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Message Subject Watch as it Develops - The Staged War Against Islamists in Northern Mali
Poster Handle Anonymous Coward
Post Content
Why Algeria Doesn't Negotiate w/ Terrorists -

...Algeria's experience with Islamist insurgency during the 1990s defines its response to events today. During that conflict, a debate emerged within the Algerian government about how to deal with the violent Islamists. One side favored a negotiated solution. The other, known as the eradicateurs, said killing the Islamists was the only approach. The eradicateurs won -- and they still remain in the drivers seat in today's Algeria....

The heart of all Algerian policies is the preservation of the Algerian state -- maintaining the sanctity of its sovereignty, defending the viability of its economy, and ensuring the safety of its citizens, all with a vision not just to the day-to-day but to the longer run. By attacking the In Amenas facility, the militants struck at these core interests, provoking an overwhelming response from the Algerian government.

Algiers not only wanted to show unequivocally that it has a monopoly on the use of force, it was also obliged to protect the goose that lays its golden eggs. The hydrocarbon sector is the backbone of Algeria's economy, accounting for more than 95 percent of export earnings. Any attack on oil and gas facilities was thus not just an attack on the energy sector but on the country's basic well-being. Hydrocarbon revenues pays for subsidies on basic foodstuffs, fuel, and housing -- any reduction in earnings, therefore, could undermine social stability and political stability.

How Algeria responded to In Amenas was also not just an answer to the particular crisis, but was a signal for the future. If this attack was intended as a game changer, if it was intended to be a harbinger of future attacks, then Algeria had to send a clear signal that the new tactic that would not succeed...

[link to www.foreignpolicy.com]
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