By Rowan Wolf of Uncommon Thought Journal
The headline reads “US rejects Iran captives exchange.” My initial response was “Why is the US doing rejecting a captive exchange”? My second thought was, “not those hostages”. Yes, Iran has asked for the five Iranian Consulate staff seized by the from Irbil, Kirkuk in January, 2007. You may recall that Bush had approved an attack on the Iranian Consulate in Kirkuk.
Why did it take from March 23rd to March 31st for the issue at play in the holding of 15 UK sailors to be brought to light? Iran’s arrest of 15 UK sailors has largely been painted as a “provocative” move by Iran. Presented as another “crazy” move by Ahmadinejad. However, now a totally different issue arises.
In January, more than two months ago, the US raids a recognized Iranian Consulate in Kirkuk, Iraq. Along with taking computers and files, the US military also takes into custody, five staff people from the Consulate. Kirkuk and Iran issue a protest and a demand for the release of the captive consulate staff. The US claims they are part of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard al-Qods force, and refuse to release them.
We can imagine what has happened in the ensuing time. Through back channels and intermediaries, Iran has continued to demand the release of their five consulate staff. The US has denied or ignored the requests – through back channels and intermediaries as the US won’t talk to Iran. Instead, the US decided to launch massive “war games off the coast of Iran.” However, they were not seen as games by Iran.
Iran ups the ante by taking their own hostages as a negotiating chip for their consulate staff.
It even makes sense that they would arrest UK personnel rather than US military – who are surely in and near Iran. The US would take the capture of US personnel as a directly hostile move and a legitimation of retaliatory strikes. Bush seems to just be waiting for the opportunity to legitimate his “tactical” nuclear war against Iran. Instead, they arrest UK personnel, where any action to be taken is by the UK. In fact, if the US utilizes this as the opportunity to attack, it will make the UK look very bad indeed. One might even say it would preempt the UK’s sovereignty and be “emasculating” of their national honor and rights.
Suddenly, this very public action by Iran takes on a very canny sense. They are also making clear to the world that the UK sailors are being well cared for. For all that their statements may be coerced, the videos show them to be intact and in good shape. I am relatively sure that Iran has no such assurance about their five captive consulate staff. Regardless, the presentation of the UK sailors (while protested by the UK) is a very public statement that undermines a military response to the situation.
What has happened (or is happening) to the five consulate staff who were captured by the US? Why isn’t the corporate press or our Congress asking the Bush administration to report on the status of these high visibility captives? Will they ask now that Iran’s hostage negotiations have become public – at least public in the UK?