Iran Releases British Captives
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced on Iranian television today that he was "pardoning" 15 British sailors and will be releasing them Thursday to return home to their families. It was done with a bit of theater, after an Iranian diplomat seized in Iraq by unknown forces was released and returned home to Iran, and after 5 Iranian staff seized by American troops were allowed to meet with an Iranian envoy. Both Bush and Blair welcomed the news. It comes after Ahmadinejad had squeezed about as much domestic saber rattling out of the capture as he could have, and after being faced with condemnation internationally. And I'm sure they wanted to eliminate any casus belli that Bush and Blair could have used for an attack later this month.
And it comes a day after ABC News reported that Pakistan and the Cheney Administration have been supporting the activities of a Pakistani tribal group in its attacks and killings of Iranian officials inside Iran since 2005. Although the US intelligence sources confirmed to ABC that the support of Jundullah has been ongoing, they claimed that we are not providing direct financial support for the group, which has Al Qaeda ties and operates with a free hand out of the Waziristan region that the Bush Administration encouraged Musharraf to retreat from last September. But as Seymour Hersh noted several months ago, we are providing direct and indirect support to Al Qaeda-linked groups in the region who target Iran and its proxies, without Congressional knowledge or authorization, and perhaps through the sea of unaccounted American funds that have been "lost" in Iraq.