Basically, they attacked the kidnappers before Western governments could pay the ransoms demanded, on the understandable assumption any ransoms paid would strengthen the rebels. I don't blame them. At the same time, I suspect they'll have issues getting foreign experts to man their oil installations until security around these places is tightened up.
The WaPo is complaining today in a front page story that the Algerians ruined Obama's careful strategy for north Africa.
Washington isn't offering the Algerians enough to make them want to help:
Algiers has agreed at times, but it only approves flights on a case-by-case basis and often requires extensive advance notice, U.S. officials said. It withheld blanket permission unless Washington promises to share intelligence from the flights, including what they observe while over Algerian territory. U.S. officials said they are legally barred from doing so because of concerns that Algeria might misuse the intelligence to target people who are political opponents, not terrorists.
The Algerian military and security services have a history of brutality and extrajudicial killings. During the civil war in the 1990s, one faction of Algerian generals earned the nickname "the eradicators" for their insistence on eliminating enemies instead of negotiating.
I understand where they're coming from. A globe-straddling superpower like the US can fight for years with prodigious amounts of resources without making even a tiny dent in its economy. An economic pygmy like Algeria can't attack the problem with anywhere our resources, which means they need to resort to coercion, which will, in some cases, involve the physical extermination of tribes or factions that are attacking them.
There might also be a racial factor. Algerians may not want to help blacks to fight Arabs. The history of Algeria has been the history of slave raids into black-ruled territory. How much of that lingers is an interesting question.
Feelings also remain raw in Algeria over the NATO-led military intervention in Libya. Although the campaign successfully toppled longtime ruler Moammar Gaddafi, the United States and its NATO allies did little to contain the aftershocks.
The region was destabilized by a flood of weaponry and armed Tuareg nomads who had fought for Gaddafi but escaped across Libya's borders. Many of those mercenaries have since teamed with AQIM to take control of the northern half of Mali.
"This has just been an utter disaster. It was eminently foreseeable," the senior U.S. diplomat said of the ripple effects from Libya. "It was the infusion of that additional manpower and weapons . . . that enabled this to happen."
I can imagine them being more worried about a Western attack on them in response to a local rebellion than a few rebels in Mali. A prudent leadership would be stockpiling weaponry in preparation for Western attack instead of frittering away its resources on a situation in Mali the West cannot ignore.
[Dawn] THE sudden escalation of fighting in Mali and the involvement of many NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It's headquartered in Belgium. That sez it all.... states, with La Belle France leading, has focused world attention on West Africa. It is not just the situation in the former French colony that has prompted Western European reaction; the 41 foreigners taken hostage -- and some reportedly killed -- by Algerian cut-throats include nationals from a number of European countries. Fierce fighting is taking place in northern Mali, where local krazed killers, joined by sympathisers from other countries, have been challenging Bamako's writ, running a parallel government, destroying the country's cultural heritage and terrorising the people. The intensity of French air strikes, followed by a ground assault helped by Malian forces to take rebel-held Diabaly, show the krazed killers' tenacity and strength. Observers feel Mali could sink into a long civil war or face a Somalia-like break-up, unless French, Malian and regional forces gain a quick victory.
With Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb gaining strength, the West African region could become a powerful centre of Islamist insurgency. Those now trekking to Mali are immigrants rendered jobless after the end of the Qadaffy regime, fighters from Algeria and those loyal to Nigeria's Boko Haram ... not to be confused with Procol Harum, Harum Scarum, possibly to be confused with Helter Skelter. The Nigerian version of al-Qaeda and the Taliban rolled together and flavored with a smigeon of distinctly Subsaharan ignorance and brutality... movement. Europe's concern is that this large minerals-rich region could become a base of operation for Al Qaeda-led krazed killers. The real losers, however, are the Malian people, hundreds of thousands of whom have fled their homes in the northern area to escape Ansar Dine's atrocities. As the krazed killers' behaviour elsewhere in the world shows, it is their own people whom they persecute and turn into their enemy because of the harshness of their interpretation of religion. However, a poor excuse is better than no excuse at all... depending upon how the French conduct the war, collateral damage from air strikes could turn the people against foreign involvement, leaving them between a rock and a hard place.
I thnk the Jews of Los Angeles were not pleased by owner Tehmina Adaya's previous behaviour. If her family were going to be angered by some of them celebrating Israeli soldiers, how much more will this rankle.
According to an email sent by Arfa on Jan. 18, the Feb. 24 event at the Shangri-La will be a costume party and "a celebration of Jewish heroism in the face of Jew-hatred," taking place on the evening after Purim. At the event, Geller will receive the "Queen Esther Award for Jewish Heroism," and Spencer will be honored as "Righteous Gentile." Both are expected to attend, Arfa said.
A third award, named for Haman, the villain of the Purim story, was also announced in the Jan. 18 email; it will be presented in absentia to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, "for Jew-hating villainy."
They experienced the pleasures of living under the Left in the Old Countrie, and feel no need for a repetition, you see. But, the BBC piously hopes, their Israel-born children might lack that prejudice when they grow up.
Posted by: Mike Ramsey ||
"28. Whatever else you do, keep the initiative. In counterinsurgency, the initiative is everything. If the enemy is reacting to you, you control the environment. Provided you mobilize the population, you will win. If you are reacting to the enemy--even if you are killing or capturing him in large numbers--then he is controlling the environment and you will eventually lose. In counterinsurgency, the enemy initiates most attacks, targets you unexpectedly and withdraws too fast for you to react. Do not be drawn into purely reactive operations: focus on the population, build your own solution, further your game plan and fight the enemy only when he gets in the way. This gains and keep the initiative."