Thursday, April 5, 2007
Were they hostages? I suppose anyone who is held against his will by someone demanding something from someone else is a hostage. What was Iran demanding? An apology from Great Britain that its sailors and marines were illegally in Iranian waters, I guess, and other mea culpas maybe going back to the Crusades. Whatever.
With near universal GPS gizmos in military use I suppose it is known whether or not the "hostages" (or unfortunate "victims of a misunderstanding that could be resolved" *) were actually in Iranian waters. But it seems to be a "he said - he said" situation and we may never know for certain.
Who cried Uncle first? Did Blair's patience and pressure win the day or did Britain show a lack of strength by not blasting Iran off the map, presumably with US help? Did Ahmadinejad fear devastation to Iranian economy, if not the country itself, if he continued to hold the prisoners hostage? Did he feel he had made the Brittish grovel long enough? Or did someone make him an offer he couldn't refuse?
I'm hoping it was the later but I wish the offer had been made sooner. The hostages with images of recent beheadings in their minds must have been near frantic with fear.
By Ahmadinejad's grandstanding oratory yesterday, he seems to feel that his magnanimous "gift" to the show him to be a diplomatic of the first order and not a thug that the western world knows him to be. We remember the other Iranian hostages who spent over a year in Iranian hospitality before being "gifted" back to the United States in 1981. Ahmadinijad was involved in that little escapade as well. They got away with it then and they got away with it now.
When will the next hostage taking be?
*President Bush was chastised for using the term "hostage" by a former Director of News for the British Foreigh Service, John Williams.