Seven Americans Among Hostages Captured In Algeria In Retaliation Over French Mali Incursion

Tyler Durden's picture

Just because the endless Israel vs Iran foreplay seems to no longer be exciting the world as much as it did all throughout 2010, 2011 and 2012 when military action seemed imminent over and over, it appears the world has a new geopolitical tension point: the recent incursion into Mali by French (and soon many other) forces, to protect "European interests" against "extremists" operating in the North, and as a corollary - the retaliation by the locals against Western Democratic powers. At least such is the simplistic plot line. Sure enough moments ago Reuters reported that islamist militants attacked a gas field in Algeria on Wednesday, claiming to have kidnapped up to 41 foreigners including seven Americans in a dawn raid in retaliation for France's intervention in Mali, according to regional media reports. The raiders were also reported to have killed three people, including a Briton and a French national. Subsequent reports indicate that the Algerian captives have been let go, and that this is purely an escalation against the invaders, an act which the US state department will harshly condemn at a 1pm press conference, and likely use as a catalyst to unleash US forces in the air or on the ground, to support the French campaign which at last check was going horribly.

The attack took place in the gas field in Amenas, Alegeria, operated by a joint venture of BP, Statoil and the Algerian state company Sonatrach, presented below (via Google Maps)

And just so the average American is up to speed, the keyword "Al Qaeda" has been unleashed. One assumes this is a different Al Qaeda than the one organizing and coordinating the Syrian opposition activities against the local government which the US is also not a fan of.

From Reuters:

An al Qaeda affiliated group said the raid had been carried out because of Algeria's decision to allow France to use its air space for attacks against Islamists in Mali, where French forces have been in action against al Qaeda-linked militants since last week.

The attack in southern Algeria also raised fears that the French action in Mali could prompt further Islamist revenge attacks on Western targets in Africa, where al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) operates across borders in the Sahara desert, and in Europe.

AQIM said it had carried out Wednesday's raid on the In Amenas gas facility in Algeria, Mauritania's ANI news agency reported.

The Algerian interior ministry said: "A terrorist group, heavily armed and using three vehicles, launched an attack this Wednesday at 5 a.m. against a Sonatrach base in Tigantourine, near In Amenas, about 100 km (60 miles) from the Algerian and Libyan border."

The gas field is operated by a joint venture including BP , Norwegian oil firm Statoil and Algerian state company Sonatrach.

BP said armed men were still occupying facilities at the gas field.

"The site was attacked and occupied by a group of unidentified armed people at about 0500 UK time. Contact with the site is extremely difficult, but we understand that armed individuals are still occupying the In Amenas operations site," it said.

Algeria's official APS news agency said a Briton and an Algerian security guard had been killed and seven people were injured. A French national was also killed in the attack, a local source said.

Also among those reported kidnapped by various sources were five Japanese nationals working for the Japanese engineering firm JGC Corp, a French national, an Irishman, a Norwegian and a number of Britons.

A member of an Islamist group styling itself the "Blood Battalion" was quoted by Mauritanian media as saying that five of the hostages were being held at the gas facility and 36 were in a housing area. APS said the Islamist raiders had freed Algerians working at the gas facility.

"The operation was in response to the blatant interference by Algeria and the opening of its air space to French aircraft to bomb northern Mali," the Islamist spokesman told Mauritania's ANI news agency.

ANI, which has regular direct contact with Islamists, said that fighters under the command of Mokhtar Belmokhtar were holding the foreigners.

Belmokhtar for years commanded al Qaeda fighters in the Sahara before setting up his own armed Islamist group late last year after an apparent fallout with other militant leaders.

The Algerian army was in the area of the gas facility, according to French and Algerian sources.

The attack was the first time in years that Islamist militants are known to have launched an attack on an Algerian energy facility.

The attack could have implications for security across the whole of Algeria's energy sector, which supplies about a quarter of Europe's natural gas imports and exports millions of barrels of crude oil each year.

Such an attack would require a large and heavily-armed insurgent force with a degree of freedom to move around -- all elements that al Qaeda has not previously had.

However, the conflict in neighbouring Libya in 2011 changed the balance of force. Security experts say al Qaeda was able to obtain arms, including heavy weapons, from the looted arsenals of former leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Statoil, a minority shareholder in the gas venture, said it had 17 employees at the plant and four of them had been evacuated. The company declined to comment on the other 13.

