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A Sensible Way out of the Growing Crisis in the Gulf?

Barry Lando: A former British Ambassador suggests an obviously neat exit from the crisis--but is anyone listening?
 
 
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Former British Ambassador Craig Murray has suggested what would seem to be a sensible solution to the spiraling crisis in the Gulf: The Brits simply admit that the maritime boundaries are not at all clear in the Gulf; therefore both sides may have grounds for believing their positions are correct. Only problem is it’s hard to imagine Tony Blair being willing to take that route.

Here are some excerpts from Murray:

“There is no agreed maritime boundary between Iraq and Iran in the Persian Gulf. Until the current mad propaganda exercise of the last week, nobody would have found that in the least a controversial statement.

“Let me quote, for example, from that well known far left source Stars and Stripes magazine, October 24 2006.

‘Bumping into the Iranians can’t be helped in the northern Persian Gulf, where the lines between Iraqi and Iranian territorial water are blurred, officials said.

“No maritime border has been agreed upon by the two countries,” Lockwood said.’

“That is Royal Australian Navy Commodore Peter Lockwood. He is the Commander of the Combined Task Force in the Northern Persian Gulf.

“I might even know something about it myself, having been Head of the Maritime Section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 1989 to 1992, and having been personally responsible in the Embargo Surveillance Centre for getting individual real time clearance for the Royal Navy to board specific vessels in these waters.

“As I feared, Blair adopted the stupid and confrontational approach of publishing maps ignoring the boundary dispute, thus claiming a very blurred situation is crystal clear and the Iranians totally in the wrong. This has in turn notched the Iranians up another twist in their own spiral of intransigence and stupidity.

“Both the British and the Iranian governments are milking this for maximum propaganda value and playing to their respective galleries. Neither has any real care at all for either the British captives or the thousands who could die in Iran and Basra if this gets out of hand. ….

Barry Lando, a former 60 Minutes producer, is the author of "Web of Deceit: The History of Western Complicity in Iraq from Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush." He also blogs at Barrylando.com.

 
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