Feeds

Were the snatched Brit sailors in 'disputed waters'?

Renewed Iran matelot-napping brouhaha dissected

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Analysis Last week, the Times obtained an MoD document relating to the Iran sailors seizure fracas last year. It was heavily redacted, but there was a paragraph left which referred to the well-known fact that part of the maritime boundary between Iraqi and Iranian waters has never been agreed by Iran.

The Times ran this under the headline "Report reveals Iran seized British sailors in disputed waters". This was widely picked up by other media, who went further - for instance the Guardian, under the headline "Bordering on Deceit" with a strap: "Last year we were told that British naval officers were indisputably in Iraqi waters. If only we had been more sceptical".

Actually, a lot of people were at the time, pointing out that the last time Iran agreed to a border with Iraq was in 1975 - and that border ran only to the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab waterway which divides the two countries. How, these people asked, could there be an agreed border out at sea when the Iranians had never signed up to one? How, in other words, could the UK Ministry of Defence be so positive that its people hadn't infringed on Iranian territory?

The MoD didn't help itself much on this, issuing a heavily simplifed map:

MoD's map of events.

This, which shows the coastline in ordinary landlubber map style at the high-water mark, has a Territorial Waters (TTW) line clearly drawn on. But, as the Times' MoD document said:

The last agreed demarcation (1975 Algiers Accord) delineated TTW along the Shatt al Arab only. At no juncture have TTW been settled beyond the mouth of this river.

For anyone who'd like to read the released document in all its redacted glory, be our guest (Word doc): we thought we'd get a copy of our own and read the whole thing before mouthing off.

So - bang to rights. The MoD (and Defence Minister Des Browne) was lying. There was and is no territorial line beyond the river mouth.

But hold on. On the Reg defence desk we're always up for a bit of MoD bashing, but in this case Her Majesty's officers and mandarins are only really guilty of failing to explain themselves properly.

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
APPLE FAILS to ditch class action suit over ebook PRICE-FIX fiasco
Do not pass go, do cough (up to) $840m in damages
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.