|Pentagon criticized British for allowing sailors to be seized|
"From the Iraqi shore one can see the Iranian shore, flags aflutter. These remain extremely disputed waters. In 1975, a treaty was signed in Algiers between the shah of Iran and Saddam Hussein.
"The center of the river was supposed to be the border. Then Saddam invaded Iran in 1980. After the Iran-Iraq War that this sparked ended in 1988, and even after both Gulf wars, things remain perilously inconclusive: a new treaty still has not been signed."
"They have to. They're practically jostling one another in courteous games of surveillance, counter-surveillance and geopolitical posturing. 'We are operating very close to their territorial waters in a very confined space with a tremendous amount of traffic, be it the small dhows, be it the supertankers going up to the oil platforms,' said U.S. Navy Capt. Sterling Gilliam Jr., commander of air operations for this nuclear-powered supercarrier and its associated ships. 'The margin of error is smaller in that the space is more confined...'
"The Iranians respond professionally and courteously, Johanson said: 'Thank you very much for the information. We will move off to the starboard position. We very much appreciate the heads-up.'
"Tensions between Iran and the U.S. lie barely beneath the surface of the delicate maritime protocol...'We do worry about miscalculations,' [Vice Adm. Kevin J.] Cosgriff [commander of the Bahrain-based U.S. 5th Fleet] said. 'That's one of the reasons we want to be transparent on the radio and be talking to them a lot.'"