James Glanz in The New York Times reports that Iraqi police were hot on the trail of the kidnapping ring that captured Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena until the trail went cold once the Italian government started negotiating directly with the terrorists.
Iraqi investigators who are trying to find the kidnappers of the Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena say their work has been stymied by a lack of cooperation from the Italian intelligence services that won her release exactly a month after she was abducted on Feb. 4.
The Iraqi investigators say they conducted as many as half a dozen raids in a northwest Baghdad neighborhood where they think Ms. Sgrena, 56, a reporter for the far-left Rome daily Il Manifesto, was being held. But the kidnappers slipped through their fingers, and she was released after the abductors negotiated with Italian intelligence agents. One of those agents was killed when American troops fired on the car taking Ms. Sgrena to freedom.
Even after her release, Italian officials have refused to share information with the Iraqis, said Col. Jabbar Anwar, chief of the major crimes unit in the sector of Baghdad that includes Gazalea, the neighborhood where she was thought to be held.I am curious to find out how Sgrena’s car came to take a hazardous route at night outside of protected Green Zones toward the airport. I don’t know if Italian secret service agent, Nicola Calipari, knew that many of the IED attacks against American troops had occurred on the Baghdad airport road; that there’s virtually no traffic on the road at night; and that U.S. soldiers at checkpoints on the airport road will fire if they sense a incoming threat (which may be merely a car that does not slow down) before he speed off toward the airport. Given the Italians apparent lack of interest in helping catch the kidnappers it looks like getting straight answers about any part of Sgrena’s story might just be wishful thinking.