I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
Well Newshoggers has closed it's doors so Middle Earth Journal is active once again.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Algerian Account of This Week's Attack

By now everyone has heard the still breaking news from the Sahara. My questions for this weekend's Sunday talking heads are these... 
  • What will the shape of the narrative be? 
  • Will the Algerian hostage incident become the New Benghazi?
  • With a presidential inauguration happening on Monday, will our political parties close ranks or will the Loyal Opposition again turn the tragic events into another partisan pissing contest? 

Via a Twitter message from Kal here is a Google translation of this week's incident.


Get popcorn ready. Use plenty of salt.
Wednesday 16 January, a group of thirty terrorists from Libya attacked a bus carrying expatriates of various nationalities belonging to both companies as BP and Statoil JGC. The attack killed one person among the security forces, two expatriates were fatally injured, but the energetic response of the police escort, soon joined by their colleagues from the base, is retreating terrorists.
Seizing the occasion of the catastrophe in reinforcements to the base they darken the doors of the complex has several camps and the center of pumping and treatment of gas.
Arrived at the door they threaten to keep them access it. The young Amine Lahmar having trouble and refuses even to give warning before being executed by terrorists shot in the head. Door closed, the criminal group uses vehicles like car ram the gate finally gave the terrorists split into two groups, one headed for the hall site supervision, the other is the priority camps basis of Japanese JGC, they will be the first things out. Will follow a systematic tour of cottages and cabins Saharan other located in the residential area.
Realizing the magnitude of the attack operators in the control room decided to remove the pressure and shelter facilities and avoid explosions, at least one American is in the room will be immediately captured by terrorists. They give the order to restart the installation, the Algerian employees face and say no!

