Thursday, November 18, 2004

Damned Yankees strike again 

It's official - it's now America's fault:

"The US-led offensive on the Iraqi city of Fallujah could have been the final straw that led to the execution of CARE Australia's Baghdad chief, Margaret Hassan...

"The director of terrorism studies at the Australian National University, Clive Williams, said yesterday that negotiators in Iraq might have had a chance to secure her release if the US had held off their onslaught in Fallujah..."
But it gets a lot more complicated:

"Yesterday it emerged that Scotland Yard believed there was a genuine chance of securing Mrs Hassan's release when an unnamed group holding her threatened to hand her over to terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who has been responsible for grisly beheadings of Westerners in Iraq. Surprisingly, the Jordanian-born terrorist responded with a statement that if Mrs Hassan - who worked tirelessly to help her fellow Iraqis over 30 years - was handed over to him he would immediately release her.

"Sources close to the British-led investigation believe Mrs Hassan was never handed over to Zarqawi. It is believed she may have fallen victim to a criminal gang interested only in extortion."
If I understand it correctly, Mrs Hassan was killed by her captors because they didn't manage to pass her onto Al Zarqawi, because presumably Al Zarqawi was too preoccupied fighting Americans in Fallujah. It sounds like a bit too much wishful thinking to rely on Al Zarqawi's innate goodness to build up your hopes, but that's not the only problem here.

If a "criminal gang" was responsible for the kidnap then why did "[t]he unnamed group later [release] several videos to Al-Jazeera in which Ms Hassan pleaded for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq and the release of Iraqi women from prison"? Doesn't sound like the sort of demands that "secular" kidnappers would present.

Or if Mrs Hassan was only subsequently handed over to a "criminal gang", then why did the "criminal gang" release an execution video to Al Jazeera like all the Islamofascist groups do?

There is a further complication: "It is not known at what location she was shot but government sources have not ruled out Fallujah." But they haven't ruled out the other 99.99% of Iraq either. And if Mrs Hassan was really shot in Fallujah, then how did a "criminal gang" succeeded in smuggling the video tape to Al Jazeera through the military cordon around the city?

I don't have the investigative resources of the Scotland Yard, or the expert knowledge of Clive Williams, so I don't know the answers to these questions, but on the face of it it doesn't make much sense to me.


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