clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:


The United States-led blitzkrieg against Iraq liberated Kuwait in just 100 hours but apparently has done little in ending the six-year ordeal for Associated Press reporter Terry Anderson, who has been held hostage by pro-Iranian extremists in Lebanon since 1985.

Anderson and 12 other Westerners - five Americans, four Britons, two Germans and one Italian - remain as hostages in brutal conditions, and most diplomatic sources in Lebanon see little chance that the scenario will change any time soon.While many felt improving relations between the United States and its Arab allies in the Persian Gulf War might improve chances for a hostage release, some observers believe the opposite might result.

It is generally believed that Iran controls the fate of the hostages. Diplomatic sources say Iran might be hesitant to release the hostages now, fearful that a release would be misinterpreted as a reward for the West for fighting Iraq and sending troops into the region.

Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is believed to favor releasing the hostages but has thus far been blocked by hard-liners in the Iranian government.

With the Lebanese Army expanding its control in the suburbs of Beirut with the blessings of the Syrian Army, new reports indicate the hostages have been moved out of the city to new locations in eastern Lebanon.

In the past, Syria, which has some 40,000 troops in Lebanon, has pledged to use all its resources to win the hostages' release. That pledge will likely be discussed anew when Secretary of State James Baker meets with Syrian President Hafez al-Assad in Damascus this week.

Baker will be testing the waters to see if the Persian Gulf crisis has opened any new avenues for breaking the hostage release deadlock.

Without the return of Anderson and his fellow hostages, the return of troops from Operation Desert Storm will be significantly incomplete.