Note: these are my thoughts alone and reflect no one else's opinion outside of the voices that live in my head.
I have been miserably sick for the past week, but one thing cut through the fog like a laser beam for me, and that was the taking of the US Navy boat(s)* by the IRGC this past week. Instantly, I saw CNN (my wife was watching the channel at the time, I was trying not to die of pneumonia) try intensely to spin this as "the US boats were disabled and requesting help". And instantly I did not buy it. And every single fact that we have been told since that initial spin has further put the lie to that fabrication. The Iranians first claimed they had "arrested" the US sailors. Well, you don't "arrest" someone who is having engine problems. Second, it was the IRGC that captured them. They are not the AAA of the Persian Gulf. These guys are glorified thugs who the Iranian government pretends they have no control over and use to instigate international incidents with. They're responsible for the murder of US personnel in Iraq, the seizure of a British naval vessel in 2008, and various other acts of international law breaking, and every time, the Iranian government tsks and says "we can't control these guys, what do you expect us to do about it?" Well, you could start by ceasing funding them, and taking away their arms, but since they're explicitly doing your bidding, I doubt that will ever happen.
I digress. Bottom line, the IRGC pull stunts like this, and their very involvement make me pre-judge the whole situation. My best guess is as follows:
1) The US boat(s) were in international waters.
2) The IRGC either disabled them or simply (illegally) seized them, claiming the boats were in Iranian territorial waters (within 12 nm of the Iranian coast).
3) The crew radioed about their situation to the Navy, and were told no assets were within range to defend them and were ordered to surrender.
4) The Iranians seized the sailors, and upon checking their navigational records, saw incontrovertible proof that the boat(s) were indeed in international waters, so they contacted Tehran about what to do.
5) At this point, the Iranian official international story breaks that the boat(s) were in distress and the IRGC had come to rescue them (while their domestic news kept claiming they had "arrested" the sailors). Because the navigational proof that they believed would back the claim that the US violated Iranian waters was too contrarian to even plausibly lie about.
6) The navigational records (to include GPS positions) will simply never be returned to US custody. The Iranians dare not do so (as it will prove their act of war/piracy) and the current Administration won't force the issue.
7) The commo/crypto gear was hopefully destroyed be the sailors before they were boarded, but I doubt that too, and we will never get that back either. The intel value in that stuff is simply too high for the Iranians to pass up. And the Administration will not make any noise about that either.
8) The spineless US Administration will do absolutely nothing about this, other than get the sailors back, which President Obama will crow about ceaselessly (as if it were some great accomplishment), never mind the fact that the Iranians clearly engaged in an act of war (or by the most generous definition, international piracy) against the US.
These have been my assumptions since day one. As previously mentioned, the facts have come to lend credence to each of my suspicions one by one, and I'll be shocked if this plays out any other way than I predict. What are your thoughts?
* I keep saying boat(s) because I am still not 100% clear on if it was a single US boat or two or even three of them. And frankly, my disgust with the news' attempt to paint this as an Iranian "rescue" mission from the moment this story broke has me unwilling to give them the traffic it would require for me to clarify that fact. Their credulity strains belief, and were it not for the fact that I believe they took this line to curry favor with the White House, I'd say they were in Iran's pocket for taking this line. So I'll blame their infatuation with the Administration's desire to cozy up to Iran's theocracy over their own cupidity in this case.