Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Romanian Connection

It's something to be here in Romania when the story about the Romanian journalists being kidnapped in Iraq is hitting the press. Phoebe said that she saw on the news last week that the Americans had rescued the hostages, so I considered it over. But then yesterday we saw on the news that the only information the Romanian press had was that the journalists were alive. We were so confused about this.
Then Phoebe checked the internet and saw that a Romanian journalist had written about the story. He said that he had been there with those that were kidnapped and presented the idea that they had worked in conjunction with Omar Hayssam - in essence faking the kidnapping to get Hayssam out of Romania (because he is currently on restriction and cannot leave the country).

Then today, I saw this article about the events in the Turkish Press:
The prosecutor's office said last week in Bucharest that a Romanian-Syrian businessman arrested in the Romanian capital was "linked to the alleged kidnappers."

Surveillance of businessman Omar Hayssam has shown "links between him and people suspected of being implicated in the kidnapping of three Romanians in Iraq," it said in a statement.

Hayssam, who was arrested late Tuesday, is being charged under an anti-terrorist law, the statement said, adding that he is also suspected of fraud and tax evasion.

On March 29, the day after the kidnapping, Hayssam had told Romanian television stations that he had been "contacted by the kidnappers", who had demanded an undisclosed ransom, which he had refused.

Hayssam is close to Iraqi-American businessman Mohamed Munaf, who was taken hostage along with the three Romanians.

Munaf allegedly financed the trip of the Romanian journalists and was their guide in Baghdad.

With all that, the paper seems to be implying links between Hayssam and the kidnappers, but nothing about the hostages being in on the plan. But Phoebe's article said there was a connection between the family of the female hostage and Omar Hayssam. I wouldn't have been too skeptical of the Turkish Press Article if not for the last paragraph:
Iraq has been plagued by hostage-takings of foreigners and locals since the US-led war two years ago to remove president Saddam Hussein. Some hostages have been released, many of them for ransom, while others have been executed.

This reads like US-Anti-war propaganda to me. What is Turkey's position on Iraq again? Just curious...