The French (former) Hostages Mystery solved, theory one
Via Eric of ¡No Pasarán!
[Mohamed al-Joundi] forsook Syria for Iraq a short time after Hafez al-Assad’s régime forced the party’s founders, including Michel Aflaq, into exile in 1963. In Baghdad, he became an employee in the party of Saddam Hussein, whom he still calls ‘president’. His contacts at the heart of the fallen régime interested the two French reporters who were investigating ‘the Iraq resistance’.
Theory #1: Two French journalists hire Ba’athist Syrian with “contacts at the heart of the fallen régime”. Said contacts see fund-raising opportunity. Fund-raising delays ensue. The rest is history.