Warren Weinstein is a 70-year-old American who was kidnapped by al-Qaeda in Pakistan on August 13, 2011. He was and American contractor from Rockville, Maryland in Pakistan as the director for J.E. Austin Associates. He is being held by al-Qaeda along with his driver and three guards who were with him at the time of his capture. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda following the death of Osama bin Laden, has claimed responsibility for Warren Weinstein’s kidnapping and that al-Qaeda is holding him.
Al-Qaeda released a video of Weinstein pleading with Obama to cooperate with al-Qaeda’s demands for his release.
“My life is in your hands, Mr. President,” Weinstein said in the video. “If you accept the demands, I live; if you don’t accept the demands, then I die.”
Weinstein was abducted last August in Lahore, Pakistan, after gunmen tricked his guards and broke into his home. The 70-year-old from Rockville, Maryland, is the country director in Pakistan for J.E. Austin Associates, a Virginia-based firm that advises a range of Pakistani business and government sectors.
In a video message posted on militant websites in December, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri said Weinstein would be released if the United States stopped airstrikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. He also demanded the release of all al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects around the world.
The SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant messages, said Al-Sahab, al-Qaeda’s media arm, posted the Weinstein video on jihadist forums Sunday.
“It’s important you accept the demands and act quickly and don’t delay,” Weinstein said in the video, addressing Obama. “There’ll be no benefit in delaying, it will just make things more difficult for me.”
He also appealed to Obama as a father. If the president responds to the militants’ demands, Weinstein said, “then I will live and hopefully rejoin my family and also enjoy my children, my two daughters, like you enjoy your two daughters.”
After his kidnapping, Weinstein’s company said he was in poor health and provided a detailed list of medications, many of them for heart problems, that it implored the kidnappers to give him.
In the video released Sunday, Weinstein said he would like his wife, Elaine, to know “I’m fine, I’m well, I’m getting all my medications, I’m being taken care of.”
Mr. Warren Weinstein is pleading for his life. How will President Obama respond?
Has the Global War on Terrorism simply become a political football that can be spiked or passed off depending on the political climate and whether or not there is an election at hand?