Falconry, an ancient cultural heritage arising around 2,000 BC in Mongolia or Central Asia, is alive and well in the Mideast. In fact, mid Eastern nations predominate in the United Nations listing of Falconry as Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Mid Eastern falconry made BBC news reports today as more evidence from a 2015 terrorist kidnapping incident came to light. In 2015, a group of 28 Qatari citizens, Royal family members among them, traveled with their falcons to southern Iraq, where, reportedly, favorite prey of the Sakara falcon — the Houbara bustard– then abounded.

Mid eastern sakara falcon (Wikipedia Commons)

Alarmingly, terrorists invaded the Qatari camp and held the group hostage eighteen months, allegedly until ransom was paid.

Sheikh Muhammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, newly appointed foreign minister, received a list of hostages taken and immediately recognized the names of two Royal family relatives. It fell to the new Qatari emissary to Iraq, Zayed al-Kayareen to handle the tense negotiations.

Meanwhile, the kidnappers stowed the Royal family members in a windowless prison cell, providing minimal sustenance. When the men emerged some sixteen months later, they had lost approximately 50% of their body weight.

Mid Eastern desert falconer (Creative Commons)

Read the full article here.

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