June 18, 2002

SYRIA IS HOLDING a key 9/11 suspect, reports the Washington Post. He is “Mohammed Haydar Zammar, a German citizen of Syrian origin who has told his interrogators that he recruited key hijacker Mohammed Atta.” He’s being interrogated by the Syrians, and he’s cooperating, according to the report.

If this is all it’s cracked up to be, it’s an indication that Syria is anxious to stay on the right side of the United States — which is probably an indication that there’s more going on in the war than is obvious to us sitting here at home. I certainly hope that’s the case.

The Germans are unhappy that they’ve been cut out of the loop where one of their own citizens is concerned. But given their ostentatious unwillingness to cooperate with the United States where such cooperation might lead to someone getting the death penalty, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that this is in part a signal to the Germans that there are worse things than a death-penalty trial in an American court.

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