IN TAKING hostages, Saddam Hussein gained nothing but an extra measure of scorn. In releasing hostages, Hussein should be allowed to gain nothing at all.
Hussein's quest for gain won't end with humanitarian posturing. Because his invasion of Kuwait and release of hostages came before any new United Nations action on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Hussein undoubtedly will claim credit there.
He is capable of unilaterally declaring that his actions have reinforced U.N. concern for the Palestinians. And even if U.N. action has no practical effect, Hussein can -- after saving face by declaring himself vindicated and a hero of the Palestinians -- withdraw from Kuwait.
Hussein doesn't care about the Palestinians. Neither do most of the other Arab leaders, except insofar as the Palestinians are a weapon against Israel.