Now that the soap commercials are over, let’s get back to the great soap opera that is the Syrian Civil War.
The Northern Storm Brigade, an Islamist militia that is part of the Free Syrian Army and operates rather close to the Turkish border, kidnapped 11 Shiite Lebanese men. The Lebanese claim that they were pilgrims. The rebels claim that they were top Hezbollah officials who thought they were headed to a meeting with Syrian government officials.
The Brigade offered to release the men on the condition that Hezbollah leader Nasrallah apologizes for participating on Assad’s side in the civil war. Nasrallah neglected to take up the FSA on this offer.
The simplest solution to a hostage crisis in the region is to take someone else hostage. If the US understood this better, the Iranian hostage crisis would have been over in a week.
So one of the sons of the men, and apparently a bunch of others, kidnapped two Turkish airline pilots in Lebanon. Turkey’s Islamist regime is furious since, for some arrogant reason, it didn’t think that it support for terrorism in Syria would backfire against it.
Suddenly frightened, Turkey is pulling its troops out of the UN peacekeeping forces in Lebanon and telling its citizens to leave the country before they get kidnapped. That’s probably a good idea since Hezbollah runs Lebanon.
Officially Hezbollah is claiming that they had nothing to do with the kidnapping. Pretending to go along with that, Turkish officials met with Hezbollah politicians and asked for their “help”.
And the Syrian National Council, which is run by the Muslim Brotherhood, but may or may not run anything on the ground in Syria, is saying that a hostage swap might be considered.
Khoja said he did not have any concrete information about such a deal but added that it could mirror a previous deal in which two of the pilgrims were released in exchange for two businessmen captured by Hezbollah. He also said there could be negotiations with the Northern Storm Brigades over the issue.
Clearly last time around not enough Turkish hostages were taken. So maybe next time Hezbollah will find seven Turks to kidnap and put an end to this soap opera.
“Any Turkish citizen in the southern suburbs and the city of Beirut is a target for [kidnapping] by the families of the Lebanese hostages,” Hayat Awali, a spokesperson for the families of the hostages, told reporters Aug. 12.
I’m sure this will do wonders for tourism.
Turkey has also reached out to Iran, which has the same relationship to Hezbollah as Turkey has to the Free Syrian Army.