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The Iranian Showdown

Friday, March 30, 2007

After watching the events unfold concerning British soldiers allegedly entering Iranian waters, I've decided that there seems to be one critical piece of evidence missing from the discussion. On the one hand you have Briton swearing up and down that its soldiers were in Iraqi waters. On the other you have Iran saying the exact opposite.

Water is a funny thing; it's really hard to place boundary lines on it. Therefore, in today's modern navy, they must rely on G.P.S. to know where they exactly are. Am I to believe that in all this, neither side has provided evidence showing exactly where the boat was detained and boarded? I mean, come on. If you're going to create an international incident, wouldn't you think it'd be prudent to have evidence showing exactly where you stopped the offending boat? Furthermore, are you telling me that not even the United States Navy, with two aircraft carrier battle groups in the Persian Gulf, doesn't have ship movement logs? I thought they were suppose to be able to keep track of hundreds, if not thousands, of potential targets.

Even the radar image at right provides enough information to figure out where each one of the blips on the screen is located. If Briton had such evidence, don't you think they'd be quick to show the world? How much more evidence would you need to prove your case? No, we're not getting the whole story here.

On a side bar, when you see Tony Blair getting all upset about the Iranians showing British soldiers on the television, ignore it. I believe the Geneva Convention states that you can't broadcast images of hostages or Prisoners of war, but these British soldiers are not that class. Right now, these soldiers are charged with trespassing... no different than if your neighborhood thug trespassed on your property. So, calm down, Tony. You're making an international incident out of a mole hill. (I may be wrong on this, so correct me if I am.)

UPDATE: Since I posted this, I've discovered that the British government has indeed made public coordinates that they claim show the British sailors were in Iraqi waters when they were captured. Vice Adm. Charles Style said the British boats were seized at 29 degrees 50.36 minutes north latitude and 48 degrees 43.08 minutes east longitude. Here's a link to Google Maps for those that are interested. One thing to note: in discovering the above coordinates, I've also discovered a long standing territorial dispute between Iraq and Iran. Mark, at South Puget Sound Libertarian, also makes note of this discrepancy in his March 30th post. Quoting from this Yahoo! News article:
[T]he position, outside the Shatt el-Arab waterway in the Gulf, is an area where no legal boundary exists, leaving it unclear whose territory it lies in, said Kaiyan Kaikobad, author of "The Shatt al-Arab Boundary Question."

"What we do have is a de facto state practiced boundary -- a line both countries have been observing on the spot," he said. "The problem is that though the British have drawn a line where they claim the de facto line is, we haven't seen an Iranian version."
So, both the Iranian and British governments could be right, and they both could be wrong in their claims.

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