Former British ambassador Craig Murray points out , the British seem to have faked a maritime boundary.
The British Ministry of Defense has released coordinates where fifteen British sailors and marines were picked up by Iranians after searching a merchant ship:
......"As shown on the chart, the merchant vessel was 7.5 nautical miles south east of the Al Faw Peninsula and clearly in Iraqi territorial waters. Her master has confirmed that his vessel was anchored within Iraqi waters at the time of the arrest. The position was 29 degrees 50.36 minutes North 048 degrees 43.08 minutes East.”
The distance from the given position to Iraqi land is considerably larger than that to Iranian land.
Which leads to the obvious question. On what basis are the British asserting that the line they painted in their graphic is indeed the "Iraq / Iran Territorial Water Boundary."
These maritime boundaries are under dispute.
If one would use a maritime boundary defined by equidistance from the Iraqi and Iranian coastlines, as is commonly (see Art.7) done in such cases – then the merchant vessels position as given by the British themselves would then have been well in Iranian waters.
CONDENSED FROM: Blair's Faked Border
- ALSO -
Brits in the Gulf and a Doctored British Map? - UPDATED
Former British Ambassador Craig Murray is now challenging the legitimacy of the map just published by the British government in the current dispute with Iran over those 15 captured British sailors and marines.
The British Government has published a map showing the coordinates of the incident, well within an Iran/Iraq maritime border. "But there are two colossal problems.
"A) The Iran/Iraq maritime boundary shown on the British government map does not exist. It has been drawn up by the British Government. Only Iraq and Iran can agree their bilateral boundary, and they never have done this in the Gulf, only inside the Shatt because there it is the land border too. This published boundary is a fake with no legal force.
"B) Accepting the British coordinates for the position of both HMS Cornwall and the incident, both were closer to Iranian land than Iraqi land. Go on, print out the map and measure it. Which underlines the point that the British produced border is not a reliable one.
When I spoke with the former Ambassador he told me how dumbfounded he is by the way in which the mainstream media continues to treat this dispute.
The BBC for instance has already interviewed a supposed expert regarding the map, who vouched for its authenticity. Turns out the expert had been referred to the BBC by the British Ministry of Defense--who also turned out the plan.
Captured Marines (Again)
Sadly, but perhaps predictably, both the British and Iranian governments are now acting like idiots.
Tony Blair has of course never been known for his expertise in the Law of the Sea.
Commodore Lambert, the Royal Navy Commander:
......"There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that they were in Iraqi territorial waters. Equally, the Iranians may well claim that they were in their territorial waters. The extent and definition of territorial waters in this part of the world is very complicated".
That is precisely right - the boundary has never been fixed. The existence of this dispute will clearly be indicated on HMS Cornwall's charts, which are in front of Commodore Lambert, but not of Mr Blair.
Until a boundary is agreed, you could only be certain that the personnel were in Iraqi territorial waters if they were within twelve miles of the coast and, at the same time, more than twelve miles from any island, spit, bar or sandbank claimed by Iran (or Kuwait).
That is very hard to judge as the British government refuse to give out the coordinates where the men were actually captured.
Setting a boundary is done by negotiation or arbitration. I have participated in these negotiations, for example on the boundary between the Channel Islands and France.
......In practice, you agree a series of triangulation points on both coastlines and do a geometric triangulation exercise to find a line running out from the coast. The rules permit you to take into account the general trend of the coastline, and even the angle of the land border. Those are not problems of geometry but old fashioned horse trading.
......Massive volumes have been written on the prinicples behind these negotiations, but they tend to ignore the fact that ultimately it has to come down to political negotiating skills between a vast range of justifiable possible agreements.
Anyway, the UK was plainly wrong to be ultra provocative in disputed waters.
......They would be allowed to enter Iranian territorial seas in hot pursuit of terrorists, pirates or slavers, but not to carry out other military operations.
The Iranians had a right to detain the men if they were in seas legitimately claimed as territorial by Iran. It is arguable that if a government makes a claim of sovereignty it rather has to enforce it, possession being nine parts of international law.
But now the Iranian government is being very foolish, and itself acting illegally, by not releasing the men having made its point.
The Iranian government, by continuing to hold the British personnel, are foolishly providing new impetus to Bush and Blair. We don't need any more oil wars.
If Blair actually sought the release of our people, rather than anti-Iranian propaganda, he would stop making stupid macho noises and give an assurance that we intend to resolve not only this problem but all disagreements with Iran by peaceful means, and give specific reassurance that no attack is imminent.
But if the Iranian government wait for Blair to behave well, the marines will rot for ever. They should let the men (and woman) go now, with lots of signs of friendship, thus further wrongfooting Bush and Blair.
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