Dy’er Sez: This is a very strange story. It claims that these supposed innocent tourists started off in Turkey, went to Iraq (which, if you haven’t heard, is not tourist friendly due to a war going on there), traveled to the Kurdish section of the country (the Kurds have no great love of Americans, due to the fact that Saddam Hussein, who is responsible for massacring thousands of Kurds, was installed by the US in the first place), then decided to go hiking on the Iraq-Iran border (which, if you haven’t heard about Iran, is problematic due to the fact that the US keeps threatening war – or to back a war started by Israel – with Iran due to a supposed WMD program that we have no proof of; add to this the fact that Iran sits between two countries that the US is currently invading, Afghanistan and Iraq, which might make them a little, er, touchy), went too far on to the Iranian side and were captured by Iranian troops.
So, there are two logical explanations for this situation. First is that these were indeed tourists, who either haven’t picked up a newspaper in 30 years or are complete morons for traveling into a war torn region who’s people have no great love for Americans. Second: that these men are spies or contractors hired by the DOD (or some other department) to do some recon or stir up some mischief, and that the ‘tourist’ story is their cover. Either way, I’ll bet that this will end up as part of the rhetoric that will propel us towards a stronger war footing with Iran.
Story from the AP:
Report: 3 American hikers arrested in Iran
By YAHYA BARZANJI, Associated Press Writer
SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq – The U.S. State Department said Friday it was investigating reports that three American tourists have been detained by Iranians while hiking near Iran’s border with the self-ruled Kurdish region in northern Iraq.
Two Kurdish officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to release the information, said the Americans apparently were arrested after entering Iranian territory without permission.
U.S. helicopters were buzzing overhead and many U.S. Humvees had moved into the Kurdish city of Halabja to search for the Americans, said a Kurdish border force official.
According to a security official, a fourth American who stayed behind at a hotel because he was sick said the missing Americans were tourists hiking near Halabja and the border town of Ahmed Awaa.
According to this account, the four had traveled to Turkey, then entered the Kurdish region Tuesday through the Ibrahim Al-Khalil border point in Zakho, the official said. They visited the Kurdish cities of Irbil and Sulaimaniyah on Wednesday. The next day, three of them took a taxi to Ahmed Awaa where they told their companion that they planned to stay at a nearby resort, the official said.