Indie Wire
Aug 26 2014

How Qatar Helped Helped Free an American Hostage Without Paying Ransom

Polly Mosendz

Just days after an execution video of reporter James Foley surfaced,
another American journalist, Peter Theo Curtis, was released from
captivity. Curtis was captured in Antakya, Turkey, and held for two
years by Jabhat al-Nusra, which is affiliated with Syria's branch of
al-Qaeda, but was freed over the weekend. Unlike Foley, who was killed
by members of the group ISIL after they made ransom demands of more
that 100 million euros, Curtis was released without paying a ransom,
after help from the government of Qatar.

Qatar has become a key player in negotiation talks between terrorist
organizations and the United States in the past, recently assisting in
the hostage exchange of Bowe Bergdahl. They've also facilitated peace
talks between the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan. Qatar's
intelligence service has particularly key information on Jabhat
al-Nusra, which allowed for the release of Curtis without paying a
ransom, according to a report by Adam Goldman and Karen DeYoung in The
Washington Post.

According to the Post, the impetus for Qatar's was also spurred by
businessman David Bradley, who put together his own search team,
including a retired FBI agent, after meeting a cousin of Curtis's last
year. (Bradley is the owner of Atlantic Media, which is the parent
company of The Wire.)

Bradley told the Post that he and FBI agent, traveled to Doha, Qatar,
last month to work with Qatari intelligence officials. Ghanim Khalifa
al-Kubaisi, chief of Qatar's intelligence service, informed them that
he was able to track Curtis's location.

Their dinner at an Armenian restaurant lasted more than two hours,
with the men trading stories before Kubaisi revealed his security
service had found Curtis using its intelligence network. He believed
he could get Curtis out of Syria without paying off the kidnappers.

The rescue operation put al-Kubaisi's team in danger, and therefore
required the sign off of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the current
Emir of Qatar. Though complications arose, Jabhat al-Nusra agreed to
release Curtis. He was brought to Israel and met by FBI officials. His
mother says intends on confiscating his passport now that he is headed
back the States.