New York Post - Seized illegally, 15 British sailors and Royal Marines are hostages in Iran. Thanks, Speaker Pelosi.
It’s amazing that Big Mediahasn’t made the obvious connection between the congressional Democrats long- promised move to hand over the keys to Iraq to al Qaeda and the decision by Iranian hardliners to bolster their position within Iran by grabbing those Brits.
The Iranians didn’t even wait for the final vote count. The rhetoric in the wake of the turnover in Congress was sufficient to convince them that Washington is ready to bail out of Iraq. The extremists in Tehran want to push us out of the Persian Gulf, as well.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his faction have been losing ground internally, but they hope a confrontation with the West will unite the people of Iran behind them. The Revolutionary Guards weren’t ready to take on U.S. forces directly, but they felt confident they could get away with grabbing Brits - and so far, they’ve been proven right.
Iran’s hardliners watch our actions closely. Sometimes they read the smoke signals correctly, sometimes they don’t. They calculated that Prime Minister Tony Blair is now so weak that he wouldn’t dare retaliate. Furthermore, they figured that the Bush administration has been pushed onto the defensive by Congress and wouldn’t move to aid our main ally.
What the coming days will hold depends upon the political algebra in Tehran and London, Washington and Baghdad, Brussels and even Moscow.
But the one thing that cannot be disputed is that, without the congressional moves to impose a withdrawal date for U.S. forces in Iraq, the Iranian regime would never have grown so bold. In Middle Eastern warfare, a classic tactic has been to retreat in the face of strength, but to attack when your enemy withdraws or shows signs of weakness. That is exactly what the Iranians are doing.