as a bargaining chip.

03-26-2007, 02:05 PM
I hope you're right, Tequilla. I think it's gone too far now, there is no turning back. A big hunk of the world is saying in affect let them have their nukes, it will keep the flow of commerce going at a steady pace. The peaceniks are prepping already for an opposition campaign against the use of force. A left wing Israeli newspaper has already mentioned the potential of massive radiation contamination if the nuke sites are hit. Half our own population can't commit to any military operation that lasts longer than 2 days with no KIAs and the other half is only concerned about bargains at Wal-Mart. With the new sanctions in place, Iran will dig in and if there is any intervention with force, the sailors will be tried and jailed and quite possibly be hung in public. I have no reason for optimism. We've got carriers in the area, the Kurds are causing them some problems, there is considerable internal dissatisfaction and economic woes, the Jews remain strong and now more sanctions are in place against them.

03-26-2007, 02:25 PM
I would bet that these detentions have more to do with our own detention of five IRGC cadres in Iraq and a certain IRGC general in Turkey than anything else.

IMO the Iranians are among the world's most cynical political players. They were more than happy to take Israeli and American antitank missiles when they needed them in the 1980s, and to make a deal with the apostate heretic Saddam when the army told them to in 1988 even though it killed Khoemeini. No doubt certain elements would love a war with the U.S. but the majority of the Iranian power establishment are Stalinists rather than Trotskyists, to abuse an old horse once again.

03-26-2007, 03:53 PM
Well, like or not, ALL Word looks at US and our behavior and see double standards… It was just question of time that someone will try to play game by same rules (US, Brits and NATO have “right” to arrest and kidnap anyone they wish and hold them indefinitely; jews have nukes and continue to kill civilians, kids, journalists while West do nothing; wars started based on lies; invasions without thinking or planning on public reaction; betting on wrong tactics and ideas through ALL Middle East that just backfire on every step…).

Pessimist I am to, but from different angle.

CNN in one report says that Brits was in Iranian waters… I think, UK or US will do the same if Iranians of anyone else cross in they waters. Right?

03-26-2007, 04:18 PM
The matter is in dispute, made worse by the fact that Iran and Iraq have quite undefined maritime boundaries.

03-26-2007, 08:43 PM
Well, like or not, ALL Word looks at US and our behavior and see double standards… It was just question of time that someone will try to play game by same rules (US, Brits and NATO have “right” to arrest and kidnap anyone they wish and hold them indefinitely; jews have nukes and continue to kill civilians, kids, journalists while West do nothing; wars started based on lies; invasions without thinking or planning on public reaction; betting on wrong tactics and ideas through ALL Middle East that just backfire on every step…).

Pessimist I am to, but from different angle.

CNN in one report says that Brits was in Iranian waters… I think, UK or US will do the same if Iranians of anyone else cross in they waters. Right?

Wrong. We, like most "civilized" countries do not indefinitely detain folks just for straying into territorial waters and then threaten to execute them. We also don't steal Romanian oil rigs by force. Iran is NOT a civilized country by even mid-east standards.

And frankly, I laughed my ass off when we captured those Iranian "diplomats" in their "unofficial" diplomatic mission. Turnabout is fair play. Now, we just need to hold them 444 days....

03-26-2007, 08:49 PM

Ok. If you don’t mind, I will agree with you on some points and on some I will need to disagree. ;)

03-26-2007, 09:38 PM
Now this begins to smell !

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Eight British sailors and marines have left Iran three days after they were detained by Iran's military for straying into Iranian territorial waters.

Especially this part:

another video released by the Iranians showed two of the men standing by the waterway, identifying themselves as Thomas Hawkins, a Marine, and Chief Petty Officer Robert Webster of the Royal Navy. Both apologized for their actions.

03-27-2007, 01:10 AM
- after they had their nuts put in a vise they agreed to apologize ..... I bet most of them slipped on the stairs too while in iranian custody and have unfortunate bruising all over their bodies

03-27-2007, 07:59 AM
Stan, are you sure those aren't from last year? AFAIK none of the Brits have been released as yet.

John T. Fishel
03-27-2007, 11:30 AM
Guys, I wonder about how this came about. 2 British RIBs from the frigate HMS Cornwall board a ship in Iraqi waters. After the search as they depart they are intercepted by Iranian gunboats and taken prisoner. Where was Cornwall? It looks like she mounts a 5 inch gun? Why didn't she use it? Could she have been out of range? If so, why would that be allowed to happen?



