Cheat-Seeking Missles

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Iran's Hostage Nab Fracturing Mullahland?

Is Iran together enough to manage the British hostage crisis, or are internal cracks widening under the pressure? Perhaps the latter, reports the Times of London:

THE fate of the 15 British marines and sailors held in Tehran may depend on the outcome of a power struggle between two of Iran’s top generals, write Uzi Mahnaimi and Marie Colvin.

According to an Iranian military source, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards has called for them to be freed.

Major-General Yahya Rahim Safavi is said to have told the country’s Supreme National Security Council on Friday that the situation was “getting out of control” and urged its members to consider the immediate release of the prisoners to defuse tension in the Gulf.

However, Safavi’s intervention was reportedly denounced by another senior general at a meeting of high-ranking commanders yesterday.

Yadollah Javani, the head of the Revolutionary Guards’ political bureau, was said to have accused him of weakness and “liberal tendencies”. Javani is said to have demanded that the prisoners be put on trial.

I'm not sure how the paper got the story or how accurate it is, but it very well could be dead-on because regimes as radical as Iran's are intrigue traps.

There's opportunity here to put some hurtful pressure on the cracks within the Iranian government. It'll take some very smart work by Britain and its allies, and a willingness to keep the kidnapped sailors at risk in order to keep the pressure on and not give in to the appeasers.

There are so many ways to handle a crisis like this wrong, and few ways to do it right. Let's hope.

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