The good news is that a couple of young Italian women who had been kidnapped, reportedly by Al Nusra, the Syrian arm of Al Qaeda, have been freed. Their families will be relieved. Then there’s the not so good news.
Reportedly, and as tends to be the case when Italian’s are kidnapped overseas, a ransom was paid. Press reports in Italy have been stating that around €12 million was handed over in return for the freedom of the two Italians. If this is the case, once again, Italy is setting both a dangerous precedent and Italy is funding terrorists.
Italian money could end up in the hands of people such as those who carried out the murderous attack on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. If that does not give pause for thought, nothing will.
Other nations, such as the United Kingdom and the United States of America refuse to hand over money to kidnappers – for the reasons already mentioned.
What Can be Done?
The solution is actually quite simple: Italian citizens must not be allowed into high risk areas such as Syria and other war zones.
If Italians do not enter these areas, they cannot be kidnapped and ransoms will not need to be paid and, of course, terrorists will not receive millions to spend on the purchase weapons, ammunition, and explosives. Potentially, lives would be saved and maybe the attack on Charlie Hebdo would never have happened.
Italy’s latest payment, if it is true that one was made, could lead to another Charlie Hebdo or something much, much, worse.
Furthermore, as well as potentially funding acts of terrorism in other nations, by paying off terrorists, Italy may also finance attacks within its own territory. If it is true, by paying a ransom, Italy may have just funded an attack or attacks on the Vatican and on Rome – a city frequented by millions of foreign tourists annually.
Perhaps it is time for the international community to ask Italy not to allow any of its citizens, including journalists, into high risk zones. If Italy did agree to adopt such a policy, lives, including those of satirical journalists, would be saved.
By the way, Italy is not the only nation which has been funding terrorism: Germany, France, and Spain are apparently guilty too.