03-27-2007, 12:15 PM
Nabbing sailors bolsters the faith of the Revolutionary Guard and the Basijji foot soldiers. It notches up the status of Iran in the minds of jihadists. It scares the hell out of businessmen/investors. It makes a nice smoke screen and diversion from the sanctions just put in place, as SWJED has pointed out and it goads hot-heads like me into a confrontation when the rest of the world is not ready for confrontation. Killing Iranians is strictly off limits for the time being and the mother ship had no choice but to hold her fire as her men were being abducted. It's a damn bitter pill to swallow - may a pack of Raptors and other assorted high tech nastiness soon descend upon the devils.

John T. Fishel
03-27-2007, 01:57 PM
Surely you jest, Goesh. I can't believe that the Brits would be that consciously careless with the risk to the lives and liberty of their own. On the other hand, a commander who loses his men through carelessness or cowardice is likely to be brought up on charges in any military service - Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines - of any nation be it the US, the UK, or Argentina.

I wholeheartedly agree with your last statement about Raptors and other high tech weapons of destruction.

03-27-2007, 02:45 PM
From the AP: 3/27:

"DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - The U.S. Navy on Tuesday began its largest demonstration of force in the Persian Gulf since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, led by a pair of aircraft carriers and backed by warplanes flying simulated attack maneuvers off the coast of Iran.

The maneuvers bring together two strike groups of U.S. warships and more than 100 U.S. warplanes to conduct simulated air warfare in the crowded Gulf shipping lanes.

The U.S. exercises come just four days after Iran’s capture of 15 British sailors and marines who Iran said had strayed into Iranian waters near the Gulf. Britain and the U.S. Navy have insisted the British sailors were operating in Iraqi waters."

What the Navy needs is to institute the old concept of the press gang and press crews of burnt out old grunts like myself into service with shotguns and molotovs in hopped up cigar boats disguised as fishing sloops. Let us hoist the stars and bars when we make contact and engage the small craft of the iranian revolutionary guard naval forces. If you're going to have an international incident, it's best to do it the old fashioned way.

I doubt the Brits knew what was happening until they were on them, drawn down on them. My .02 worth says the iranians would have opened fired on them had they fled.

John T. Fishel
03-27-2007, 04:40 PM
Jolly Roger works for me! Where can I sign up? But, I'd really like to mount a minigun...

I supect you are right about the RIBs. But my question about Cornwall still holds.

03-27-2007, 04:48 PM
From the AP: 3/27:

"DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - The U.S. Navy on Tuesday began its largest demonstration of force in the Persian Gulf since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, led by a pair of aircraft carriers and backed by warplanes flying simulated attack maneuvers off the coast of Iran.

The maneuvers bring together two strike groups of U.S. warships and more than 100 U.S. warplanes to conduct simulated air warfare in the crowded Gulf shipping lanes.

The U.S. exercises come just four days after Iran’s capture of 15 British sailors and marines who Iran said had strayed into Iranian waters near the Gulf. Britain and the U.S. Navy have insisted the British sailors were operating in Iraqi waters."

Hostage taking is an old standby for trying to enforce certain behaviors by other states. This may be a chicken and egg question, but it may also just be a game of chicken.
1. Did the Iranian government, knowing about the impending US naval "exercise," take a few hostages to ensure that the exercise does not become a "live fire exercise" against Iran? The 15 UK hostages are used as a means of keeping the US force from attacking Iran.
2. Alternatively (the game of chicken), the capture might be used by the Iranians as an attempt to goad the US into a military response. If the US does not attack, the Iranians score a propoganda victory--the big bad US won't/can't help out its UK ally.

Either way, the Iranians might be successful in a divide and conquer attempt aimed at the US-UK partnership.
If the US attacks (1 above), the Iranians kill the hostages, hoping to drive a wedge between the US and UK.
If the US doesn't attack (2 above) another wedge may be driven between the US and UK.

03-27-2007, 04:55 PM
I think much more likely this is Iranian tat for our ###, that is the taking of the IRGC from our good buddy Hakim's compound awhile back.

03-27-2007, 05:47 PM
It may be ### for tat BUT the difference is clear: uniformed troops clearly identified operating on an above board stated mission on a border (resrticted waterway/disputed border) with the intent of policing smuggling vs IRGC non-uniformed troops operating clandestinely well within a sovereign state with the intent of supporting internal conflict.

