NetWar: The French Hostages & The Syrian Connection

Contents Letter From Paris

Contents Letter From Paris

Wednesday, October 06, 2004


The French Hostages & The Syrian Connection

A dramatic development has taken place in the murky affair of the two French journalists kidnapped in Iraq 45 days ago. François Bayrou, president of the UDF party (center-right), who met French Prime minister Raffarin yesterday, said that the Prime minister acknowledged to political party leaders that his government "did not rule out the possibility of the presence of the two French hostages in Syria."

While confusion continues to grow regarding the location of the hostages, it seems that the French now believes they could be in the hands of some Syrian service. What nobody says publicly is whether they were originally kidnapped by the Syrians or if these just “bought” them from their captors, who could belong to one of the dozens mafia-like groups that kidnap foreigners to re-sell them to al-Quaeda.

According to sources quoted in the French newspapers, the Syrians would have wanted to avenge France’s voting at the United Nations in favor of the US sponsored 1557 resolution, calling for Syria to end its occupation of Lebanon. The good news is that the hostages could be now closer to being set free, since France could use the very traditional diplomatic channels between states to put some pressure on Damascus. The bad news is that, in all cases, if the Syrian connection is proved, France will have to reconsider all its policy in the Middle East, based on appeasement, siding with Arafat in the Israelo-Palestinian conflict, and refusing to acknowledge the very existence of “rogue states”. An even more ominous scenario would be that the captors, to prevent exposure, decided to assassinate the hostages.

According to some versions, president Chirac was informed of the Syrian connection by his friend, the Lebanese primer minister Rafik Hariri. Another pressure to counter the 1557 UN resolution would have been the car bomb last week (Oct. 2nd) in Beirut that nearly killed former Minister Marwan Hamade, one of France’s closest allies in the region, precisely while Hariri and Chirac were meeting at the Elysée Palace in Paris.

Syrians angry over claims

Via Arabic News
Damascus rejects to be involved in the French hostages case
Iraq-Regional, Local, 10/7/2004

Damascus yesterday refused remarks loomed by French sources on the possibility that the two French hostages in Iraq and their Syrian drivers are with it and the attempt to link the matter with UN Security Council resolution 1559 as well as the allegations that it used the mediation made by the French parliamentarian Dedieh Julia.

Winds of Change

An example: this analysis of the March 11th attacks in Madrid, written 5 days later! Imposing.

Inspiring, passionate and decent

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From Barcelona. I like it! And, by the way, it's getting better every day.

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Allah Pundit
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Norman Geras's blog
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Location: Paris, France

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