Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Jihadist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi did a smart thing today. He is more politically sophisticated than I thought after I heard he had kidnapped three Turks in Iraq and threatened to behead them.
three Turkish hostages walked free after their release by a group led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a suspected al Qaeda ally.

His group had previously threatened to behead the Turks on Tuesday unless their government told companies to stop dealing with U.S. forces in Iraq. Ankara had rejected the demand.

"Jama'at al-Tawhid and Jihad announces the release of the Turkish hostages for the sake of Muslims in Turkey and their demonstrations against (U.S. President George W.) Bush," a masked man said on a video tape aired by Arabic Al Jazeera TV.

A Turkish government official confirmed the three men had been released. Another two Turkish men taken hostage in Iraq three weeks ago have told their families they are well and will return to Turkey within a week, Turkish media reported.
Murdering Muslims would have been an amazingly reckless and politically suicidal move for Zarqawi. By releasing these three men, he has bought himself a little more time. It is hard to imagine that his movement -- if that's even what it is -- could have found any public sympathy of any kind in Iraq or other Middle Eastern countries if it carried out a policy of murder against not only Westerners but all 'collaboraters' -- including Muslims -- as well.

Unfortunately for US marine Wassef Ali Hassoun, being a Muslim doesn't seem to count for anything if you're also an American.

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