This was a bad move.

Not to mention the 'illegality' of parading the brits on tv.

Cold War style brinksmanship, who flinches first?

03-27-2007, 07:25 PM
We may just have to wait and see a little longer. When are the carrier battle groups scheduled to end the exercise?
Tony Blair's latest comments do not seem to imply escalating to a military option any time soon by the Brits, more a display of evidence to allow the court of public opinion to judge what unjust folks the Iranians are.

03-27-2007, 11:18 PM
I'm certainly not comparing the relative morality of Brit Royal Marines vs IRGC commanders. Obviously there is a world of difference there. Simply pointing out that Iran is going to respond to our actions, and to expect otherwise is silly.

03-28-2007, 11:28 AM
UK is definitely asserting that their forces were clearly in Iraqi waters

03-28-2007, 12:44 PM
Re: the recent capture of British soldiers by Iran, how do you people think this will play out? Or is it too early to tell yet?

I'm still unsure but I don't rule out military action if this isn't resolved fairly soon. Blair seems to be pretty cagey regarding what type of action he is willing to take but I could see this escalating pretty quickly.

Your thoughts?

03-28-2007, 01:35 PM
Most recent update. CNN-Turkey says Iran may release (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070328/ap_on_re_eu/british_seized_iran;_ylt=AgoAortRspOJYjy7A40rfUOs0 NUE)the female sailor.

03-28-2007, 02:54 PM
The first thought that springs to everyone's mind is that this is Iran's highest strategic and political thinkers' cunningly calculated plan to flex their muscles, deter the West and gain even more political power in the Muslim world. Of course, if that's the analysis being presented on CNN it's quite likely to be wrong.

Actually, this is almost certainly an accident. Think about the tactical challenge of grabbing 15 sailors without killing them. As the Iranian commander, how could you be 100% sure that none of the British would start shooting? How can you be sure they won't manage to sink their zodiac trying to get away from you and maybe drown a couple guys? Negotiating over prisoners is one thing - but if anyone had died this situation would be about ten times worse. That's one reason a deliberate capture seems unlikely.

They also have no reason to attempt such a risky operation.

-If they wanted to flex their muscles all they have to do is send a shipload of weaponry to Hezbollah or Hamas. That may not seem like much, but it's guaranteed to get noticed by the US government - which is the real outside player in the region.

-If they wanted British bargaining chips they could let their buddies in southern Iraq do it without attribution. No chance of retaliation.

-If they wanted to force Britain to back away from nuclear sanctions they know this is the worst way to do it. Anything that the UK offers Iran now only looks like caving in.

The simpler explanation is that either the British or the Iranians were wrong on where an international boundary was in relation to their boats. Given the narrow confines of those waters, and the fact that the Iranian navy probably doesn't use a whole lot of GPS, and the very real possibility that the Brits didn't check their GPS, it's much more likely that folks just got confused.

Moreover, neither side is acting like they were well prepared for this. The Brits would've reacted better had this been some deliberate incursion into Iranian waters. As it is, their cover story appears to be "we so weren't in Iranian waters". The Iranians probably didn't realize what was going on for a while, either - it's not every day those coastal patrol guys come up with anything more interesting than somebody's yacht drifted out of position.

This is a political problem that will get hashed out after some posturing by both sides. It'll take a little time because neither side was prepared for it. Both sides will try to take advantage of the situation and it's possible both sides will win. Tony Blair could get some much needed political support at home if he handles this well and the Iranians could come off looking both powerful and magnanimous for seizing the sailors and then releasing them. I believe the sailors will ultimately be released without harm - anything else is far too costly for Iran.

Merv Benson
03-28-2007, 03:45 PM
As this post (http://prairiepundit.blogspot.com/2007/03/brits-were-17-miles-inside-iraqi-waters.html) makes clear the British were kidnapped 1.7 miles into Iraqi waters. The original coordinates given by the Iranians to the Brits was also in Iraqi waters. Then then came back with different coordinates 500 yards into Iranian waters.

I think the Iranians were aware of the British Rules of Engagement from their earlier capture so they were not concerned about getting into a shoot out.

