The story thus far: the jihadis try to take over Mali, a land-locked country in Northern Africa. They're consolidating rule over the northern part and streaming into the south when the French get involved. To avoid taking on the French directly, they invade Algeria and take hostages at an oil refinery.
For a start, it only reinforces the general perception throughout Africa and the West that the rebel fighters are savages who must be resisted, while doing little to undermine the French will to stay on the offensive. More significantly, this criminal act risks widening the number of enemies the rebels must face. By violating Algerian sovereignty, the Malian Islamists risk drawing into the conflict against them the Algerian armed forces, which repressed an Islamist uprising on their own soil in the 1990s with considerable brutality and effectiveness. And by kidnapping Americans, they could well lead to the deployment of U.S. Special Operations Forces to rescue the hostages and assist the French. Thus the rebels have actually handed a gift to their enemies.
Hostages include Japanese, Britons, French, Americans, Malaysians and Norwegians (Good news: 20 hostages have already escaped) -- helping prompt international support to wipe out the savages that...More >>