Thursday, April 05, 2007

What IRI Gained from Capturing the UK Sailors

Ask an average Iranian, if he or she would like to see an Iran without the mullahs, but instead as a secular democratic country, and most probably he or she would jump with joy and say 'more than anything else'. Ask the same person, if he or she would like to do anything about it and the answer would most probably be "there is nothing we can do, its a waste of time, they are too strong and too shrewd"

This image of invincibility has been cultivated carefully by the mullahs for over 28 years now. Islamic Republic's top priority is to make sure the Iranian people become disappointed, hopeless, indifferent and accept the clerical rule as their only alternative.

I recall only on three occasions, in the last three decades, when the Islamic Republic's image of invincibility showed visible signs of crack. First time was just before Reagan became president and the mullahs had to release the US hostages in return for absolute zilch! Second time was when the regime was becoming bankrupt as a result of unnecessarily prolonging the war with Iraq, and Khomeini said having to sign the peace treaty was like "drinking a poison chalice". Finally the third occasion, was in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attack, when Islamic Republic was desperately trying to get behind the negotiating table with America and the faithful during the Friday prayers were specifically told, for the first time, not to shout Death to America.

I see the way this saga of the captured UK sailors has unfolded as yet another feather in the invincibility arrow of the Islamic Republic. This is the biggest gain for the mullahs from all this affair. Once again they showed the Iranian people that even the major military powers are feeble in confronting the regime, so what chance have the ordinary Iranians got against them?

Iranians saw images of the Royal Marine officers, apologizing time and time again for having entered 400 metres into Iranian waters, jumping about and acting like school girls, ruffling each others hair when they heard the news that they are about to be released, and then bending over backwards thanking Ahmadi-Nejad for his hospitality. Iranians saw images of Ahmadi-Nejad telling off a UK sailor, not to cover the camera when he is shaking hands with him, and the Marine, then re-adjusting himself like a scared school boy in front of a headmaster.

UK news channels interviewed the mums and dads of these sailors, with mums talking about how much they are looking forward to cuddling and pampering their little boys and telling them off for having been such a naughty boy.

Hardly the same image of a military power that stood up for her citizens in the Falkland Islands, thousands of miles away, two decades ago.

In today's UK politics, it may be all this political correctness, being apologetic and portraying a soft image that wins the votes, but in Iran and in the Middle East, it is still power and powerful personalities that attract. Of all the articles I have read so far in the UK press, that have tried to weigh the pros and cons of this affair, none seemed to understand how much the Islamic regime has gained from further cultivating its image of invincibility to the Iranian masses and how helpful the undignified demeanour of the British sailors was for this goal.

19 comments:

C.H. said...

Unless they have satellite, the Iranians inside Iran saw extremely little of this whole thing. And maybe it was meant for the part of the population who could afford and have risked having dishes.

What I see, is the regime showing the world (especially the democrats in Washington who must be thrilled) that diplomacy works and that the regime will respond favorably to it, so instead of sanctions and bombs, be diplomatic with Iran and good things may happen. Diplomacy of course is a great tool if you're trying to buy time and the regime wants as much time as possible.

C.H. said...

Also, they got to raise the price of oil and in the end, show the world just have reasonable and NICE and generous they can be.


(now I'll go puke)

Azarmehr said...

C.H.

In terms of what IRI gained for their overseas market, What you correctly point out is absolutely true. However your point was covered in many of the articles I read in the UK press, and many of IRI's front men, like Pirooz Mojtahedzadeh, were quick to point this out and even link it to the nuclear stand off.

What I was pointing out however, was what IRI gained in front of its domestic market, which was a point not covered in these articles.

The images I talk about were shown on Iranian TV and on its Arabic channel Al-Alam. In fact if you watched them on BBC or CNN, you would see the Persian subtitles.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was interesting that at least two of the captured sailors, shown at the rhs of the picture in your post, did not join the others in the undignified reactions you talk about.

More shall be revealed in the next coming days as to what was really going on behind the scenes.

Tariq Khan said...

No one can mess with the government of Allah :)
Anyone fighting Allah will be doomed.

plateau said...

Based on what I heard from someone in Iran last night, apparently, quite a few people in Iran always knew that the sailors and marines were going to be released. Mullahs are more popular outside of Iran than in Iran (people often judge by foreign governments' actions not just words) & that has been sending a very wrong message to Iranian people.

Bardia said...

با درود
همانطورکه اشاره کرده اید و بهتر است بگویم بسیار شفاف تر از نگاه یک ایرانی داخل کشور،این خیمه شب بازی بیشتر مصرف داخلی داشت تا خارجی، البته پیامدهای بین المللی ناگواری داشت و خواهد داشت ولی اینگونه بازیها با سازمان ملل و اعضای آن تنها و تنها یک چیز را برای مردم یادآوری می کند و آن هم به رخ کشیدن قدرت دروغین این دولت و دولتهای بزرگ است که چگونه در سیاستهای خود عقب نشینی می کنند و به قول عامیانه از جمهوری اسلامی می ترسند. این کش و واکش ها ثمری جز بقای این دولت نامشروع نخواهد داشت

serendip said...

