June 25, 2015 | Quote

Obama Just Announced a Telling Shift in How the US Handles Hostage Cases

Today, President Barack Obama announced changes to the US's handling of hostage cases involving American citizens held by terrorist groups.

The announcement included one fairly important shift in the US government's generally attitude towards hostage cases.

Obama twice clarified that the “US government” would not pay ransoms, arguing that this “risks endangering more Americans and funding the very terrorism that we’re trying to stop.

In recent years, hostage-taking has become a major source of terrorist income, with Al Qaeda and its affiliates taking in $125 million in ransoms, according to the New York Times.

Various European governments' follow unacknowledged policy of making and facilitating ransom payments, with France alone reportedly paying nearly $60 million.

The US, on the other hand, has followed a strict policy of not paying ransoms.

“It's a collective action problem,” Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracy and an expert on nonstate armed groups, told Business Insider. “The US had one policy while the European states had a different policy and pretended they didn't. Rather than pressure the European countries the US is just changing its policies.”

Read the full article here


Al Qaeda