The five Japanese work for the engineering firm JGC Corporation, Jiji news agency reported, quoting company officials. JGC has a deal with Sonatrach-BP-Statoil Association for work in gas production at In Amenas.

A reporter for Japan's NHK television managed to call a JGC worker in Algeria.

The worker said he got a phone call from a colleague at the gas field. "It was around 6 a.m. this morning. He said that he had been hearing gunshots for about 20 minutes. I wasn't able to get through to him since."

French troops launched their first ground operation against Islamist rebels in Mali on Wednesday in an action to dislodge from a strategic town al Qaeda-linked fighters who have resisted six days of air strikes.

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THE DORK OF CORK's picture

Well I think I was perhaps the only zero hedge guy these past few months pointing to major French investment in Algeria & indeed oil poor Morocco.............

The French banks & corporations are using fleeing Spanish and other PIig funds to create another wage arbitrage zone - screwing their home workers in the process  - all so as to keep the Euro monetary monster alive.


I think China imports are going the way of the Dodo for Europe given possible future monetary events.

They need cheap labour closer to the Euro banking centres but not in those banking base of operations.



Debeachesand Jerseyshores's picture

Time to que up the "War Drums" again.More drone attacks and award winning films to be made on behalf of "perpetual war" against "moslem terrorists".

Mad Mohel's picture

In an oil field, imagine that.

azzhatter's picture

No surrender yet?

Base's picture

OF COURSE they are 'Al Queda affiliated'.  That is code for 'now we can do whatever the hell we want, whereever the hell we want, whenever the hell we want, and dont even need to pretend to ask Congress or the UN'

Seer's picture


If people believe that this is really France's play...

Anyone remember Vietnam?

US and France have been tag-teaming for a LONG time.


From 2008:

Government of Mali Hosts Military Exercise in Bamako, Mali

From 2012:


Arthur Borges's picture

Throughout the bloody period of criss-crossing/overlapping insurgencies that arose in the 1990s, it was as peaceful as a graveyard on Christmas Eve out in the southern oilfields and facilities.

americanspirit's picture

Those raghead terrorists. When are they going to learn that they can't win? Superior firepower and training will always prevail, just like they always have.

So Algeria supplies 25% of Europe's natural gas, and Russia supplies how much of the rest? What could possibly go wrong here?

otto skorzeny's picture

firepower and training didn't work out so well in the 'Nam

SmallerGovNow2's picture

Nor Somalia which this area closely resembles...

ronaldawg's picture

Really?  Which battles did we lose in Vietnam?  We had a kill ratio of 20 dead enemy combatants to one of ours.

roadhazard's picture

Dropping explosives in the sand is more like farting under the covers than Shock&Awe*.

americanspirit's picture

Did I really need to add a /sarc tag? Guess so.

Squid Vicious's picture

I say re-colonize both countries and turn Timbuktu into a Disney theme park... with discounted Freedom Fries

LeisureSmith's picture

I bet the ransom will be substantial and underreported. Somali style land-pirates.

roadhazard's picture

They don't make pirates like they use to.

youngman's picture

I hope we get another pretty War Room Presidental Photo...those are so nice....

THE DORK OF CORK's picture

The crisis in the european car industry is a result of car companies outsourcing production (the car parts rather then car assembly industry remains a relatively labour intensive industry)

No wages and no bank credit means a drop in car production / consumption.

However a return to the Franc will mean workers cannot afford expensive large diesel cars where there is the greatest margin.

The French car industry is in a catch 22.


Its Francs and petrol 2CVs or total collapse............... the cars and banks are pushing the edge of the monetary envelope so as to maintain their position of power over workers.


War is a racket


 "Industrial Co-Localization"

The business of these banking  /industrial corporations / Medusas is extraction of labour value and nothing more.

CheapBastard's picture

"They're jealous of our freedoms," that's all.

djsmps's picture

In the 2013 edition of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, the name of the main adversary to the Party has been changed to Emmanuel Alqaedastein.

Monedas's picture

More face time for Hillary !    Mute The Mulatto .... clean for three days .... did not listen to the Obama/Biden patty cake announcement .... this is the easiest thing I've ever done .... take the pledge .... mute the mulatto !

AnAnonymous's picture

Going to be interesting.

