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    RUSSIAN ANALYST PREDICTS MORE HOSTAGE-TAKING IN IRAQ

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    MOSCOW, April 13 (RIA Novosti) - Hostage-taking in Iraq will go on. Such is the forecast of Alexei Arbatov, President of Russia's International Security Center and a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

    As long as the escalation of violence in Iraq continues, there will be more instances of host-taking, Arbatov said, describing the current situation as a stalemate.

    "In Iraq, a guerrilla war with elements of terrorism is unfolding. Hostage-taking has become a routine practice. And although it didn't support the U.S.-led invasion, Russia has found itself drawn into the conflict. By just being in the zone of such violence and such chaos, one may involuntarily get in the epicenter of such events. That is, we've actually found ourselves between the rock and the hard place," Arbatov pointed out.

    "Terrorists and Moslem extremists don't really care who's in front of them-Americans or Russians. These are all infidels to them. This is why our nationals must be advised against [inessential] trips to Iraq. And those currently in the conflict zone must be evacuated, except for the ambassadorial staff," said the analyst.

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