Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Iran: Any Link Between Two Stories?

The Iran prisoner's crisis continues apace, with the British breaking off all ties with the Islamic Republic while the Iranians appear content to call their bluff with each carefully calibrated release of yet another confession. While displaying captured military personnel on TV is clearly in breach of the Geneva Conventions, and I would not be too keen to be in the custody of the People's Revolutionary Guards - even in the full glare of the world looking on - there is something discordant in the outrage being expressed by Downing Street over the detention and treatment of the fifteen sailors. Both Terry Jones and Ronan Bennett have pointed out in The Guardian the apparent softness of the Iranian handling of their prisoners compared with the Coalition of the Willing's at Camp X=Ray and Abu Ghraib, while Bob Fisk over at the Indy has a lucid, and by no means complaisant analysis of Teheran's brinksmanship.

Meanwhile there is almost unanimous lack of interest in the story that was posted here last week (and also in the Jerusalem Post on Sunday) about a putative US missile attack on Iran on Good Friday. While the hits have been flowing into Underachievement headquarters (and quickly, out again, it must be said) in a way that has never happened before and is unlikely to again, over at the Post's message boards, many believe that it is a sick April Fool's joke. It has however been in the ether for at least a week though and it went up here last Wednesday. Which is not to say that it guaranteed true either. But if this is the case, what is it that interests Israel's premier English-language newspaper more than any other mainstream media source (including Al-Jazeera, it must be remembered)? And is the current Iranian prisoners episode only a charade to serve as a preamble to an attack on Friday?