Thursday, December 22, 2005
Stockholm syndrome or Dumkopf? -update
Susanne Osthoff, a German national and Muslim convert who was kidnapped by Sunnis in Iraq, then rescued by the German government, is now planning to return to Iraq to continue her humanitarian work. She described her captors as "poor people" and said she "cannot blame them for kidnapping her, as they cannot enter (Baghdad's heavily fortified) Green Zone to kidnap Americans."
Berlin says they might not be inclined to rescue her if she were endangered again. It gets even more touchy with speculation that the early release of a Lebanese Hezbollah member who was serving a life sentence in Germany for the 1985 hijacking of a TWA jet and the murder of a US Navy Seal, which occurred around the same time as Osthoff's rescue, may have been some kind of hostage trade. This infuriated the U.S. State Department, who wanted him extradited.
Is Osthoff dedicated or nuts? A dupe, a martyr, international bait? You can read the rest of this tangled tale here --there's a bit more to it, of course, and make your own decision.
This woman's story gets stranger as the days tick by. She now claims she never said she's returning to Iraq, but nobody knows where she is, she hasn't even called her mother, according to a thorough roundup of news, opinions and coverage by Spiegel Online's English Site. Oh and she has either said or intimated that her kidnappers were associated with al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, according to a Reuters report via Red Orbit. It is hard to say whether there are translation problems clouding these extremely suspicious statements or whether she is being both leading and evasive. But there is definitely more going on here.
Mainer, New Yawka, Beijinger, Californian, points between. News, views and ballyhoos that piqued my interest and caused me to sigh, cry, chuckle, groan or throw something.
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