One says "We did not make any deals for the release of the prisoners", all stern and unrepentant, and the other says, "We recognize your heathen infidel holiday by... presenting you a 4-month late Christmas gift.." What the fuck is going on here?
There was no threat of war over this. Both of these muffinheads were caught with their pants down. Georgie Porgy, drools with righteousness: C'mon, Ted, lemme bomb them back to the Holy Land, or whatever. TB: They're my guys, you ninny, this isn't Rambo III.
What seems to have precipitated this whole mess is Ahmed's rightfully paranoid military. Maybe the Brits really did have their GPS trained to follow the curves of that hottie in Ordnance. Or maybe they really were one toke on the Jersey, er, Iraqi side, which is a damn sight from Liverpool anyway, and Rahim at the base said Fuck it, let's nab 'em and let the boss sort it out. Shoulda stayed at the university. Next thing you know, it's fresh faces everywhere: some being saved and some being sucked. Surely Ahmed was having a good time showing Private Benjamin, or whatever her name is, the mysterious Oriental thrills of My First Hijab? You bet. But the fun never lasts in the Strait of Hormuz (close enough). So Ahmed says, Sure, these guys could learn how to slaughter a sheep on their terrace first thing in the morning like all good kaffir should, but do I really want them soiling my nice couches?
But he can't just give them away. Better to wrap them up in old fashioned magnanimity, think noblesse obligé meets The Godfather. Here's an offer you can't refuse: what you were asking for in the first place. And no one has to argue semiotics and topology about who was where on the night of the 23rd. We can all go home and have some kefta like normal people.
I think this came up in an episode of Deep Space Nine. In Sisko's closing line, he admonishes the Cardassian for conducting "scientific research" within reach of three Bajoran islands, or some such. Maybe it's this? http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Captive_Pursuit Whatever. I'm not quite that geeky, apparently.