Saturday, March 12, 2005

Italy Ends Policy of Rewarding Kidnappers

The Independent reports that Italy's policy of negotiating with kidnappers in Iraq has ended. Three cheers.

"Any Italians rash enough to go walkabout in Iraq are now on their own, prime minister Silvio Berlusconi told the Senate yesterday, in his first official pronouncement on the killing of Nicola Calipari last Friday.

'The Italian government is in a position to guarantee the security only of those...who operate in close co-operation and under the protection of our military contingent,' he said. 'It is not possible to do so for those who venture, even for the most noble and sincere reasons, in other regions of Iraq where the presence of terrorists is still high and where the risk of attacks and abductions is greater.'

It was a guarded statement, but it signalled a clear change of policy. Since the abduction of four Italian security guards last year, one of whom was murdered but three of whom were later released unharmed, Italy has pursued the bold and lonely strategy of negotiating with hostages and paying them huge ransoms."

"bold and lonely"? Try "short-sighted and self-defeating."
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