Cardinal Wolsey: You're a constant regret to me, Thomas. If you could just see facts flat-on, without that horrible moral squint... With a little common sense you could have made a statesman.
A Man for All Seasons Robert Bolt
If the war criminal Jack Straw was still Foreign Secretary he would be chewing chunks out of the vermilion ottoman on which he lounged in the Foreign Office as he dispatched nameless diplomats to unknown lands - it is difficlt to believe his successor would take to such dramatic tantrums but she is no doubt upset or even "concerned " that ex Ambassador Craig Murray has replaced HMG representatives as the quiet and perisistent voice of reason in the
Gulf of Tonkin Shatt al Arab dispute.
Craig Murray is not only an ex Ambassador with close knowledge of the Uzbek Torturers Cookbook but is former chief of the Maritime Section of Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He has pointed out , from a position of knowledge and experience that even the most sophisticated navigational devices are of no help in the current British-Iranian dispute because there is no clearly demarcated and agreed boundary.
"The major problem is, knowing where the ships were exactly doesn't help you know precisely where the boundary line is because that's what nobody really knows, because it [the boundary] has never been agreed," he explains to a listening and receptive world.
Hapless FCO spokesman Barry Marston is left to splutter that there are questions about the maritime boundary in the area. But, he adds, the British craft were not in any area of dispute.
"We are aware there are some issue over in clarity over the Iraq-Iranian [demarcation], over the exact borderline along parts of that coast," he said.
"That is an area, however, where there is no doubt whatsoever. This has never been a stretch where there has been any dispute over. So there's very, very little doubt that Britain is absolutely in the right here."Not untypical FO thinking .. the Theory of Things never Happening for the First Time, which sits happily with the Theory of Unripe Time ..." the time is not ripe for the introduction of telegrams ..."
Craig Murray cuts the crap and identifies a simple and a straighforward diplomatic solution. Iran and Iraq should commit to negotiations on a maritime boundary. The UK could acknowledge the dispute and claim their belief did not reflect an intention to enter Iranian territorial waters. If this could be agreed a release of the hostages would follow.
This of course assumes that Albion did not have a perfidious intention to deliberately provoke by dragging their (temporarily) unprotected boarding party like coat tails across the ever vigilant path of the Iranian coastal forces. It assumes that the happy accident of the BBC having shots of the sassy seaman in the can to cross cut to the Iranian TV propaganda to ratchet up world wide anti -Islamic feeling was just .. a happy accident.
It assumes that the Royal Navy routinely and negligently leave their boarding parties unprotected, their Lynx helicopters inadequately fuelled, that radar operators do not have their eyes glued to the movement of Iranian coastal vessels. It assumes that in this febrile area this stretch of ocean which carries 40% of the worlds oil, that the massive and continuous observation -and not just by Jolly Jack Tars , broke down . If you assume that, we may as well sink the boats today... "far called, our Navies should melt away".
Others assume that Tony Blair, who has now effectively sidelined the role of the Foreign Office has no intention to settle this matter either swiftly, equitably or with diplomatic discretion - as say the return of the still nameless and inidentified Ethiopian "tourists" ... but then the BBC didn't have any shots of the happy smoking smiling mum in the can.
Others assume that this is a deliberate provocation and they don't want to have a speedy and rapid return , but have a considered and deliberate intention to ratchet up global Islamophobia.
It is evident that in pursuing his noisy, belligerance and table thumping, Tony Blair has the full support of Washington (NO detectable note of criticism of TB has surfaced ) and President Bush...
"The British hostage issue is serious because the Iranians took these people out of Iraqi water. It's inexcusable behavior. I strongly support the Blair government's attempts to resolve this peacefully,"...and no doubt the claque at AIPAC, JINSA, ADL and the Christian Zionists and fanned by the breezes from the corrupt gangsters and sex criminals who run the government in Tel Aviv . (Note Bush's use of hostage which has especial resonance in the US over Iran - it also took him along time to say anything - no-one is in any rush here)
This show will run and run. Craig as ever will be ignored... at least this time they can't humiliate him publicly and sack him. However if Mr Ahm in a Dinner Jacket decides to upset the apple cart and peremptorily return the useless semen......
PS Sunday Torygraph reports that "after a Cabinet COBRA committee meeting Downing Street officials explicitly cautioned against hopes of a speedy outcome and said that families of the hostages should prepare for the "long haul".
The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and the Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, have been warned that the impasse may develop into a long-term stand-off. Privately, officials are speculating that the crisis could continue for months."