Lebanon Blackmail in Beirut

Islamic Jihad issues an ominous warning to Washington

Once again the grainy color photographs showed the harrowed faces of hostages. This time the pictures of four Americans and two Frenchmen, delivered last Thursday to several daily newspapers in Beirut and printed by some of them the next day, came accompanied by an ominous warning: unless the government of Kuwait agreed to release 17 Muslim fundamentalist terrorists jailed there for bombing the U.S. and French embassies in December 1983, the American captives would suffer "catastrophic consequences" and their captors would "terrorize America and France forever."

The message presented the U.S. with an excruciating dilemma. Until now none of the Westerners...

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