While bloggers like Captains Quarters and Riehl World View choose to focus on the weakness shown by our allies in the Britain/Iran imbroglio (although I thought that describing how weak our team is only gave aid and comfort to the enemy), I am more concerned by the apparent stupidity displayed by the Brits.
Their confident self-righteousness oozing forth, those who support confrontation insist that the British ship was 1.7 nautical miles inside Iraqi waters. They argue that a 1976 treaty signed by the Shah of Iran and Saddam Hussein clearly defines the maritime border. Even I know that there is nothing in that part of the world that is "clearly defined." After the Iranian revolution in 1979, it was pretty obvious that Khomeni did not feel a whole lot of obligation to abide by agreements signed by the Shah - especially ones with Iraq, who in 1980 invaded Iran. This war cost Iran an estimated one million casualties. Border disputes were cited as it's cause.
It just seems pretty damned stupid to me to fool around within a couple of miles of some technical border that exists on paper only, especially when you're talking about Iraq and Iran.
But it may even be stupider than that. Read this:
Former Head of the Maritime Section at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Craig Murray, has written that an agreed Iran/Iraq maritime boundary, as shown on the British government provided map, does not exist. He also noted that the location of the incident given by the Ministry of Defence is closer to Iranian than Iraqi land."
Richard Schofield, an expert in international boundaries at King's College London, stated "Iran and Iraq have never agreed to a boundary of their territorial waters. There is no legal definition of the boundary beyond the Shatt al-Arab.
When I opened by commenting on some of wingnuttia's talk of the weakness of our allies, I wasn't just speaking of the Britain is Toast argument of Dan Riehl. The entire European Union is being described as weak and dysfunctional because it is not immediately ready to declare war. It's a bit unfair to blame the E.U. for the mess Britain got itself into, when they so clearly warned the U.K. that it was only going to get itself into a mess.
The [European] Council simply expressed its "grave concern" and generally weakened the strong message the British wanted. Perhaps memories on the Council of the invasion of Iraq (without which the naval party would not of course have been there) played a part here. (emphasis added) (link)
Following our lead, Britain has been behaving stupidly in the Middle East, and the repercussions it is now experiencing were only to be expected.