ISIS responsible for another Turkish kidnapping in Iraq?  I’m not so sure that the Islamic extremist group is to blame this time. There’s alot more here than meets the eye.

Turkey, like many other countries is used to having its nationals captured, but it has a far better record of getting them back. In 2013, Turkish workers whose helicopter had crashed in Eastern Afghanistan were released after negotiations with the Taliban. More recently 49 Turkish diplomats were exchanged for 180 wounded ISIS prisoners, after a 101-day ordeal, that started when they were captured by ISIS fighters from the Turkish consulate in Mosul, northern Iraq.

There is a very good chance that this Turkish kidnapping ordeal will end positively. The pictures of the violent killings – video taped for all to see – absent on this occasion because the evidence is stacking up to suggest that it wasn’t ISIS that took them at all.

A Turkish foreign ministry spokesperson in confirming the abduction, stated that the 18 construction workers were in the process of building a sports complex in the eastern Baghdad district of Sadr city. I’ll repeat that because its really important, ‘Sadr city’.

Now…, ask any US serviceman who was in Iraq about Sadr city and you will get a very colourful reply. The place is synonymous with violence. It’s where Chris Kyle – of American Sniper fame – collected most of his ‘kills’. I’ve skirted around its edge on many occasions, glad that I never had orders to enter it because its full of guns, all of which belong to the Iranian backed Shia militia.

Sadr city, was also where colleagues of mine were held after their capture from an Iraqi government building in 2007. The incident resulted in the murder of four of the security guards employed by Global Security, with the fifth man – Peter More – released in 2009.

Some kidnappings are spontaneous, but most are planned and planned well. If you’re someone who likes routine in your life – and you use that regular behaviour whilst working in a high threat enviroment – then you’re putting yourself at risk. The pattern of life – as its called in the trade – is what kidnappers rely on in their planning process, for by your actions,  you’re telling them where you will be at a precise time.

The kidnapping of the Turkish workers was not spontaneous, it relied on detailed planning. Weapons, vehicles, uniforms, are all evident, all necessary to detain and then move 18 prisoners to a secure location. This is why it couldn’t have been ISIS. Sadr city is controlled by Shia Militia’s who have it it in a permanent state of ‘lock down’.

The act of agression towards Turkey by the Iranian proxy – the Shia militia’s, is evidence of the complexity  of the regional rivalries. Turkey seems to more intersted in bombing PKK targets than that of ISIS forces, while the US is gravitating towards the Iranian backed Assad regime. Somewhere amongst this rich mosaic of allegiences lies the motivation behind the Turkish Kidnapping.

Turkey has a good record for getting its people back, and lets hope their record does them justice on this occasion. But just remember, be careful what you read in the press.



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