Monday, March 26, 2007


i have no idea whether those 15 british sailors detained by iran were in iranian waters or not. and i don't know how any of the people i read over the weekend fuming about iran's actions could know either.

the bottom line is that iran is allowed to detain, question and even charge with a crime anyone who crosses its border without permission. but they're not allowed to do it to anyone who didn't cross. so the whole thing comes down to whether the british soldiers crossed or not.

aside from the sailors involved, and perhaps a few fisherman witnesses (who, incidentally, say that the brits were in iranian waters) no one has any idea which side the british boat was on. it may not have even been clear to the british sailors involved. the territorial waters between iran and iraq in the shatt al-arab has long been in dispute. it was one of the differences involved in the iran-iraq war. this has happened before. if anything it's surprising that this hasn't happened more often.

but the frothing in the rightwing press and right blogistan about the incident is really amazing given how none of the writers could possibly know the answer to that key question, which side was the british boat on. cernig does an excellent job outlining the madness.