Wednesday, January 14

Embassy Security in Iran - The Lesson Not Learned

I recently finished reading 'Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam' about the Iran hostage crisis at the birth of the current Iranian regime. One thing that is clear by the end of the book is that the best way to deal with Iran is to keep ourselves isolated from them.

Negotiations for the release of the hostages was an ongoing joke as the Iranians constantly changed their demands, always demanding more once the US Government demonstrated that it was willing to deal in order to win the freedom of the US Embassy staff being held hostage.

This pattern of disingenuous negotiation was recently re-confirmed as still a valid tactic of the Iranian Government. This, after years of negotiations between the European Union and Iran over their nuclear program ended with Iran boasting that they had been using the negotiations as a way to delay any sort of action against them, thus giving them time to safely advance the project.

Also confirmed recently was the Iranian people's ability to still act as agents of their Government while at the same time acting in a way that the Government can deny any involvement. This happened at the end of December when protesters stormed a UK Diplomatic compound in Tehran. This is exactly how the US hostage crisis started. The only reason this did not turn into a hostage situation was because it did not appear to be their goal, but it certainly could have been.

In short, the Iranians are the same thugs and are capable of the same acts as thirty years ago. Unfortunately, the US, UK and other Western Governments still have yet to adapt to deal with them. There was even recent talk of re-establishing diplomatic relations and re-opening the US Embassy in Iran.

The question is why is the US bothering given the still valid threat?

Iranian protestors wave a Palestinian flag before breaking into the British diplomatic residence known as 'Golhak Garden' in north Tehran to protest against London's stance towards the Israeli onslaught on Gaza(AFP) - Yahoo News
Iran is not the only place where US Embassies are at risk of a similar occupation. Another question is whether or not the US is prepared to use lethal force the next time five, ten, a hundred 'protesters' come jumping over an Embassy wall.

Hundreds of Iranians storm British compound in Tehran over Gaza attacks - TimesOnline
Obama Promises Bush III on Iran - WSJ

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1 comment:

Consul-At-Arms said...

Two points.

First, there is what I sometimes cynically call the "full employment for ambassadors" program. There's what seems to me sometimes to be an unseemly haste to open or re-open embassies in places where perhaps we have no business being, or before before it's reasonable and prudent or perhaps not really best in U.S. interests to do so. And there's always a reluctance to close (temporarily or otherwise) an embassy when things start to go to Hell. While Churchill was right ("jaw-jaw is better than war-war"), first questions should be asked first, to wit: Is it in the best interests of the United States to open/re-open its embassy in Country X at this time and why?

Second, with only very few exceptions, U.S. diplomatic facilities really aren't designed to function as fire bases, holding off human waves of attackers using cleared fields of fire, &tc. Neither are their security staffs; even where we have U.S. Marines ("No better friend, no worse enemy.") there simply aren't enough of them. Under the Vienna Conventions, the host nation is responsible for ensuring the safety and security of foreign diplomatic missions. Our own security arrangements, both physical and otherwise, are intended only to delay or obstruct an attack to allow the host nation time to respond and increase its protective measures.

What should be obvious (but is apparently not) is that when the host nation uses "spontaneous demonstrations" as a means of communicating its displeasure with the United States (countries like Iran, China, Syria, and Serbia come immediately to mind) then this system breaks down. Hell, it's not really broken in such cases, it's being used against us in a form of international lawfare. That's when you've got to constantly be re-visiting your first questions (see above).

I've quoted you and linked to you here: