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Sat Aug 4, 2012, 09:40 AM

Iran TV: 48 Iranians kidnapped in Syria

Source: AP-Excite

By PAUL SCHEMM

BEIRUT (AP) - In a brazen daylight kidnapping, gunmen snatched a bus filled with 48 Iranian pilgrims from a Damascus suburb as they headed to visit a shrine holy Shiites, reported Iranian state television on Saturday.

Just a few miles away in the southern outskirts of the Syrian capital, regime forces pounded the neighborhood of Tadamon, one of the last rebel-held areas in the city and began to move into the neighborhood.

The abduction was the largest single kidnapping of Iranians in Syria, where several smaller groups of Iranians have been snatched in recent months.

The pilgrims had just left their hotel on Saturday and were headed by bus to the Sayeda Zeinab mosque, a holy shrine for Shiite Muslims in a suburb south of the capital, when they were taken, Iran's Arabic language, state-owned TV station al-Alam said, citing an official at the Iranian embassy in Damascus.


Read more: http://apnews.excite.com/article/20120804/DA0EI3V03.html




This citizen journalism image taken on Friday, Aug. 3, 2012 purports to show Syrian rebels celebrating after taking over the Ansari police station in the northern city of Aleppo, Syria on August 3, 2012. (AP Photo) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS CITIZEN JOURNALIST IMAGE

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 10:21 AM

1. You have to ask...what were they thinking?

I mean, come on....the nation is in civil war, and a busload of religious pilgrims are hell-bent on visiting a shrine during Ramadan? What, the Hajj isn't sufficient?

Good grief. Sure, they would have lost their security deposit...but so what? Some things, like life and liberty, are more important than doing a minor hajj.

And al Assad, he's a friend to Iran, and Iran is a friend to him...so I would not be feeling too secure if I were one of those religious tourists.

HOWEVER...they could be a tethered goat. We'll see. If Iran streams a load of cannon fodder into Syria to bolster the forces of al Assad under the guise of finding their citizens, we will know.

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Response to MADem (Reply #1)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 12:44 PM

3. Yeah, shame on those Iranian pilgrims.

Thinking they could visit their holy sites without being kidnapped by armed thugs.

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #3)

Sun Aug 5, 2012, 09:31 AM

6. The Syrian Rebels are saying that they are Revolutionary Guards.

To be blunt, that sounds about right to me.

No one in their right fucking mind goes on a pilgrimage when there's a full-bore war going on.

Those "pilgrims" were there to get the lay of the land to the benefit of Iran and Iran's despotic ally, al Assad.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/06/world/middleeast/syrian-rebels-say-hostages-are-iranian-guards.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

BEIRUT, Lebanon — A group of Syrian rebels took responsibility on Sunday for the kidnapping of 48 Iranians in Damascus a day earlier, but the rebels insisted that their captives were members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, not religious pilgrims as Iran’s official news agency had reported.

“They are Iranian thugs who were in Damascus for a field reconnaissance mission,” said a rebel leader, in a video that purportedly showed the captives, sitting calmly behind armed Syrian fighters. The rebels said in the video that at least one Iranian was caught with an identification card for the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and certificates for carrying weapons — at which point the man identified by the rebels stood up to show some paperwork.

The identities and motives of the captives could not be independently verified. Iran has insisted that they were innocent pilgrims returning from a Shiite shrine on the southern edge of Damascus, and some rebel groups have not embraced the kidnapping or the theory laid out by the fighters in the video. Col. Malik al-Kurdi, a deputy commander of the Free Syrian Army — one of several competing umbrella groups involved in the fighting — said the brigade involved in the kidnapping appeared to have been acting on its own and did not tell the Free Syrian Army about the operation.

For the rebels, the hostages offered an opportunity to broadcast their belief that the government of President Bashar al-Assad was on its way out and to argue that Iran and other foreign supporters of the Syrian government should reconsider their allegiances. In the video, first shown on the Al Arabiya television network, which is owned by Saudi Arabia, a supporter of the rebel cause, the rebels insisted that the Assad government was “inevitably short-lived.”

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Response to MADem (Reply #6)

Sun Aug 5, 2012, 04:04 PM

12. Did you even read what you posted?

"The identities and motives of the captives could not be independently verified. Iran has insisted that they were innocent pilgrims returning from a Shiite shrine on the southern edge of Damascus, and some rebel groups have not embraced the kidnapping or the theory laid out by the fighters in the video. Col. Malik al-Kurdi, a deputy commander of the Free Syrian Army — one of several competing umbrella groups involved in the fighting — said the brigade involved in the kidnapping appeared to have been acting on its own and did not tell the Free Syrian Army about the operation."

1. We don't know who these 48 people are.
2. Iran says they are pilgrims.
3. Some rebel groups "have not embraced the kidnapping and the theory laid out by the fighters in the video."
4. The kidnapping was done by independent armed thugs without the permission of the FSA.

You do recall the earlier kidnapping of I think it was 11 Iranians last fall? The rebels said they were Revolutionary Guards. They turned out to be engineers working on a water treatment plant.

All of this assurance that these guys are Revolutionary Guards seems to be little more than wishful thinking at this point. It might turn out to be the case; it might not. I suspect the latter. Time will tell.

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #12)

Sun Aug 5, 2012, 05:54 PM

13. Yes, I did read it and I discount it.

I used to live in Iran. I know how these games are played.

You go ahead and play the "Oh, they're sincere pilgrims" game if you really want to do that.

It's no skin off my nose.

I was born at night, but not last night. There's a party going on up in Syria right now, and that crowd doesn't look like any crew of pilgrims I've seen--and I've seen plenty.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 10:28 AM

2. Romney October surprise

 

He will free these hostages for a deal on their nukes

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 03:51 PM

4. I'd like to see pics of those 'pilgrims'.

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Response to Ikonoklast (Reply #4)

Sun Aug 5, 2012, 09:40 AM

7. Look upthread--NYT is saying the captors say they are Revvies sent by the GOI to do recon, etc.



They don't look like the usual mix of pilgrims one would see in a group like this. There would usually be a few kids, a bunch of elderly, and a gaggle of women at the back of the bus.

But who knows? The people on that bus do!

More on this: http://www.france24.com/en/20120805-syria-rebels-video-claims-iranian-hostages-elite-revolutionary-guards

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Response to MADem (Reply #7)

Sun Aug 5, 2012, 10:42 AM

8. Those don't look like pilgrims to me either.

 

nt

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Response to MADem (Reply #7)

Sun Aug 5, 2012, 11:55 AM

9. As I suspected.

Iran is definitely not the innocent recepient of mis-placed distrust in that part of the world, they earned that fair and square.

Lebanon, Hezbollah, Libya, etc....Iran has a long track record of helping foment as much unrest as they can, pitting Sunni against Shi'a, and seeking to use it to their political advantage...except they are failing badly at it.

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Response to Ikonoklast (Reply #9)

Sun Aug 5, 2012, 12:05 PM

10. Yep. nt

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 09:53 PM

5. Something about this story doesn't sound right

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Sun Aug 5, 2012, 12:05 PM

11. BS. I think Iran is looking for an excuse to go in and help Assad.

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #11)

Sun Aug 5, 2012, 05:57 PM

14. And those RG bozos fell into the hands of the "crazy wing" of the loose "rebel" confederation.

Damn their bad luck, and all that!!!

I wouldn't want to be grabbed by the Jundallah, either!!!

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