Hostage Negotiation....News today regarding our country’s policy on ransoms for kidnapped citizens and for victim’s families negotiating directly with the kidnappers. We have gotten ourselves into a quagmire of poor leadership and we are dealing from a position of weakness.
There are several scenarios in a hostage situation. The kidnappers that are desperately cornered and seeking escape. The next, are kidnappers seeking a lucrative reward in exchange for the person or material held captive. The last, political ideologue kidnapper scenario is making a political statement hoping to diminish the political standing of the adversary. This can include a lucrative reward of riches. Some kidnappers have little or no intention of returning the hostage. Kidnapping can be the ultimate act of terror. Given the parameters indicated, there is little space to work within. Depending how close we are to the hostage emotionally creates another matter of how logically we can handle negotiations. There has to be logical negotiation to mediate the dilemma. Every event is usually different in some respect. In any case the negotiations have to be centralized and only one source negotiating. Victims families and a disorganized government agency
( more inclined to be political) negotiating independently is the ideal situation for a political kidnapper’s success. Resulting to the peril of the hostage.
History and experience have taught us several things. A terrorist act rewarded like kidnapping, with little risk of consequence will be repeated. As simple as this discipline is it takes great fortitude to adhere to the preventive principles. Russia set somewhat of an example years ago. In Somalia they not only did not pay the ransom but also killed everyone involved, pirates avoided their ships. Countries or families not taking a firm stance and taking the path of least resistance paying the ransoms had mixed results. In some cases the hostage was returned with limited injuries and in others the hostage(s) were murdered. An example of the perpetrators not fearing consequence, and of course the incidents increased substantially.
Our most recent kidnapping(s) has been disastrous. Special Force rescue attempts have been bungled; drone bombings have accidentally hit hostage locations killing them. In one instance we traded five high ranking enemy generals for a deserting traitor. We have not divulged the money exchanged. This is not good crisis management.
Given our alleged level of superior intelligence we should have more success? There is some level of procrastination within our administration that does not allow for timely, pragmatic decisions. They are usually based on political success and not practical application of problem solving.
If we are prominent citizens traveling abroad and our capture could result in a ransom or political statement we are prey to the hawks of terrorism. The best pound of cure results with the ounce of prevention don’t travel abroad. Citizens hiking around, or in, terrorist countries such as Iran or North Korea should, in my belief, be left to their own peril. Although situations differ, dealing from a position of strength is important as it insures the health and return of hostages. There must be dire consequences if agreements are not honored; it appears we are incapable at this time.
Given the past performances of this administration I think we can expect limited success in the future. I think the Benghazi incident could have been a hostage situation that would have embarrassed the administration. The defense resolve of the SEALS and the humiliation of the attackers changed all that. We insured their defeat without rescue attempts. We may hear in the future that the possible kidnapping would have been more politically devastating than their murders, (reason for the false narrative of an instigating video, and their desertion.) The tortuous murder of Ambassador Stevens served the purpose of humiliation.
It is difficult to muster hope in future kidnapping incidents from my prospective. Going forward, only time will tell, I pray that my assessment is incorrect.