Tuesday, May 25, 2010

See the Arab world

You can go hiking on the Iran / Iraq border.
The mothers of two of the three Americans held for months in an Iranian prison said Monday that their children have become engaged and plan to marry after they are released.

The mothers of all three Americans are back in the United States after visiting Iran to see their children. During the visit, they learned that Shane Bauer had proposed to Sarah Shourd at Evin Prison in Tehran. . .

Bauer made a ring out of threads from his shirt and gave it to Shourd in the prison's exercise area. The third imprisoned American, Josh Fattal, will be the couple's best man, the mothers said.

The three friends were taken into custody by Iranian forces last July along the border between Iraq and Iran. Their families say they were on an innocent hike, but Iranian officials have accused them of spying for the U.S. The families deny the allegations.

Or, you can see the sights in Yemen.
Gunmen kidnapped two American tourists and their driver in Yemen on Monday and demanded the release of a jailed tribesman, security officials said.

. . . The security officials and members of the kidnappers' tribe said the two Americans — a man and a woman — were seized while traveling to al-Hudaydah province west of the capital, San'a.

. . . Members of the kidnappers' Sharda tribe said the hostages were now their "guests."

. . . Kidnappings are frequent in Yemen and are usually carried out by disgruntled tribesmen hoping to win concessions from the government. In most of those cases, the captives are freed unharmed. In the past few years, however, al-Qaeda has begun kidnapping foreigners as well, sometimes with lethal results.

They often take place outside the heavily guarded capital, underlining the fragility of security in rural areas. It is this weak government authority outside San'a that's allowed al-Qaeda militants to seek refuge in the impoverished Arab nation in the southern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, thus posing a threat to the interests of the West and its allies in a strategic part of the Middle East.

. . . Three members of Sharda tribe said the kidnappers have moved the Americans and their driver to a rugged mountainous area, away from the main road. The two were visiting the Haraz area, a tourist destination known for its green hills and coffee plantations, when they were kidnapped while driving down the main road.

But, if you're concerned for your safety and have no desire to be kidnapped, you won't set foot in any Arab country.

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