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What's the buzz on ... the Iranian hostage situation?
Each week, CNN.com takes a look at trends in the blogosphere by tracking one topic across gender and generation. This week, we focus on the capture of 15 British sailors and marines by Iran's Revolutionary Guard on March 23, for allegedly trespassing in Iranian waters. The soldiers were held captive for nearly two weeks, before being freed and returned to the United Kingdom on April 5.

Overall opinion (March 28-April 3, 2007)


So what does this mean?
More than half of blog conversations were negative, with comments focused on Iran's use of the situation as a propaganda tool, disgust over the hostages making apologies on TV, and a perceived "weak" response from Britain. More than a quarter of the comments were neutral, based on questionable evidence and the belief that both Iran and Britain are at fault. Bloggers who posted positive comments cited mistrust of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, referring to him as "B-liar," and called the hostage situation an "inevitable" retaliation to U.S. aggression and British imperialism.

In their own words
Meteor Blades on Daily Kos
Despite assertions by both governments that no outsider has been able to independently evaluate, it is unclear, and it may remain unclear whether the British prisoners actually did cross over into Iran's territorial waters (the delineation of which is not so clear either), and whether Tony Blair (and possibly the U.S.) made some kind of deal/arrangement/bargain with Tehran to end this crisis.

McQ in a comment thread on The QandO Blog
You know, and this is just me tossing this out, I can't help but wonder if this wasn't set up to allow Ahmadinejad to soften his international image by being magnanimous and releasing them instead of using his "full power" to try them on trumped up and false charges.
I mean, they knew the Brits weren't going to do anything, and it was a perfect opportunity, especially after getting the "confessions" on tape and exacting enough humiliation, to then show the world what a nice guy he really is.

Omar Fadhil on PajamasMedia
The regime in Iran has been defiant to the demands of the international community for years now. Nejad and the Mullahs have chosen to set Iran on collision course with the world. What they need today is to convince public opinion in Iran that the west wouldn't dare attack the Islamic republic. ...

Jebuff in a comment on Chas' Compilation
Maybe, just maybe, Iran is actually doing what any country would do... defend its territory. Things are never as simple as we'd like to believe... Makes for rough going from the "black or white", "with us or against' us" crowd. So much easier to yell "Kidnapping" and run around like a headless chicken. Makes it easier to justify a bit of bombing, too.
HOW DOES THIS WORK?
CNN works with Umbria, a company that collects and analyzes millions of online opinions and review postings every day.

More about Umbria's analysis

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