Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Stripping the "Great" out of Britain

Returning home for Easter

And so the naval personnel would return home just in time for Easter and the UK-Iran Crisis of 2007 is over.

Well, many would assume it is, the people are free, and the Iranian diplomat who was abducted in Iraq suddenly materialised at the Iranian embassy yesterday and it appears another consular official would be able to see the 5 Iranians who have been in American custody since January.

They were granted their freedom as a gift to Great Britain by Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the firebrand, hard-line President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the adjectives the West has bestowed on this man become almost irrelevant in the face of this humanity and kindness.

Agree to disagree

We can as well agree to disagree that our naval personnel were arrested in Iraqi or Iranian waters depending on whose map you are viewing, or basically, it was fair game on either side. As for the patrolling of Iraqi waters with a UN mandate, let us not plumb the depths of the dishonesty that has brought us thus far in the Middle East.

We can however recall that this time 25 years ago, Mrs. Margaret Hilda Thatcher, the Prime Minister then was busy putting the Great back in Britain and with it sowed the seeds that kept the Conservative Party in power for another 13 years.

Then, the territory under dispute since 1830 but deferring to the British was overrun by the military junta of Argentina; the 3 lions roared and thumped the Argentines out of the Falkland Islands with the loss about 1,000 lives however, leaving Great Britain beaming with patriotic fervour - Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves was the waking call of anyone who deigned to be British.

Nothing great going on

Today, we cannot say great diplomacy was at play, no great satisfaction that we have proven our point, no great triumph having been overwhelmed at sea by Iranians who have suffered sanctions for decades.

It is arguable that tepid warnings from the UN, the strident support of the EU and the bluster of the US did nothing to help the situation; our diplomats had to relearn the principles of bilateral negotiations rather than the failed US policy of international isolation.

Them and us

The naval personnel would return and be made to recant all their recorded confessions of having trespassed on Iranian nautical territory; the tabloids would lay out full spreads of the gallantry of the lady and the men in the midst of enemy territory.

And whilst making a public show of these detainees could have been against the Geneva Conventions, they were portrayed in places that no one could fault as being inhospitable or uncomfortable.

We, the stricter adherents of the Geneva Conventions would probably not even provide that quality of facility to those in our Western detention centres; at least, recently, we have heard more of their people being tortured and mistreated amongst us and seen lots of our people being well treated amongst them, except in Iraq of course amongst the insurgents.

However, by the time the tabloids have unravelled this saga and milked every ounce of newsworthiness out of this farce, nothing great would have been achieved for Great Britain.

The future can be bleak

In fact, the danger is if any of our people do end up trespassing in Iranian territory again; their treatment may not be as lovely as we have once seen and then a trial on the tenets of Sharia Law might just be the trigger for another poorly fought war in the Middle East.

Surely, this is all has just stripped the Great out of Great Britain; one wonders what great adventure our leaders might seek to repair the damage done, in the near future.

Welcome Home! But heroes would be too strong a word to use in any context.

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