Professor: Nightmare scenario for Foley would be Daniel Pearl situation

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January 4, 2013, 7:49 am
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(NECN) - The abduction of James Foley in Syria reflects a dangerous trend in journalism; 132 journalists were killed in the line of duty last year, the greatest number on record and 31 of them were killed covering the war in Syria.

As the fight for Foley's release goes forward, Peter Krause, assistant professor of political science, from Boston College joins us to offer some perspective and context on unfolding events in the Mideast.

Why is it that any journalist gets abducted or kidnapped?

“I think in terms of journalists in the line of fire, it can be because they’re reporting from a certain perspective, perhaps the regime doesn’t like the fact that they’re giving information about the regime not doing well or the rebels launching certain attacks that are successful. From the rebels perspective, sometimes they’ve assassinated members of state-run media organizations, obviously that doesn’t apply to Foley here, but there are a number of reasons for this,” says Krause. “One of the positives from the family’s perspective, neither the regime nor the Syrian rebels really have incentives to kill Foley here because of the fact that the regime is trying to keep the US out of the region. Killing a U.S. journalist in captivity is a quick way to kind of turn the American people against the Syrian regime, perhaps push for intervention. From the rebels perspective, many of them want more US intervention, more support monetary or weapons. Again if they capture or kill a U.S. journalist that’s going to turn the US against doing that, so in many ways there are a lot of positives here in terms of the fact, we don’t know what Foley’s situation is here, but neither of the main groups involved here have incentives to harm him.”

Almost two years ago, Foley was abducted in Libya. It took six weeks, but he was finally released. The Foley family is reaching out saying they want information, they want to know what they can do to get him released. The situation in Syria is not black and white.

Krause says there is a concern that more extreme Jihadi groups among the rebels are the ones who captured Foley.

“In a nightmare scenario, you could see something like a Daniel Pearl situation where these groups don’t want the US to be involved and they might have incentive to harm him either to gain notoriety and strengthen their organization or to send a message to the US and westerners in the region.

For more, watch the attached video.

Tags: abduction, journalists, James Foley, Peter Krause, daniel pearl, boston college professor
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