Korean Hostage Given Reprieve

SwissInfo — South Korean hostage wins more time

Militants threatening to behead a South Korean hostage in Iraq unless Seoul withdraws its troops have agreed to
allow more time for talks on his fate, an Iraqi intermediary has told Reuters.

Jama’at al-Tawhid and Jihad, a group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who has been accused by Washington of links to al Qaeda, initially set
a Monday night deadline in a videotape which showed Kim Sun-il pleading for his life.

But Mohammed al-Obeidi, an Iraqi working for South Korean security firm NKTS in Baghdad, said on Tuesday Iraqi clerics who were in
talks with Kim’s captors had told him the deadline had been extended. Seoul has rejected the militants’ demands that it pull troops out of Iraq
and scrap plans to send more.

“The kidnappers have said they are willing to negotiate as long as the Korean government stops making provocative remarks and softens
its tone on troop deployment,” Obeidi said.

Choi Seung-gap, president of NKTS, was quoted by the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper’s website as saying Kim’s captors had dropped their
demands that South Korea pull out troops and cancel plans to send more. He said the kidnappers’ other demands were acceptable but did
not elaborate.

Quite bizarre. Negotiating with terrorists might have short-term gains in this case. Unfortunately, it will also encourage more kidnappings.

While the organizational connection between Jama’at al-Tawhid and Jihad and al-Qaeda is unclear, it’s a distinction without meaning. AQ is just one very loosely organized faction of the greater jihadist movement which, taken in totality, is our enemy. Which faction al-Zarqawi is a member of is rather irrelevant.

FILED UNDER: Terrorism
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Donnie says:

    Al Jazeera and CNN reporting the poor guy’s been beheaded.

    Dammit.

    – D