A Bloody Mess

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The remote In Amenas natural gas facility was the scene of a bloody battle between Algerian troops and Al Qaeda linked violent extremists called the Battalion of Blood or Signed in Blood. These extremists attacked the In Amenas gas facility on Wednesday and kidnapped dozens of foreigners. Algerian troops launched a final assault earlier today on the 19th when they believed that the kidnappers began killing the rest of the hostages. The motivation for the extremists to attack and kidnap the people in the facility was to stop France from continuing a military operation against Islamist militants in Mali. This facility supplies about 2% of Europe’s gas imports.

This final raid by Algerian troops ended the conflict, killing all of the remaining kidnappers. Many of those held captive though were also killed. Throughout the course of the siege 107 foreigners and 685 Algerian workers were freed by the Algerian military. Those kidnapped included citizens from Japan, France, Colombia, U.S. and the U.K. This latest attack has sparked concern over the increasing threat from North African terrorist groups. An official from the plant stated that he had never experienced an attack on this scale and security at other facilities in the region will have to be reviewed.

The number of extremists involved in this raid is numbered at 32. All were killed and all but three were from neighboring countries. At the site, weapons caches were found including mines, machine guns, grenades, rocket propelled grenades, missiles, and explosive belts. This would have been enough to destroy the facility.

With the globalization of the modern world it is clear that the facilities used to collect and process the resources we need to continue our energy needs will involve citizens from other countries working together under global corporations. It is still unclear as to how the hostages that were killed during the final raid actually died. Whether it was during the raid or if they were killed by the kidnappers themselves during the raid. The raid could have gone as well as possible or it could have been a complete disaster, the details have not been released. It is a clear fact though that the United States military is one of the best in the world to execute raids.

The questions that I propose are that when American citizens are taken hostage in a foreign country, should the U.S. have the right to intervene directly in order to safeguard its citizens? What current legal justification would you use to support it? If there is none, could the current law be interpreted in such a way as to allow it as we have done with drone strikes in Pakistan?


Financial Times

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