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A Terrorist Goes Free

Apparently we do negotiate with hostage-takers.

Jan 18, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 17 • By BILL ROGGIO
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The U.S. military has denied that a deal was cut with the Shia terror group to secure the release of the Brits and insists the release of Qais, Laith, and others to the Iraqi government was part of the “reconciliation process.” But U.S. military and intelligence officers I have spoken with disagree and say that Qais Khazali’s release was indeed part of a bargain to free the British hostages.

Qais Khazali and his ilk do not represent any legitimate Iraqi interests that can be “reconciled” and folded back into society. Their organization represents Iran, and Iran used them to sow chaos and murder and may well do so again.

The deal raises two important questions. First, why would the United States release dangerous terrorists who are directly linked to Iran’s Quds Force and who can threaten the recent security gains in Iraq? Military officers from General David Petraeus on down have gone on the record saying that Iran is still active in attempting to destabilize Iraq.

Second, did the Obama administration violate a long-standing executive order, put in place by President Ronald Reagan, that prevents negotiations with hostage takers and terrorists? Senators Jeff Sessions and Jon Kyl put this very question to President Obama in a July 2009 letter after Laith Khazali was released. The administration has yet to respond to Sessions and Kyl. But now we must wonder, once again, if this same executive order has been violated in the case of Qais Khazali. 

The Khazali brothers and their terror network are responsible for the deaths of five American soldiers and numerous Iraqis. America deserves to know why they were freed. 

Bill Roggio is managing editor of the website Long War Journal and adjunct fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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