03-28-2007, 03:45 PM
Yeah, how nice and cordial of them. They should have extended such consideration to that 16 yr old girl they hung in public for adultery last year

03-28-2007, 03:55 PM
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.

03-28-2007, 04:38 PM
Hey, nits make lice. One less, no?:p

I don't think anyone is arguing that the Iranians are knights of chivalry. This may be an indicator that they are realizing they have overreached.

03-28-2007, 05:06 PM
-more likely some of our air assets have already crossed into their air space just a wee bit during the show of force and sabre rattling

03-28-2007, 05:07 PM
Hi Sam,
Thanks for the link !

Just below that is another link to this article from Iran:


"Statements surrounding the U.S. Fifth Fleet conducting large-scale U.S. naval exercises in the region are untrue," a deputy commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps said.

According to Kevin Aandahl, a representative of the Fifth Fleet, the ships will keep out of Iranian waters, and the maneuvers are unconnected with Iran's detention of British sailors and marines.

Well, Kevin I guess we'll soon see :cool:
Regards, Stan

03-28-2007, 07:11 PM
Regret to say that the Iranians have gotten one of the Brit sailors to "confess" that they were in Iranian territorial waters. This "confession" is being trumpeted on Tehran TV as we speak.

Agree that this could get bad quickly. But not sure anyone outside the IRGC knows where these people are being held.



03-28-2007, 09:16 PM
MOD Briefing Shows Royal Navy Personnel Were in Iraqi Waters (http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceNews/MilitaryOperations/ModBriefingShowsRoyalNavyPersonnelWereInIraqiWater s.htm):

The Ministry of Defence has presented evidence which shows that the fifteen personnel detained by Iranian authorities on Friday 23 March 2007 were operating in Iraqi waters when they were seized.

The briefing, at defence headquarters in London, was given by Vice Admiral Charles Style, Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Commitments). Vice Admiral Style, who is responsible for providing strategic advice to operational commanders, explained in detail where the Royal Navy personnel were located when they were seized:


Picture shows GPS location of the incident, as seen from a Royal Navy helicopter over the merchant vessel after the event.

"The aim of this brief is to provide a factual account of the incident during which fifteen Royal Naval personnel were seized by the Iranians last Friday. By way of background, HMS CORNWALL was in charge of the coalition force, which - alongside the Iraqi Navy - is operating in the Northern Persian Gulf.

"This force maintains the sovereignty and integrity of Iraqi territorial waters under UN Security Council Resolution 1723, and with the approval of the Iraqi Government. The ship – and others in the coalition - maintain a presence patrolling there. They are also charged with protection of the Iraqi offshore oil infrastructure – economically very important - and the security of merchant vessels.


Picture shows position of HMS Cornwall on Friday 23 March 2007.

"On 23 March a boarding team consisting of seven Royal Marines and eight sailors - who were embarked in two of HMS CORNWALL's boats - conducted a routine boarding of an Indian flagged Merchant Vessel which was cooperative throughout. They investigated this vessel after witnessing her unloading cars into two barges secured alongside. Since early March the force has conducted 66 routine boardings. So the one that I'm talking about was entirely routine business, and conducted in a particular area where four other boardings have been completed recently.

"As shown on the chart, the merchant vessel was 7.5 nautical miles south east of the Al Faw Peninsula and clearly in Iraqi territorial waters. Her master has confirmed that his vessel was anchored within Iraqi waters at the time of the arrest. The position was 29 degrees 50.36 minutes North 048 degrees 43.08 minutes East. This places her 1.7 nautical miles inside Iraqi territorial waters. This fact has been confirmed by the Iraqi Foreign Ministry.

"The Iranian government has provided us with two different positions for the incident. The first we received on Saturday and the second on Monday. As this map shows, the first of these points still lies within Iraqi territorial waters. We pointed this out to them on Sunday in diplomatic contacts.

"After we did this, they then provided a second set of coordinates that places the incident in Iranian waters over two nautical miles from the position given by HMS CORNWALL and confirmed by the merchant vessel. The two Iranian positions are just under a nautical mile apart – 1800 yards or so. It is hard to understand a reason for this change of coordinates. We unambiguously contest both the positions provided by the Iranians.

"I should just explain at this point that the boats remained connected at this point. One of the seaboats was connected via data link, which communicated its position continually to the ship where it was displayed, superimposed on an electronic chart, on a purpose built console. During the boarding this console was constantly monitored and indicated, throughout, that the boats had remained well within Iraqi territorial waters.

