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First the Italians paid millions to get its hostages out of Iraq, and now Germany appears to have done the same, despite professing strong support for refusing to negotiate with terrorists. The Guardian (UK) and Der Spiegel both report that the German government paid "a large amount of money" for the recent release of two Germans held hostage by terrorists:
Two German hostages kidnapped in Iraq arrived home yesterday as Iraq's ambassador to Germany claimed a "load of money" had been paid to secure their release.
Alaa al-Hashimi, said the German government had handed over a "large amount" to the kidnappers of René Bräunlich and Thomas Nitzschke, who were freed on Tuesday after 99 days in captivity. "Regarding the payment of ransom, I don't know. But I assume it was a large amount of money," the ambassador told Germany's ARD public television station. The Iraqi government had no part in the release, he said. ...
The engineers, from Leipzig in east Germany, were seized on January 24 outside their workplace, an Iraqi-owned detergent factory in the industrial town of Baiji, 110 miles north of Baghdad. German officials swiftly established that their captors were not holding them for political reasons. Instead they wanted to make money, diplomats said.
Asked yesterday whether Germany had paid a ransom, the foreign minister, Franz-Walter Steinmeier, said: "We will of course say nothing about the concrete details regarding their release." He thanked the US, Britain, France and "other partners in the region" for helping to get the men out after three months in "inhuman conditions".
If the intent is to stop kidnappings for ransom, then paying ransom is the one policy guaranteed to fail. As long as the Europeans insist on forking out the Danegeld, the kidnappers will continue to insist on it. If that policy only put Europeans at risk, it would be bad enough, but the kidnappers will hardly be that discriminating when it comes to foreigners working in their country. With the economic incentives supplied by the Europeans, the criminals will capture anyone and simply kill those who come from non-paying countries.
Our allies are not helping the situation. If they can't bring themselves to help -- as in the case of the Germans -- we'd appreciate it if they'd quit actively making the situation worse.Sphere It View blog reactions
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