The Algerian Interior Ministry stated that,
"To avoid a bloody turn of events in response to the extreme danger of the situation, the army's special forces launched an intervention with efficiency and professionalism to neutralize the terrorist groups that were first trying to flee with the hostages and then blow up the gas facilities."On first reading the statement sounds absurd. The Minister talks about executing an operation with "efficiency" and "professionalism" that resulted in the hostages being killed along with their Al Qaeda kidnappers. On closer reading, however, it is a perfectly accurate description of the attitude most of the world has towards hostages and hostage-takers.
A small number of countries, e.g., the US, the UK, Israel, Australia, have police and military special forces trained to resolve hostage situations with an emphasis on getting the hostages back alive. That is not the case in most of the world. In most of the world the emphasis is similar to what the Russians did in "resolving" the October 2002 hostage crisis in Moscow's Dubrovka Theater. As you will remember a band of some 40 Chechin terrorists seized the theater and held several hundred persons hostage. After some three days of "negotiations,"Russian Special Forces (Spetsnaz) intervened, pumping in gas, and shooting. They killed the kidnappers and about 130 hostages. There was a similar result in the even more bloody September 2004 Beslan hostage taking in which Chechen Islamists took over a school. Again, the Russians intervened with brute force killing all the Chechens but also over 300 hostages, including children. In the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Israel or a handful of other civilized countries, that sort of result would have proven totally unacceptable. In most of the world, however, that is a success. The objective of these operations is to kill the hostage-takers, and end the embarrassment and threat they pose to the government. Once the hostages fall into the hands of the crazies, they are written off. The thinking is brutal and simple, "I don't care about the hostages you have. You have no bargaining chip. I am going to kill you." For those who think like that, the events I have listed were not "botched" at all: they were great successes.
The events in Algeria also bring up, yet again, the consequences of the bizarre US and European policies in North Africa. Our overthrow of Qaddafi, at the behest of the EU, and our support for the overthrow of Mubarak have produced a disaster that is spreading throughout North Africa and even into Sub-Saharan Africa. The virus of Berserker Islam is spreading throughout the region. The once-effective counters to it, the unpleasant Mubarak and Muammar "Margarita of the Magreb" Qaddafi, are now gone. Our policy of seeking out defeat and throwing away victory is bearing fruit.
Welcome to Obama's world. Can't wait for the next four years.