Apparently Iran has extracted everything it wanted from the 15 British sailors it took hostage.

Confessions from the sailors? Check!

Submission to wearing a hijab, in the case of the female captive? Check!

Behind-the-scenes concessions from Britain? Who knows. (My wild guess?: Check!)

Loss of British prestige and honor? Check!

A propaganda coup for Iran in dealing with its own people? Check!

Negative consequences for seizing sailors in Iraqi waters and violating the Geneva Convention? Uh, no.

So it worked out well for Iran, then.

Expect more of the same, and worse, from Iran in the future. This was only a preview of coming attraction.

Have you read Vali Nasr and Ray Takiyah's delusional op-ed in Washington Post? It's a hoot!

Azarmehr said...

I haven't read them yet but I can imagine how those two idiots would play right in the hand of the Islamic Republic.

Peter Risdon said...

Bang on, as usual. Note, though it's small consolation, that the three on the right in the photograph are not playing this game.

Hanif Leylabi said...

More nationalist claptrap. Most Iranians are behind the government on this issue and do not see it has a victory for the Mullahs but Iran's national integrity.

You would gladly see Iran weakened and invaded so you can go back and exploit the cheap labour!

richie said...

they gained nothing

Azarmehr said...

Hanif, If Iranians supported this move then why didnt they come out in large numbers to demonstrate outside the UK embassy?? I suppose you and SWP think Haj Bakhshi and the Baseejis who were organised to throw stones at UK embassy were, as the Western media called them, Iranian students or do you consider Haj Bakhshi, the leader of the Iranian Proletariat? :)))

Azarmehr said...

Hanif,
Hope you can read Persian
http://www.peiknet.com/1386/12farv/19/page/32taleh.htm

Farid said...

Presumably the SWP thinks Iranian teachers living under poverty line who are arrested and beaten for wanting better wages are not being exploited as cheap labour.

Presumably SWP thinks masses of Iranian workers who have not been paid their wages in months are not being exploited as cheap labour.

Hanif, Go back and Live in Iran. Why are you living and exploiting the benefits of life in Britain?

Bahramerad said...

In answer to the two proposition that you have postulated, I believe that the Iranian people as a whole are very wise, calculating and crafty and the experience of the last 35 years have thought them only one lesson. EVERYBODY on their own and EVERYBODY LOOKING AFTER THEIR OWN BACON. LITERARY. As long as the state does not mess with them and lets them get on with lying and cheating and putting one over the next guy they come on to, whether in the street driving or at work grafting, they do not care what happens to the mullahs. As long as they have a house and their children are somehow 'EDUCATED' either in Iran or have the means to send them abroad they will tolerate any amount of shit from these mullah's. All they are really interested are having enough money.
And those that cannot compete in this dog eat dog style of living can get lost abroad or disappear into jails and be banished into life of misery. ONE UP MAN SHIP is the name of the game. and as long as These 20 per cent can fill their pockets, to hell with the rest of community. This unfortunately is what has become of Iranian society. What a Shame.

Steve M said...

Blair warned that the situation would become 'critical' if the captured personnel were not released within 48 hours. Iran released the hostages one day later.

The British sailors were indeed gathering intelligence on Iranian activities in the Gulf (albeit limited) but were freed anyway.

These are two elements of the saga that would embarrass the Iranian regime and show weakness. I can't understand why this hasn't been pushed forward by our government.

Bahramerad said...

In answer to the two proposition that you have postulated, I believe that the Iranian people as a whole are very wise, calculating and crafty and the experience of the last 35 years have thought them only one lesson. EVERYBODY on their own and EVERYBODY LOOKING AFTER THEIR OWN BACON. LITERARY. As long as the state does not mess with them and lets them get on with lying and cheating and putting one over the next guy they come on to, whether in the street driving or at work grafting, they do not care what happens to the mullahs. As long as they have a house and their children are somehow 'EDUCATED' either in Iran or have the means to send them abroad they will tolerate any amount of shit from these mullah's. All they are really interested are having enough money.
And those that cannot compete in this dog eat dog style of living can get lost abroad or disappear into jails and be banished into life of misery. ONE UP MAN SHIP is the name of the game. and as long as These 20 per cent can fill their pockets, to hell with the rest of community. This unfortunately is what has become of Iranian society. What a Shame.

Hanif Leylabi said...

Azarmehr - Maybe they didn't feel strongly enough to demonstrate. But you know that on national integrity issues they are in support of the gvt.

I can read Farsi but don't speak it properly so can't understand that.

Farid - Of course I think they are living under exploitation. That's why I do not support them. I'm sure Azarmehr here wouldn't mind if they were being exploited by non religious, clean shaven Persians!

Farid - why would we think that? Stop talking crap. I was born in the UK Farid so again, think before you speak.