Middle East One Home, 21 to Go

Why it would be a surprise to see any more captives freed soon -- and why there is also more hope for them than ever

Iran eager to patch things up with the Great Satan? Syria, the pre-eminent Soviet client state in the Middle East, avid for U.S. approval? Those developments sound as unlikely as . . . well, as the release of an American hostage by Lebanese kidnapers who apparently got nothing whatsoever in return from Washington. But Robert Polhill, 55, a professor at Beirut University College who had been abducted and held for three years and three months, was in fact turned loose on the streets of Beirut at the start of last week. His freedom did result from a combination of arm twisting...

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