US Americans, through Algeria, were pushing hard to achieve a partition of Mali, with the creation of a new independent Nation State, the Azawad, with the obvious goal of resetting every national contract, as it was done previously in many other cases.

Apparently, the rebels in Mali double crossed everyone, their US American allies and their Algerian friends by launching a full scale assault on the south.

In order to keep the face, both 'america' and Algeria were forced to take measures. One being removing more or less ostensibly the support to the rebels.

Who did not like to appreciate the back stabbing.

'Americanism' at work.

'Americans' vs 'americans'

Going to be fun. Wont stop 'americans' from wasting money on their disastrously poor entertainment items as they have to perform the 'american' duty of consumption, but it is going to be fun, treachery, holier than you, I am saving humanity, not myself typical 'american' attitudes...

Stay tuned.

NoDebt's picture

I bet it's much easier to drum up a war in an African nation than it is to try to drag a NATO country into one across the Syrian border.  Especially if it's a war against "terrorists".

This whole Mali thing came so totally out of the blue it's got "manufactured event" practically stamped on it.  Anyone from down Mali way want to look out their window and see if any of this is actually going on?


AnAnonymous's picture

This whole Mali thing came so totally out of the blue it's got "manufactured event" practically stamped on it.

Coming out of the blue? Sure, sure. It has only been brewing since the 'american' intervention in Libya.

Manufactured? Yes, it is a direct consequence of the intervention in Libya by 'americans'.

Jack Burton's picture

The Libyan war has resulted directly in the new Mali conflict. The USA and NATO bombed heavily to achieve victory for rebel forces and destroy the government and country of Libya. It is no longer a nation, but a vast set of competing ethnic groups and tribes, many run by warlords well loaded up on arms taken from Libyan army stores looted after the war.

Many Mali rebels were fighters in the Libyan war but were driven out when the pro USA elements won control of some parts of Libya.

France has interests in the area as this is where French businesses are outsourcing and resource extracting. Plus the French fancy themselves a world power and are itching for a place to bomb and send in special forces and the Foreign Legion. Mali fits the bill, and being close to Algeria a country France is deeply invested in, France see many reasons to fight.

Al-Qaeda is now a dual force. 1 force is used by NATO as a force to attack anti NATO countries like Syria and Libya before it. Once Al-Qaeda wins, then the west is stuck with both pro USA elements and anti USA elements. The Benghazi attack was blow back from anti USA Al-Qaeda. Oddly, the US folks killed were operating a pro Al-Qaeda recruiting station for Jihadists seeking arms and transport to Syria to wage Jihad against a secular government under Assad. So the US has to always watch it's back, not knowing if it's Al-Qaeda allies might prove to contain anti US elements. Al-Qaeda is not a formal organization, they are a rag tag bunch of Jihadists willing to either fight or support the USA depending on what today's goals are. Killing Assad is a goal, so they take US support.

Seer's picture

Refer to my above post as to whether this is "out of the blue" or not...

Joe moneybags's picture

My prediction:  In about 12 months, we'll finally see one of those 0-dark-thirty rescue raids.  Until then, we'll have hand-wringing and secret negotiations with non-responsible people.

AnAnonymous's picture

One point that the article unsurprisingly failed to mention.

The raiders did not cross borders from Mali but wait for it, wait for it, from the newly turned American nation state of ... Libya.

Yes, you've got it: Libya. The 'american' nation in the area.

'Americanism' is as 'american' does.

Going to be fun. Fun, fun, fun.

j0nx's picture

Oh well. They knew the risks being over there. Vaya con Dios fellas.

myptofvu's picture

Just give us a few weeks and we will come up with 23 Executive Orders to decisively deal with this issue.

F. Bastiat's picture

If Benghazi is any indication, Hussein Obama will leave Americans behind at every opportunity.

Jack Burton's picture

How many Marines did Reagan leave behind in Lebanon? Hundreds!

Benghazi is a FOX news talking point, and a joke. Al_qaeda blow back from a policy FOX supports 100%. FOX wants war on Iran. FOX wants war on Syria. FOX wants war on China. FOX wants war on Russia. FOX want Israel to be the sole ruler of America. Fuck FOX, and Fuck their stupid attempt to make Benghazi anything more than a failed attempt to funnel Al-Qaeda to war in Syria, which FOX supports.

