In the spirit of religious harmony, Iranian President Ahmadinejad released fifteen British soldiers as an “Easter Gift to the British People.” Within hours after the release, thanks to an Iranian-made roadside bomb, four British soldiers, two of them women, died near Basra.
The Iranians have demonstrated their “military might” by overwhelming two unprotected pontoon boats and holding their occupants hostage. During the ordeal, the fifteen British soldiers were blindfolded, hands bound, against a wall. As the Iranians cocked their weapons behind their backs, one of the soldiers vomited, leading the others to suspect his throat had been cut. According to British crewman Simon Massey, “It was just crazy, we were sat there with our heads up against the wall, still blindfolded and handcuffed, and I just thought, that was it, that was going to be it for the 15 of us.”
The thirteen days between capture and release were humiliating for the British, as their soldiers admitted to trespass in Iranian waters and thanked Ahmadinejad for his gracious treatment and forgiveness. As they left for home the British were given gifts of CDs, vases, pistachio nuts, and Persian sweets. The entire incident did two things for Iran. First, it emphasized the lack of resolve of the British and the Americans to do anything about Iranian aggression. Second, a dangerous prisoner, Jalal Sharafi, an Iranian diplomat and member of the insurgent Quds, was released by US and Iraqi forces as part of the deal. This will play well in the Arab press.
Former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, who never minces words, described the whole affair as “a low-cost experiment for them [Iran] designed to see how tough a response they would get from Britain, Europe and, ultimately, the United States. The answer is ‘not much’. According to Bolton, “It will embolden them [Iran] to press ahead on the nuclear weapons front.”
During the cold war with the Soviet Union the phrase “aggressive containment” was coined. The United States, now governed by “soft” Democrats, could now use the same term to describe its relationship with Islamic fascists around the world. With Nancy Pelosi dancing with the Syrians in Damascus and Democrats in Congress signaling to all Islamic fascists that there is little appetite for further engagement in Iraq, it is no wonder that the Iranians feel energized. Ironically, polls indicate that the people in the Middle East who remain the most positive and supportive of the United States are the citizens of Iran, who are out of step with their leaders in this regard. Generally well-educated and freedom-loving, Iranian citizens understand the tyranny of their religious state. In Dubai the US has a diplomatic outpost to reach dissident Iranians and there is unquestionably aid money flowing from the United States to Iranians unhappy with Ahmadinejad.
Ahmadinejad stands proudly proclaiming victory while he is alienating the world community, dissidents in his own country are being financed, and the Israeli’s have their weapons cocked and ready to destroy his nuclear weapons capability before he can destroy Israel. Just as George Bush declared “Mission Accomplished” four years ago, Ahmadinejad declares it today. We’ll see who gets the last laugh.