Everything was going relatively smoothly following John McCain’s surprise visit to hang out with Syrian rebels this week until Lebanon’s Daily Star reported that one of the “brave fighters” pictured on the senator’s Twitter is “a known affiliate of the rebel group responsible for the kidnapping of 11 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims one year ago.” If so, McCain’s office said, that would be “regrettable.”
“According to families of the remaining captives and one of the released men, Anwar Ibrahim, one of the men standing alongside McCain in photographs released by the senator’s office, is Mohammad Nour, the chief spokesman and photographer for the Northern Storm kidnappers,” according to the Daily Star. “Ibrahim and other members of the kidnapped family said they recognized Nour, and another man affiliated with the group, also identified as ‘Abu Ibrahim,’ immediately after seeing the photos.”
“None of the individuals the Senator planned to meet with was named Mohamad Nour or Abu Ibrahim,” a spokesperson for McCain told CNN, condemning the possibility. “A number of other Syrian commanders joined the meeting, but none of them identified himself as Mohamad Nour or Abu Ibrahim.” Which would make sense if they’re kidnappers.
“A number of the Syrians who greeted Senator McCain upon his arrival in Syria asked to take pictures with him, and as always, the Senator complied,” the spokesperson added. Like Toronto mayor Rob Ford says, “I take pictures with everybody.”