The puppet stooges who make up the (ahem!) "sovereign" Iraqi government have long been gnawing at the strings that hold them aloft. Now they have seized 31 hostages, including two US citizens. The hostages will only be released when the US government cedes additional power to the stooges.
Ever little bit helps... This is how the game is played, and the Iraqis are very good at it. Most people in Washington still haven't figured out what's going on, and the rest can't do anything about it anyway.
Hey, Yanqui! You want an Oil Law? First give me a few million dollars for all my cousins. What? We had a deal? I think you misunderstood me.
No wait, that's not what the story said, is it? No, no, I must be completely wrong.