This is good news. The three American contractors kidnapped in Baghdad last month allegedly by Iranian-backed Shiite militias have been released:
BREAKING: Iraqi officials say 3 Americans abducted in Baghdad have been freed
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 16, 2016
But we don’t have any details on how they were released:
No comment yet from US officials on reported release of 3 Americans kidnapped in Baghdad… officials say "nothing to share" at the moment
— Kirit Radia (@KiritRadia) February 16, 2016
The three Americans are reportedly in good health and have been handed over to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad https://t.co/DdNvDRVyUN
— New York Post (@nypost) February 16, 2016
The New York Times reports that they were handed over after “negotiations” with an unnamed Shiite milita:
The State Department issued a statement saying, in part: “The Department of State welcomes the news that the government of Iraq has secured the release of three U.S. citizens who were reported as missing in January. We sincerely appreciate the assistance provided by the government of Iraq, and its whole-of-government effort to bring about the safe release of these individuals.”
On Tuesday, an Iraqi intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the Americans had been taken by a Shiite militia and were turned over to Iraqi intelligence officers after negotiations.
Was a ransom paid? What was Iran’s role? More information, please.
Remember these 3 hostages were kidnapped hours after the prisoner swap with Iran:
In honor of this weekend’s successful prisoner swap, Iranian backed groups in Iraq take some more hostages. https://t.co/JJ3kATYXJ7
— Eli Lake (@EliLake) January 19, 2016
The Obama administration had “hoped the Iranian government would tell the militia group to hold off” kidnapping Americans:
CBS: Admin "hoped" Iranian militia in Iraq would call off hostage taking bc US was negotiating over other hostages pic.twitter.com/6AdsCeUSpr
— Omri Ceren (@cerenomri) January 19, 2016
Embarrassing, and maybe more so once we learn the details.