Things are getting very interesting around the issue of the 15 British sailors arrested by Iran. The British government (especially criminal-at-large Blair) has after much saber rattling provided the GPS coordinates of its ship along with a map showing maritime boundaries that seem to contradict Iran’s claim. Unless you have been in a coma for the past five years, or you have a doorknob’s grasp of world history, you should not believe a world that comes out of London. These people have lied, raped, murdered, and stolen from one end of the globe to the other. So, what is the truth, or the truth as best as an average Joe or Jane can determine?
One place to look is the website of Craig Murray, a former British ambassador. By the way, Mr. Murray was forced out of his diplomatic post by Blair’s goons because he was too critical of the Uzbek dictator who was boiling his opponents to death! Anyway, Mr. Murray and later other bloggers have pointed out some basic problems with the British claim. None of these points are mentioned in Western media, which in line with their obedient tradition, have wholeheartedly swallowed the official BS.
First, Iran and Iraq have not agreed on any maritime boundaries outside of Shat-al-Arab. Maps showing boundaries drawn by US and Britain are not even good enough for wiping your back side in case of emergency! Second, in the absence of formal agreements between countries, the boundary is set by a line crossing points equidistant to the nearest land positions in both countries. Third, Blair’s government asserts that the boundaries were confirmed with the Iraqi government. Talk about a case of the fox using his tail as his witness! Shouldn’t Iran confirm the boundary too? Fourth, the British map mentions that the “positions [are] for illustrative purposes.” Does that mean that we ought to not take the maps seriously? An fifth and MOST IMPORTANTLY, both Blair and his master Bush are in hot water domestically. They need a distraction. They need a war even though the military and diplomats in Britain and US are against it.
Well as Mr. Murray and point out, if we were to go by the standard practice of marking the line midway between the closest land positions in Iran and Iraq, we would come to the conclusion that the incident happened within Iran’s maritime boundaries. However, there is an argument against this. Some supporters of the British position have pointed out that the boundary must be marked at low tide and not high tide. Well, that sounds reasonable. Yet, there is no maps showing the coastline at low tide. The assertion by these people is that the standards maps available show the coastline at high tide. I haven’t found any other maps on the web or in my local bookstore/library. I did find an interesting tidbit though. As this article on BBC points out, the Persian Gulf is an ‘amphidrome’. Because of geographic peculiarities, the Persian Gulf does not experience a large variation in water level between the tides. This is not unique to the Persian Gulf and happens elsewhere also. So, it seems that the maps do show the correct coast line and Mr. Murray is correct about his conclusion.
The British sailors had illegally entered Iranian waters. They were correctly arrested by Iran’s military forces. They should be detained until Britain apologizes, retracts the resolution that it forced down UN’s throat, and compensates Iran. And since Britain is sidekick to US, Iran should demand the release of its five diplomats who were illegally detained by US forces in exchange. And as I mentioned in a previous posting, it is despicable that Iran’s government is parading these sailors on TV. No doubt had the situation been reversed, Britain and US may have labeled the Iranian sailors as ‘armed combatants’, locked them up in a gulag, and perhaps tortured them too. But we have a richer tradition than that, and should not stoup down to their level.