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Friday, February 15, 2008

French and Saudis refused to nab Mughniyeh

From the WaPo:
...Lebanese officials, exploiting a monitored telephone call, traced Mughniyah to Paris in 1985, only five months after the hijacking of a TWA jetliner, to which he had been linked. He was staying at the Hotel de Crillon, a luxurious hotel across the street from the U.S. Embassy. Tipped off by the Lebanese, U.S. officials asked French police to arrest him and turn him over. Instead, as previously reported in The Washington Post, French agents met with him several times over a six-day period, according to a source closely involved, and worked out an agreement to release him in return for the freedom of a French hostage.
From ABC News:
[Richard] Clarke says the CIA learned that Mugniyah, wanted for a string of terror attacks, had boarded a commercial flight in Khartoum that was scheduled to stop in Riyadh [in 1996.]

"We appealed to the Saudis to grab him when the plane landed, and they refused," Clarke said in an interview broadcast Wednesday on ABC "World News With Charles Gibson."

After the initial refusal, Clarke said, U.S. officials went to the then-crown prince, now king.

"We raised the level of appeals all the way through Bill Clinton who was on the phone at three in the morning appealing to the highest level in Saudi Arabia to grab him," Clarke said.

"Instead, the Saudis refused to let the plane land and it continued on to Damascus," Clarke said.
The same people who complain about "extrajudicial killings" don't give people the opportunity to bring them to justice.

While the French actions were despicable, at least they got something concrete out of it - the release of a hostage.

The Saudis, however, were given a clear choice in 1996 as to whose side they were on - their "good friends" the United States, or Hezbollah. And we see which side they chose.