January 20, 2013
The Independent

Algeria: The Slaughter of the Good and Bad Utterly Predictable

by Robert Fisk

The Algerian army, we were told by the usual suspects this afternoon - on French television as well as in America - "are not soft on terrorists" and had "expertise" in "fighting terrorism". Too true - but only half the truth. Because they are not "soft" on hostages either. They are as ruthless with captives as they are with captors.

The slaughter of the good and the bad at the In Amenas gas plant yesterday was thus utterly predictable, because the Algerian military - the real rulers of the nation - were "blooded" in a civil war which taught them to care as little about the innocent as they did about the guilty. . . .


Gillo Pontecorvo, "The Battle Of Algiers," 1966

"Mali: Another Imperialist "Success" Story?," The Wisdom Fund, March 25, 2012

["In the long term, France has interests in securing resources in the Sahel - particularly oil and uranium, which the French energy company Areva has been extracting for decades in neighboring Niger," said Sold.--Rachel Baig, "The interests behind France's intervention in Mali,", January 16, 2013]

Craig Whitlock, "Algerian stance spoils U.S. strategy for region,", January 18, 2013

[Another Algerian jihadist group just attacked an important state gas installation in revenge for France's assault on Mali.--Eric Margolis, "On To Timbuktu II,", January 18, 2013]

[As the bloody siege of the part BP-operated In Amenas gas plant in Algeria came to an end, the British prime minister claimed, like George Bush and Blair before him, that the country faced an "existential" and "global threat" to "our interests and way of life". . . .

The idea that jihadists in Mali, or Somalia for that matter, pose an existential threat to Britain, France, the US or the wider world is utter nonsense.--Seumas Milne, "Mali: the fastest blowback yet in this disastrous war on terror,", January 22, 2013]

[Thus, the first 100 US military "advisers" are being sent to Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Togo and Ghana - the six member-nations of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that will compose an African army tasked (by the United Nations) to reconquer (invade?) the parts of Mali under the Islamist sway of AQIM, its splinter group MUJAO and the Ansar ed-Dine militia. This African mini-army, of course, is paid for by the West.

Students of the Vietnam War will be the first to note that sending "advisers" was the first step of the subsequent quagmire. . . .

But the Oscar for Best Hypocritical Scenario certainly goes to the current French-Anglo-American concern about Mali being the new al-Qaeda playground, when the major playgrounds are actually NATO-supported northern Syria (as far as the Turkish border), north Lebanon and most parts of Libya.

. . . political science professor Ahmed Adimi described the intervention as an attempt to "undermine Algeria" and a "step in a plan for the installation of foreign forces in the Sahel region".--Pepe Escobar, "War on terror forever,", January 23, 2013]

[Belmokhtar has spoken of the struggle against disbelief - in other words, us, the West - the importance of Islamic law and the Islamic project in northern Mali. He is too canny a man not to have realised that Mali's torment springs from the decades-long northern Tuareg-Berber-Arabophone refusal to be governed by a black administration in the south, but he was drawn - like Bin Laden in Afghanistan - into a land where centralised power was weak or non-existent. While human rights groups recorded ferocious Islamist punishments - executions, amputations, the oppression of women; the list is familiar - he spoke of a sharia which fed the poor, created justice between Muslims, and equal rights.--Robert Fisk, "Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the new face of al-Qa'ida,", January 24, 2013]

[Belmokhtar was known as a "man of honor," one of the western-financed jihadists who went to battle the Soviets and their communist allies in Afghanistan in the 1980's and 90's. He returned to his native Algeria, minus an eye lost in combat, and, with his fellow "Afghani," sought to overthrow Algeria's western-backed military regime, a major oil and gas supplier to France.--Eric Margolis, "Oh No! Not Another Osama!,", January 26, 2013]

Josh Layton, "Algerian gas plant siege mastermind 'killed by Chadian forces in Mali',", March 2, 2013]

Robert Fisk, "Another 'sham' election is over, so what now for Algeria?,", April 21, 2014

[The six-year Algerian war for independence, in which perhaps a million and a half Arab Muslims and many thousands of French men and women died, remains an unending and unresolved agony for both peoples.--Robert Fisk, "Charlie Hebdo: Paris attack brothers' campaign of terror can be traced back to Algeria in 1954,", January 9, 2015]

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