Iran proved to the world — and to the neighboring nations they want to intimidate — that they have little to fear from the once mighty British Navy, the 25-nation European Union, the United Nations, or the Democrat-controlled U.S. Congress.
On March 23 Iranians — operating on two speed gunboats — captured the 15 uniformed British sailors and marines as they were about to board an unidentified merchant ship, as authorized under a UN mandate, in an area south of the Shatt Al Arab waterway near the Persian Gulf mouth. The Brits had deployed from the nearby HMS Cornwall in two inflatable boats.
Using a bogus claim that the Brits illegally entered their water boundary, Iran’s terror masters took the Brits hostage. In confinement, Iranian captors blindfolded, isolated and threatened the hostages and forced several to make public confessions before cameras — in contravention of Geneva conventions and protocols which limits responses to name, rank, serial number, and date of birth.
After creating a two-week international spectacle and crisis, Iran released the captives. Many free worlders breathe a sigh of relief, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair, that the incident was resolved peacefully and diplomatically. It was, but unfortunately, at great cost.
Shortly after being released, ex-hostage and Royal Marine Captain Chris Air proclaimed, “fighting was not an option.” This is preposterous. The HMS Cornwall is a Type 22 Frigate fully capable of protecting the men and woman on the two inflatable boats. The Cornwall carries a 4.5 inch MK8 gun, Goal Keeper CIWS close in weapon systems, Sea Wolf anti-missile system, Harpoon missile launchers, two 20mm close range guns, Lynx MK8 helicopter armament, anti-ship missiles, and one of the most sophisticated command and control communications systems on water. Its captain knew the Iranian gunboats were approaching and could have blown them out of the water in a moment from a distance but chose to not do so — apparently in deference to UN and British government non-military action rules of engagement with Iran.
The European Union — which likes to cast itself as a major arbiter of global problems (often at U.S. expense) — did little to resolve this crisis. As a member state, Great Britain asked the EU to threaten to freeze exports to Iran, estimated at $18 billion annually, and EU leadership refused. It obviously preferred to retain its status as Iran’s No. 1 trading partner. It is not inconsequential that Iran’s shaky economy is highly dependent on European credits, trade, and technology. Among Europeans, Germany is Iran’s biggest trading partner and defender.
The 15-nation United Nations Security Council — tasked by the UN Charter with maintaining international peace and security and dispensing appropriate punishment in the form of military action or economic sanctions — demonstrated the proclivity to once again gridlock. A British request for a tough resolution against Iran for its hostage-taking was blocked by Permanent 5 member, Russia, who is heavily invested in development of Iran’s nuclear program and Security Council Chair, South Africa, who just happens to be a fellow member of Iran in the Soviet-era 114-nation non-aligned movement. Two other permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and France, also have significant economic ties with Iran. Today, the Islamic Republic refuses to accept UN Security Council resolutions to stop nuclear enrichment.
The U.S. Congress — currently under control of the Democrat Party for the first time since 1994 — displayed an enormous amount of ignorance and arrogance on the crisis. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to allow a floor vote on a resolution supporting the British government and hostages. While the crisis flared she traveled overseas — and over the objections of President Bush and met and discussed her “peace at any price” version of U.S. foreign policy with the leader of Iran’s chief Middle East ally, Syria’s Assad.
President Bush firmly condemned the taking of hostages, and offered American support to the British people and their hostages.
During the dark days leading to World War II, many European and American leaders mistakenly thought they could bargain with, or isolate their countries from, sinister forces threatening mankind. Their failure to recognize right from wrong, and good from evil, prevented them from promptly acting collectively against that gathering threat. As a result, 60 million died, including 6 million Jews.
The free world will pay a heavy price if it doesn’t effectively confront, and punish, Iran for its actions. Since gaining power in 1979, the Islamic Republic has become the most active state sponsor of terror. It provides extensive funding, support and weapons to terror groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. It attempts to undermine the new freely-elected government in Iraq and by providing sophisticated weaponry to terrorists and insurgents. And today, it continues to ignore international community efforts to curtail its nuclear weapons development program.
With the dark cloud of Iran’s brand of Islamic terrorism hovering over the world today, another generation of appeasers, pacifists and isolationists clamor incessantly for diplomatic solutions to this global threat — even if it means cutting deals with untrustworthy terror masters in places like Iran and Syria and maintaining the status quo in the freedom-deprived Middle East region. According to the late Gen. Douglas MacArthur, such behavior "begets new and bloodier war." It has already resulted in substantial spilling of innocent blood. How much more will be shed before the world stands up to the Iranian terror masters?