This is a joke, and really getting lame.

Totentänzerlied's picture

FOX and every other MSM mouthpiece, and the entire leadership of the US government, and every central banker and financier on the planet.

ronaldawg's picture

Oooh - The JOOS thing again - and check out the name - how cute.

earnyermoney's picture

LOL, Blaming Fox for HillayBarry's foreign policy. That's rich. Hillary and Barry will reap what they sowed all over Northern Africa and the Levant.

Seer's picture

For your information, Party Pussy, FOX has been pushing war WAY before Barry got in to office.  Not like that would have concerned you, of course (go Red Team!).

falak pema's picture

the libyan caper has now got the whole of Sahel into the new world order face off started with the Bush senior NWO declaration of 1991.

What the west has sown it will now continue to reap. 

We are now into deep regression; as corpo fascism faces up to religious fascism. Those who will lose in this ominous new beginnings of "controlled regional wars", to globalise the corpocracy control of world resources, are the people.

Alexander Dumas created a wonderful motto : all for one one for all. It was romanticising the legacy of Battle of Valmy revolution theme of a united people. The old Euro world was supposed to change from then on. It went the other way with Napoleon...

The fall of the Berlin Wall was supposed to herald in a new age of non totalitariian values, like in 1789-1792 days the enlightenment. 

It ended in NWO and globalised Corpocracy : one for all all for one is now re-interpreted as 99% of world ressouces for 1% globalists and 1% of world ressouces for 99% of sheeple population. 

And Algeria like Mali have now got sucked into the global economic standoff hiddden behind the ideological smoke screen of "war against terrorism". What does terrorism mean?

Ask Ho chi Minh; He fought it for thirty years, albeit using populist terrorism to fight colonial variety. And we learnt nothing from that tragedy...

TheGardener's picture

"1789-1792 days the enlightenment."

I hear you, always had you on my watch list.

falak pema's picture

have u found a rare plant? 

TheGardener's picture

"1789-1792 days the enlightenment."

I hear you, always had you on my watch list.

q99x2's picture

If they were bankers leave them.

youngman's picture

To me this is france´s baby...i think Algerians can go to France as it used to be a passport needed...and they will flood into France again...if AQ takes France has to stop the stampede...but they will ask for help of course....they will just want to lead..not get their hands dirty

roadhazard's picture

Thank God we will just be, "helping the French" for the next ten years.

jldpc's picture

I have several questions: If I declare myself an al Qaeda affiliated group (isn't everyon doing it), will I get really noticed and become famous and then rich? If not, why not? Hey I can run outdoors in the street and wave my various lead spitting weapons in the air, and jump up and down, and screm Alla Ackbar, so why not? I can even then  - after the reporters show up with live TV cameras - spout my grievances (ex-wives, snotty spoiled children), and my 7th century personal religious dogma that I want to impose on my neighbors. Can I be labeled a "terrorist"; I mean what is a terorrist anyway.? I want to be one, I want to be rich and famous. I am tired of just being a nobody, and poor at that.

Seer's picture

You'll have packages showered upon you! (from very efficient small flying machines, but that's just a little detail)

jldpc's picture

I have several questions: If I declare myself an al Qaeda affiliated group (isn't everyon doing it), will I get really noticed and become famous and then rich? If not, why not? Hey I can run outdoors in the street and wave my various lead spitting weapons in the air, and jump up and down, and screm Alla Ackbar, so why not? I can even then  - after the reporters show up with live TV cameras - spout my grievances (ex-wives, snotty spoiled children), and my 7th century personal religious dogma that I want to impose on my neighbors. Can I be labeled a "terrorist"; I mean what is a terorrist anyway.? I want to be one, I want to be rich and famous. I am tired of just being a nobody, and poor at that.

jplotinus's picture

Wait. Isn't it a tad foreseeable that if you're wanting to bomb the beejeezus out of poorly defended desert countries in Africa and if you have nationals and/or mining interests you are unfairly exploiting in the neighboring desert, that said interests will be attacked, raided, sabotaged and hostages taken?

Just askin' :-/

rsnoble's picture

That's the captured Americans fault  for being outside of fantasyland and having their hands in bullshit they shouldn't.  "Oh the poor starving Africans"????  Please assholes, what about the poor starving Americans?  It's all a fucking joke.