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The Fifteen: Part 3

Eleven days after Tehran abducted British soldiers at gunpoint, not only has London handed itself as a hostage to the Mahdists of Tehran and their IRGC gunmen, but also Paris, Madrid, Berlin, Rome and Moscow have joined Britain to become hostage Europe.

America, drained by the proxy war in Baghdad, now fights on alone among the powers against an inestimably cunning enemy.

The result of this defeat is that Tehran is one step closer to provoking its shooting war for supremacy over the planet. Europe is the newest captive, gun to the head, hands bound, blindfold neatly tied tight.

This is the third time Europe has submitted to tyrants in seventy years, and this time the failure is beyond farce. The first time was Europe’s disgrace at Munich in September 1938, a tragedy that murdered sixty millions.

America, battered by a decade of a broken economy, rallied to defeat Berlin’s and Tokyo’s mass murderers. The second time was Europe cowering at the Berlin blockade, in June 1948, a farcical blunder that beggared three generations of children in Eastern Europe and shackled Russia’s 300 millions to the undead Bolsheviks. America, robust and busy, again found the confidence to arm itself and fight the Reds from Berlin to Chosin to Saigon to Afghanistan in order to bury Ulyanov’s legacy in an ash heap. The third time now comes with Europe’s quivering posture before the irrational and hallucinatory mullahs of Tehran; and what is beyond farce is chaos.

London did not spend even one moment of its banked finest hours in resistance. These are Chamberlain’s grandchildren, not Churchill’s.

From the first, London sought an accommodation with Tehran, what in diplomatic clichés is known as a ladder to climb down. London offered the facts of the GPS positioning of its people as a way to call this a navigation error. Tehran countered with falsehoods of the position. London offered back-channel negotiations as a way to avoid questions. Tehran tore up the Geneva Convention and countered with televised propaganda of an abused sailor. London asked the United Nations Security Council to validate its inarguable case as a legalism to save face. Tehran countered with a film festival of isolated, deceived and threatened prisoners of war.

And now, when Tehran’s National Security Adviser Ali Larijani declared yesterday that Tehran wants "to solve the problem through diplomatic channels," Prime Minister Blair’s office, rather than decry Tehran as a naked provocateur, offers that there is a "shared desire to make early progress." This is a climb-down that in America we call copping a plea.

Britain does not kneel alone. The other European capitals have pretended to be deaf and dumb, as they were in 1938, 1948, 1956, 1968; and the EU’s foreign minister, Javier Solana, has accepted the 15 abducted Britons as part of his portfolio of appeasements.

Lone among the powers, America found the correct word when President George Bush used his radio speech to call the 15 Britons, "hostages." This sotto voce fightback spooked Tehran, and it squealed with a hollow threat from its Foreign Ministry, "The US President had better refrain from ill-considered and unreasonable comments."

Tehran, having won the battle of the 15 hostages with brazen falsehoods and a zeal to demonstrate repeatedly that it is a barbarian power that treats prisoners of war like slaves and the United Nations Security Council like a bumbling watchman, now readies itself for the gun battles ahead.

The timeline remains unpredictable. A month ago, the information was that there were months not weeks until the catastrophe. Now, after grabbing just 15 hostages, by which it has brought along Europe’s 300 millions as a hostage – all of whom must soon live under the threat of ballistic missiles tipped with nuclear warheads – Tehran may very well have accelerated its plan; and there may be only weeks left, not months.

The fact is there is no known date. The summer months are pointed to repeatedly by many sources as the optimum time for Tehran’s surrogates to launch their provocations. The aim is to bleed America and to drive it from the field both militarily and politically. Tehran knows that frustrating America in Baghdad and Kabul is not sufficient; that America is prepared to ignore the fact that the al-Maliki government is a Tehran surrogate and to camp for years in Baghdad and Anbar provinces, keeping modern-day Fort Apaches in Indian territory regardless of the worthlessness of the terrain. To defeat America, Tehran knows that it must strike at the weak points, and America has two of the most difficult to defend, Israel and the Persian Gulf.

Israel is most vulnerable and at this time without a winning answer to what Jerusalem knows is coming: an across-the-board attack by Tehran’s surrogates, Hamas in Gaza, al Aqsa on the West Bank, Hizballah in Lebanon, and the Syrians on the Golan Heights. All four of these gangs are funded, armed and directed by Tehran, with easy coordination among them supervised by IRGC special forces and espionage agents. The information is that Hizballah has been completely rearmed with Iranian short- and medium-range missiles as well as anti-aircraft, anti-tank and anti-ship missiles, and is now operating at a higher level of combat effectiveness than it was last summer. The civilian houses that conceal the rockets are rebuilt and awaiting the shoot orders.