"Our boarding started at 0739 local time and was completed at 0910 with the merchant vessel having been cleared to continue with her business. Communications were lost with the boarding team as the boarding was finishing … at 0910. HMS CORNWALL's Lynx helicopter, which had been covering the initial stages of the boarding, immediately returned to the scene to locate the boarding team.

"The helicopter reported that the two seaboats were being escorted by Iranian Islamic Republican Guard Navy vessels towards the Shatt 'Al Arab Waterway and were now inside Iranian territorial waters. Debriefing of the helicopter crew and a conversation with the master of the merchant ship both indicate that the boarding team were ambushed while disembarking from the merchant vessel. Both boats were equipped with a GPS chart plotter.

"On Sunday morning, 25 March, HMS CORNWALL's Lynx conducted an overflight of the merchant vessel, which was still at anchor, and once again confirmed her location on Global Positioning System equipment. Her Master confirmed that his vessel had remained at anchor since Friday, and was in Iraqi territorial waters.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, my primary message is clear. HMS CORNWALL with her boarding party was going about her legal business – in Iraqi Territorial waters, under a United Nations Security Council Resolution, with the explicit approval of the Iraqi government.

"The action by Iranian forces in arresting and detaining our people is unjustified and wrong. As such it is a matter of deep concern to us and the families of the people who have been taken. We continue not only to call for their safe, but for their safe and speedy, return, and we continue to seek immediate consular access to them as a prelude to their release."

03-28-2007, 09:21 PM
It will likely end much the same way it did when the US P-3 crew was forced to land in Chinese territory in 2001.

03-29-2007, 12:01 PM
If I were Ahmadinejad, I would announce to my people that UK will be paying compensation for violating territorial waters, that the UK spying mission was disrupted by the brave Iranian naval forces and the prisoners will be returned shortly. I suppose he could chain them to his nuke sites too.

04-03-2007, 01:25 PM
A bit more evidence for the "hostage swap" theory, or very convenient timing.

Kidnapped Iranian diplomat released (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070403/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iran_britain;_ylt=Aql1Ny963RHNUn24MShBMZes0NUE).

Crude Oil Falls as Iran, U.K. Plan Talks Over British Captives (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aJaqAazuBd_o&refer=us).

Ahmedenijad announces potential release of the 15 captured British sailors and Marines (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070404/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iran_britain;_ylt=AhNlVx8SuKbjTxRIMrkZLGms0NUE).

04-04-2007, 02:24 PM
Blatant double posting (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070404/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iran_britain;_ylt=Ap.LBZQoRJnM8nG7WQxCASas0NUE)her e.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran would free the 15 detained British sailors and marines Wednesday as an Easter holiday "gift" to the British people.

He said the captives, who were seized while on patrol in the northern Persian Gulf on March 23, would be taken to the airport at the end of the news conference that he was addressing. An Iranian official in London said they would be handed over to British diplomats in Tehran.


"On the occasion of the birthday of the great prophet (Muhammad) ... and for the occasion of the passing of Christ, I say the Islamic Republic government and the Iranian people — with all powers and legal right to put the soldiers on trial — forgave those 15," he said, referring to the Muslim prophet's birthday on March 30 and the Easter holiday.

"This pardon is a gift to the British people," he said.

The surprise announcement came shortly after Ahmadinejad pinned a medal on the chest of the Iranian coast guard commander who intercepted the sailors and marines.

In London, the office of Prime Minister Tony Blair said it welcomed the news.

"We are now establishing exactly what this means in terms of the method and timing of their release," a Downing Street spokeswoman said.

An Iranian official in London said the crew members would be handed over to British diplomats in Tehran and that it would then be up to the Foreign Office to decide how they would return home.

The announcement came after Iran's state media reported that an Iranian envoy would be allowed to meet five Iranians detained by U.S. forces in northern Iraq. Another Iranian diplomat, separately seized two months ago by uniformed gunmen in Iraq, was released and returned Tuesday to Tehran.

04-04-2007, 05:01 PM
I just knew the old bandit would bring in the compassionate islam ploy...

04-12-2007, 07:17 AM
Received this nice summation from a British analyst over here.

This follows e-mail exchanges and conversations with people in the UK, the Gulf and elsewhere and newspaper contributions. I hope it is helpful.

