« Give the surge a chance | Main | Developments on the Iranian kidnapping »


Drew SW London

In the good old days we could have relied on CF "students" to occupy the Iranian embassy - I hear it's a great way to spot future heads of government.

What is deeply depressing is the way the Chatham House types have taken to the airwaves singing "Don't Let's Be Beastly to the Persians".

Lindsay Jenkins

Congratulations, Tim, on speaking what many others fear to say.

Andrew Ian Dodge

Really annoy the Iranians, everyone go see "300". Make it the number one film in the UK.

On a serious not...Iran has taken their gauntlet and smacked the UK in the face. I fear that Blair does not have the spine to stand up to them.


The fact is that we don't want to fight a war over there as we don't really have a big enough visible threat to our security to make war worth it.

The Iranians are bound to play all their cards and use all tactics above and below the belt. They were not brought up in cricket-playing schools sadly.

Their games of brinkmanship will be enough to send America packing, and so we too will be out of there in time, the job done or not. It is a lesson that we should not go along with invasions of other countries unless we are absolutely sure we are ready to fight a war and win it. That is where Blair has been a complete disaster. In the UK he was so protected by a sickeningly fawning media that he began to think he could walk on water. It was in Iraq that he met reality.

It's the price we pay for allowing Murdoch so much of our media, and the fact that labour used dirty tactics to keep all media onside. Even now with the whole Labour game starting to topple, the media find it almost impossible to directly criticise Brown or Blair. Britain has lost democracy. What the hell are we doing trying to export something to others that we have lost for ourselves. Britain needs a long and thorough de-Blairing session. Gordon Brown is not even half likely to carry out such a task. Charles Clarke more likely.


Question is, where do we go from here. We are probably not strong enough to challenge the Iranians with conventional weaponry which leaves....
The monumental failures over Iraq are coming home to roost but unless these troops are released quickly action against Iran will have to be taken.

George Hinton

Perhaps we need to remind the Iranians that playing at silly B's is a two way game.
A couple of TLAM's with no war heads can be sent to a suitable location as a demonstration, with the warning that fully armed missiles will be forwarded to Homs, to fully destroy the Mosque and its occupants, if our Marine and Navy personnel are not returned, unharmed, PDQ.
The old adage that jaw jaw is better than war war, cannot be applied in today's world, with militant religious leaders hell-bent on their causes. These people only understand a kick in the maritals, they are not interested in talk, which they see as a sign of weakness, and will exploit ruthlessly, as a demonstration of their power, to their supporters, over the decadent and weak west.
It is time that the west realised, that traditional diplomacy does not work with fanatics and radicals


The United States stands ready to help its ally if it asks--the problem is that the UK isn't asking. When I read the comments on Iain Dale's blog blaming the United States for this (?!?), I don't hold out hope that the UK will take a hard line with Iran (http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2007/03/blair-must-stand-up-to-iranian.html).

Yet Another Anon

A couple of TLAM's with no war heads can be sent to a suitable location as a demonstration, with the warning that fully armed missiles will be forwarded to Homs, to fully destroy the Mosque and its occupants, if our Marine and Navy personnel are not returned, unharmed, PDQ
Waste of time, if missiles are to be sent then they should be appropriately armed - there is no point wasting missiles.

Personally I think that as much as possible the border between Iran and Iraq should be closed, a blockade should be put in place - anyone attempting to cross the border should be killed and any aircraft or ships crossing should be destroyed.

Coalition forces should be granted permission to enter Iranian territory in pursuit of insurgents crossing the border and islands belonging to the UAE should be retaken by force and handed back to the UAE.

If Iran continues to refuse to hand over the sailors then consideration should be given to bombing nuclear and military facilities in Iran if neccessary using nuclear warheads.

Yet Another Anon

It might be appropriate to seize territory in North Western parts of Iran and add it to the Kurdish autonomous area in Iraq, or create a Kurdish autonomous area inside Iran - full scale invasion of Iran is not really viable and regime change wouldn't put anything better in place anyway, although probably the problem at this time is with the Supreme Leader who is the one who the Revolutionary Guard are directly answerable to, Iran obviously needs some changes in it's constitutional structure to reduce what is akin to a form of popish control.


Tim---Trust you'll be signing up right now for the Army so you can play a part in standing up to Iran. Remember, 'real' conservatives such as yourself always like to match words with actions


Miles, since you're not a Conservative, are you going to surrender yourself to the Iranians? True liberals shouldn't wait for the invasion of the British Isles. No need to wait before bowing before your new Persian overlords.


