Posted on 01/18/2013 by Juan
Reuters reports that the Algerian government’s intervention against the hostage crisis at a BP natural gas plant in southern Algeria has left 30 of the hostages dead. British Prime Minister David Cameron seemed visibly upset with the hamfisted Algerian operation, and British foreign ministry officials complained about not having been warned the operation was coming.
The relatively secular-minded Algerian elite brutally crushed Muslim fundamentalist movements of the 1990s, leaving tens of thousands of people dead in a dirty war. This heavy-handed military raid, which inadvertently got over two dozen of the hostages killed, has to be pronounced a failure.
In the no-man’s land of southern Algeria, for a very long time tribes, criminals, smugglers and desert fundamentalists have had free rein. Since the BP gas plant produces 10% of Algeria’s annual export income, you would think Algiers would bother to provide it with some security.