One week ago, while Jason Rezaian and four other American prisoners were being released by Iran, Shiite militiamen abducted three Americans from the Dora neighborhood of southern Baghdad. As reported by Erin Cunningham and Mustafa Salim in a Washington Post article entitled "Iraqi official: 3 Americans missing in Baghdad were kidnapped by gunmen":
"The area from which they were taken is controlled by Shiite militias, including Iran-backed Asaib Ahl al-Haq, or League of the Righteous, [a Baghdad police colonel] said.
. . . .
The colonel said the group had been invited to the home of their Iraqi interpreter. But a resident of the apartment building where the Americans were reportedly seized said they were taken from a second-story apartment that he described as a well-known brothel.
. . . .
The resident said the apartment is subject to frequent raids by Asaib Ahl al-Haq, although typically the men found inside are simply told to leave."
The three Americans were taken from a well-known brothel? Oh really? One of the three abducted Americans is a woman.
More to the point, Tehran knows exactly where these Americans are being held.
Today, in a must-read Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Appeasing Iran hurts us in Iraq, too," Max Boot (author of "War Made New" on the bookshelf opposite me) and Michael Pregent say of this kidnapping:
"AAH [Asaib Ahl al-Haq] is a wholly owned subsidiary of Iran’s Quds Force. It is inconceivable that it could kidnap and hold Americans — a course of action with significant international repercussions — without at least the acquiescence, and probably the active support, of Tehran. Yet the Obama administration is doing all it can to obfuscate that reality. Reuters cited 'U.S. government sources' in reporting that 'Washington had no reason to believe Tehran was involved in the kidnapping and did not believe the trio were being held in Iran, which borders Iraq.'
. . . .
If another news report is to be believed, the administration is pretty sure who is responsible for the kidnapping but just won’t say so in public. CBS News reports: 'Officials in Washington had hoped the Iranian government would tell the militia group to hold off because of all the negotiations surrounding the prisoner swap that saw the release of five Americans. The State Department source said the fear was that one of the groups might have ‘gone off the reservation.’'"
The Shiite militiamen acted against the wishes of Tehran? Not a chance.
Meanwhile, Iranian Transport Minister Abbas Akhoundi suggested yesterday that Iran might be interested in acquiring aircraft from Boeing. Why not? After all, the Obama administration just paid $1.7 billion for the release of Rezaian and the other four Americans, so why not trade these new American captives for the cost of some new planes?
Do you remember how, just eight days ago, Obama declared that the release of Rezaian and the four other prisoners held by Iran resulted from "smart, patient and disciplined" diplomacy? Obama still doesn't understand that he is being played for a fool by Khamenei and friends.