In Gaza, Hamas is now equipped with the same arsenal as Hizballah, and is capable of striking all of the Negev region. Al Aqsa on the West Bank has unknown capabilities, but has been reported with Iranian missiles for some time. The most dangerous new element since last summer is that Syria is now tasked to retake the Golan Heights with a combination of tactics. It will use a so-called liberation group as an asymmetrical warfare unit in the neighborhood of the Golan, but it will also use its long-range Scud-like missiles that will bring Tel Aviv and Jerusalem under fire.

The Syrian battle preparation is so blatant that Damascus is concerned the IDF will launch premptive action against the storage sites. The IDF has already staged live ammo exercises on the West Bank in urban centers that resemble Damascus in order to communicate that, if and when required, the IDF will project its armor columns to the Syrian capital and hold.

In the Persian Gulf, the long-expected weapon of the IRGC will be to choke off tanker traffic, close the Arabian peninsula depots and plunge the world financial markets into free fall. There is no short-term answer to this extortion. Tehran’s plan is well known to the people of Iran, and a BBC-collected email from a woman in Tehran, Fatima, with regard the present hostage stand-off, states the imminent crisis passionately: "The present Iranian government is hell-bent on bringing destruction upon itself; and it will be us women and kids who will suffer the most; while these war-mongering mullahs will safely retire to their bunkers. A majority of us Iranians are much like you in the West. But the sad part is that we had the Islamic Revolution."

In the meantime the so-called big six, the Security Council plus Germany, prepare for war with tidy cowardice. The condemnation of Tehran for violations of the Non-Proliferation Treaty was a show of weakness, not strength, of disunity not common cause.

What is important is what the big six have done since the unanimous vote on the nuclear fuel cycle. France is absorbed with a foreordained election and awaits the inevitable in the Middle East like an altar goat. Britain, numbed by its alliance with America in Iraq and Afghanistan, has acquitted itself badly by cooperating with the abductors in Tehran but not as basely as can be expected when the Bekaa, Gaza and Golan are burning and Tel Aviv, Beirut, Damascus and Tehran are under evacuation. Germany is silent, a position that connects quietly to its anti-American prejudice, a shameless demonstration of how its wants revenge on the America that twice in the 20th Century was obliged to arrest German villainy.

Most importantly, Russia has hesitated to acquiesce to Tehran but has not acted effectively. It did acknowledge Tehran’s threat when it suddenly interrupted the Bushehr reactor deal. However, Russia has not challenged Tehran from the north, for fear the mullahs will stoke the Islamicists of Russia’s Central Asia clients. Also Russia has completely cooperated with Tehran by settling a bilateral energy deal with China.
Putin’s and Hu’s recent agreement secures the oil and gas that China must have in order to endure the Gulf shut-down, and with this China signaled Tehran that Beijing will stay out of the fight with America and Israel.

The only positive from the big six is that Moscow has told Tehran it must not destroy Israel.

America has traveled this road alone before. Europe has quit the field without fighting before. Fire alarm bells have sounded in Washington, and members of State and Congress have insisted that diplomacy and dialogue can civilize the tyrants before. Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s embassy to Beirut and Damascus, to chat with the lackeys of Tehran, is not an original act of appeasement.

There is small balm in reviewing the facts rather than raging against the willfully blind. In the spring of 1940, the Roosevelt Administration sent Under-Secretary Sumner Welles to Rome to converse with Pope Pius over a Nazi peace proposal to stop the fighting in Europe between Britain, France and Germany. "Germany is Said to Propose Peace on Basis of Old Four-Power Pact," read the New York Times headline, and a subhead promised, "General Disarming and Partial Restoration of Poland and Czech State Among 11 Points Cited as Welles Sees Pope."

On first reading today, it can sound promising and stately, and at the time there was cheer in Europe and America that somehow the blitzkrieg could be halted and a ceasefire in France and Belgium might be at hand. Then you read the third point of the eleven-point German plan and you realize why you do not negotiate with criminals.

"Recognition of absolute religious freedom, but first Germany would force all her Jews to emigrate under the direction of Britain (to Palestine), Italy (to Ethiopia) and France (to Madagascar)."

An updated version of this eleven-point peace proposal will be enroute this summer from Tehran to Europe, no doubt to be discussed soberly at the Vatican and Brussels and the United Nations Security Council. There is a strong likelihood that it will include a small rewrite of the Nazi third point. This time, the Israeli Jews are to be sent back to Germany, France, Italy and Britain. How quickly will hostage Europe agree to sign?

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Written By

John Batchelor is a novelist and the host of the John Batchelor Show on WABC in New York and KFI in Los Angeles.

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