Best wishes, Bruce.

Navy Hostages

As precisely the same happened to a similar RN party in 2004, it perfectly obvious by definition that the group taken recently were in official parlance “prone to capture”.

They received however no “Conduct after Capture” or more especially “Hostage Survival” training. The Armed Forces has a duty of care towards the crew and all those in a similar position.

Had they received even a briefing on the subject they would have been made aware of potential isolation, disorientation, threats and mock executions, the crucial fact that one is worth far more alive to captors than dead, and the emotions that play in these sorts of circumstances.

Had this been done the awkward scenes shown on television would not have happened in the same way and psychological damage would have been limited, but it wasn’t!

A percentage of people will become permanently mentally harmed by these sorts of experiences. But with proper training a lot is avoidable. In harsh training those who cannot cope can be identified and posted elsewhere.

A further factor is morale and sense of purpose. In Vietnam, Korea, WWII and N. Ireland all troops could give a fairly clear idea why they were supposed to be there, whether or not they liked it; now?

Tactically and diplomatically, the Iranians I think, who after all invented chess, in their own way had all the moves well planned; the capture, the processing and release of the hostages in time for the story to spin over Easter. Once more we see tactical events with strategic consequences.

Their objectives –

i. Humiliate, weaken and decouple UK within the allied cause.

ii. Deflect attention from their own nuclear programme (of which the Hezbollah war contained an element)

iii. Put a “shot in the bank” to set a marker and gauge reaction.

Operationally, where was the real-time situational awareness and common operating picture? How did the command vessel not see these three Iranian vessels converging on the boarding craft? What is the point of having these systems unless? -

i. You have the assets with which to respond

ii. The political will and support expressed in ROE to allow you to do so

iii. You can communicate with those who need to know

Ironically, I spoke at length several times in the past to the Commodore Nick Lambert of HMS Cornwall, about just these issues. I imagine he got what he was issued with.

Media-wise, those I know in the region say that the story there until approaching the release was “no big deal” as that sort of thing that goes on.

What in fact took place was true public diplomacy, over the heads of the British government, between factions within Iran and the dangerously speculating and sensationalising British press and media.

12-16-2007, 02:26 PM
UK House of Commons Defence Committee, 14 Dec 07:

The Iran Hostages Incident: The Lessons Learned (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmselect/cmdfence/181/181.pdf)

In June 2007, the Secretary of State for Defence announced the broad conclusions of the Fulton report into the apprehension of Royal Navy personnel from HMS Cornwall by Iranians on 23 March 2007. He stated that it would not be possible to publish the report but that it would be given to our Committee to ensure parliamentary scrutiny.

We found the initial response of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to our inquiry inadequate, but the MoD has now provided us with full responses to our questions and briefing at the highest level.

The security classification of the Fulton report, and the evidence provided to us in support of it, makes it difficult for us to demonstrate openly the grounds on which we have reached our conclusions. But we assure the House of Commons, and the public, that we are satisfied that action is being taken to address the weaknesses exposed by the hostagetaking. We are assured that this should significantly reduce the likelihood of a recurrence. We have written to the Secretary of State for Defence with a number of classified conclusions and recommendations.

The decision not to publish the Fulton report has led some people to conclude that the whole thing was a whitewash. We can assure the House that this is not the case. The Fulton report was robust in identifying serious weaknesses: in intelligence, in communications, in doctrine and in training. And, while the MoD concluded there were insufficient grounds for courts martial, formal administrative action has been taken against a number of Service personnel.

The Fulton report recommended a range of remedial actions; and the Government has made good progress towards implementing its recommendations. We have been assured that the resources are in place to enable implementation of the action plan. We accept that a lack of resources was not the direct cause of the events of 23 March.

We also considered the findings of the Hall report into media access to Service personnel. It is clear that the decision to allow the Service personnel to sell their stories was a serious mistake and deeply damaging to the reputation of the Royal Navy. The Secretary of State for Defence has accepted responsibility and apologised. This should not absolve others from blame.

We publish a progress report from the MoD on the action taken to implement the Hall recommendations, and note the progress made.
Complete 23 page report at the link.

Chris Albon
06-12-2008, 02:14 PM
Just stumbled upon this video, it appears to be from the 23rd of March 2007 incident between British troops and Iran. I thought I had followed this story pretty closely but I have not seen this video before:


Any insight?