Two factors have got us into this mess. First we allied ourselves to the USA's arrogant and deluded mission to invade Iraq which was self-evidently a massive strategic and historical blunder. Secondly, we have compounded that error by continuing to overstretch, under fund, and under supply our armed forces. What money our forces do get has in large part been wasted through poor procurement policies and execution. I heard someone on the radio say today that the current Royal Navy is smaller than the entire Falklands task force. It is a shame and a national disaster that our politicians seem to have no knowledge of history. The Iranians appear to have us between a rock and a hard place. They have the ability to shut off the West's oil supply and may soon have nuclear weapons. What a mess.


So what are we suggesting here: stop the diplomacy, give Iran an ultimatum, 24 hrs hand them over or else, 24 hours passes, no handover, nuke Tehran, so simple. After all we have spent billions on a deterrent,(about to spend billions more) it obviously has not worked, it has not worked because nobody seriously thinks we will ever use it, now is the time to prove them wrong. Then once we have used it, and everyone knows we will, we can save biilions on our armed forces, by scrapping them, and every time someone upsets us, just nuke the B******s!!


Iran breaks the nuclear treaty, sends paramilitary trainers and IEDs into Iraq to thwart the transition to democracy there, seizes UK personnel in Iraqi waters and generally funds terror groups from Hezbollah to Hamas.

The conclusion?

It's the US's fault.

But of course. Since this kind of thinking is so prevalent in the UK today, can we stop calling the British a serious people. Please.


I'm still a little curious about a question that no one in Britain appears to be asking: Why didn't the British sailors and marines actually fight the Iranians to prevent their capture? Were they not aware that they were in a war zone? It's difficult to imagine U.S. Marines surrendering to these pukes.


Pat, your question is answered here:


Tim and economist with little knowledge of foreign affairs or history. This article shows this.

"could be interpretated as an act of war" - Equally is could not.

"They have seen us promise sanctions on many occasions during the protacted negotiations with them over their nuclear programme and fail to act on as many occasions" - No it appears that they acted because we have finally got round to taking action. The troops were taken to try and bargain with the west - a typical Islamic response as old as the religion itself.

"Tehran has calculated that Britain does not have the stomach to stand up to Iran." It knows we do not have the power to fight them. Short of using nuclear weapons we would find it hard to attack Iran. It has some good air defences and a large army which is less casualty sensative than Britain's.

Unless Tim is willing to support a massive military expansion and go back to the age of gunboat diplomacy he should keep his keyboard under control. I believe his own father was in the military and was responsible for taking bad news to service families - he should know better.


I would suggest that the presence of a woman in the British boarding party may have contributed to the reluctance to fight the Iranian force. A naval helicopter was overhead, which if armed appropriately could have devastated the Iranian fleet.
As this happened before in 2004, it would be incredible if there were no such rehearsed plan in place.


Thanks JF,

This quote from the article is very disturbing:

"Yesterday, the former First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Alan West, said British rules of engagement were "very much de-escalatory, because we don't want wars starting ... Rather than roaring into action and sinking everything in sight we try to step back and that, of course, is why our chaps were, in effect, able to be captured and taken away.""

How absolutely pathetic! The British navy is a joke, and the entire British nation appears to have a "kick me" sign placed prominently on their bum.


Jfkalltheway, what is a military for if not to fight wars? It seems that the Europeans have taken to treating it like a gigantic jobs program.

Pat, while I agree that the aversion to combat in the British military is disturbing, let's not go so far as to sling insults. The UK appears to be no worse than the rest of Europe, or should I say Eurabia.

Yet Another Anon

A naval helicopter was overhead, which if armed appropriately could have devastated the Iranian fleet.
A single helicopter could not take on the whole Iranian fleet, the Royal Navy could take on the Iranian Fleet; Iran though has probably the most powerful conventional forces in South West Asia, the British position currently is to avoid engaging Iran and the sailors followed orders.



Fighting wars and winning wars are not the same. I just do not think we are positioned to win a war against Iran without US support or using nuclear weapons. Do you really want to send troops into a war like the Iran-Iraq war? If that is party policy, god help us all.

Tim Montgomerie

Just to be clear to those who have suggested I support a particular course of 'gunboat' or other form of military action in response to the kidnapping, my post was not intended to recommend any course of action. It was, instead, merely intended to argue that displays of weakness had led to this incident and a general weakness in US/UK policy/attitude will only lead to further and greater such incidents.


Yet another Anon....A single helicopter could not take on the whole Iranian fleet

Fleet of 5 Iranian speedboats that arrested the Marines, not the entire Iranian Navy......does everything have to be spelt out for some people.


Yet Another Anon,

The British Marines were not facing the entire Iranian fleet, according to the article cited by JF, the Brits were facing a few "speed boats". And yes, a single attack helicopter could have effortlessly destroyed these speed boats.

If the British navy's mentality is to avoid combat no matter what provocation and potential humiliation at hand, please just return to British waters. There they can engage in their love for pomp without inteference from clownish, third world countries.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad


  • Tracker