The hostages are sorted by nationality   Outside the base is quickly surrounded by members of the Gendarmerie, the plan assailant who wanted to flee with some hostages falls into the water, they fall back on a second time and reorganize residential area. Begin to sort hostage by nationality, Norths American, French and British are the most popular, Filipinos and Thai, many on the site are locked in their barracks, the hostages Algerians are also locked. A Tiguentourine, there are 650 workers including 132 foreigners.
An early Staff crisis is based in Algiers, including envoys of various security forces and intelligence they need to act quickly understand a preliminary data set to prevent the escape of terrorists, the destruction of the installation and recovery of all hostages. It was decided to send the assault group of GIS Algiers, they will be joined by the group assault GIS Tamanrasset. Two and two Hercules c130 Casa depart at 11am from the military airport of Boufarik, direction Amenas.
Tassili Airlines evacuates staff who was not on the site or has escaped, aircraft are dispatched to the scene very quickly and the airport is closed for Amenas saturation of parking. Biskra two MI24 Superhind depart for Amenas, transport helicopters back to their bunkers Biskra paratroopers and equipment.
A combined assault GIS-DSI-Paras   Once there, the men of the GIS are surprised to find a full detachment of DSI in full preparation. Orders were given by the upper echelons of the police to engage the assault group of "green" group very well trained but who lacked fireproof.
Gendarmes feeling guilty of failure to adjust promise the case to catch up.
Which could turn the war service was a great moment of solidarity between weapons. The idea of a combined assault GIS-DSI-Paras emerges at night.
A night of preparation and study maps of the site, which is scanned and filmed from the air by helicopters and drones Algerians, failed to accurately assess the firepower of terrorists and their reinforcement stitches .
scouts GIS seep into the site, they must be seen and attract enemy fire in order to evaluate it.Mission accomplished no problems best this action has to take the police station at the entrance to the site and release some hostages including foreigners.
A few tens of kilometers of places, the ANP force deploys a battalion of T90, probably from Batna is deployed between the site and the Libyan border, airspace is closed over the region and aviation is alert. they fear a sudden twisted from Libya.
The night allows the terrorists to prepare a strategy emerges in their place, back to the original plan, the hostages escape with the most "precious" to Libya playing back the media card. European hostages are enjoined to call their families, see their country's media to convey a message of healing and stress the need to negotiate. International pressure as fuel.Terrorists for their media contact "friends" like Al Jazeera and agencies Sahara Media ANI or who have become spokespersons of AQIM and MUJAO. The second part of the plan is to continue with a second group of hostages the abscess inside the gas complex with destruction of the site to the key.
The night passes without special forces storm does. No orders from above or no real chance, no one can say for now.
By midmorning, several groups of hostages managed to escape, the terrorists are paralyzed and do not leave their positions against them snipers will shoot without touching to mark their presence invisible and restrict the movement of "tangos". Part of foreign hostages escaped.
At midday, the terrorists prepare five Toyota Station, crammed with food and ammunition, they put in a number of hostages, all wear an explosive belt.
No injuries to deplore the side of special forces   Shortly after 13h vehicles in a convoy that started with a bang spaced darker towards the exit site and found very quickly in the no man's land separating the residential area of ​​the gas complex. Several hundred meters away, almost invisible, Mi 24 monitors the operation with powerful cameras, weapons officer ordered to destroy the convoys, the terrain is ready there is any sensitive installation near or group of civilians. The Superhind takes two, then three laser-guided missiles Ingwee on three vehicles tail exploding on the field, panicked, not seeing the fire from the terrorists head explode.
The order of attack is given no choice, the helicopter operates a shooting saturation to the residential area, there is nothing and nobody but creates a wall of fire. Simultaneously snipers GIS and Homeland unleash a volley of bullets and kill specify the fields part of the commando paratroopers pulling forward too, GIS operators take advantage of this diversion to take back to the rest of the squad being in the residential area. 11 terrorists killed are present, the base camp is totally under control. 600 hostages were released after the first assault, including hundreds of foreigners, thirty hostages are lost.
No hurt is regrettable side of special forces. The DSI offers its baptism of fire alongside some GIS operators who tracked down ten years ago the kidnappers of Swiss and German tourists in the Sahara.
At the time of writing, the second terrorist group entrenched in the gas plant is surrounded by special forces, this time favor the negotiation given the terrain. A dozen terrorists still holding twenty hostages.
Posted by secret-difa3 January 18, 2013 at 15:23
The film from the beginning of the hostage   The following story is the result of cross-checking and testimonies of former hostages, including some with a military background. The narration has been simplified for the purposes of the article. The purpose of this article is to summarize the observations of witnesses during the first day of the hostage.
We January 16, it is 5:40, it is still dark, they are thirty to emerge from the dunes to tackle bus expatriates leaving the complex and Gas Tiguentourine that goes to the airport ' Amenas.The group has miscalculated his shot that night escort is doubled, four police vehicles surround the bus, instead of the usual two. The attack is rapid, the object is achieved by bursts of large caliber, a Constable and a British national died on the spot, two Algerians were injured. The group runs the rest of the escort resistant and allows the bus to join Amenas. The group that prepared the blow, the attack complex of at least three directions, with great coordination. Their 4 × 4 are used for unforce harrows and a portal, found on the parking buses are also used for this.
After entering the site, the group split into three. The first turbines will immediately sabotage the power plant complex, then rampage auxiliary power units, the site is plunged into darkness. A second team will sabotage the communication antennas. The last group moves towards the base and target life gendarmerie camp and waters with heavy weapons and grenade launcher and many victims and will create a lot of confusion.
Once facilities sabotaged a heavily armed team is responsible for the interior of the gas processing plant, recovers the staff is there and continues sorting hostages origin. Algerians are gathered for a party in a large room in the base-life. Westerners are exempt from the eyes but some have been seen with explosive collars.
The majority of foreign terrorists is formed, different accents intersect, there are Tunisians, Egyptians, Mauritanians, Tuareg and a Syrian. They are all dressed in green uniforms similar to those of the Libyan NTC. Their equipment is impressive, all have an assault rifle, grenades, some guns details, other RPGs and anti-aircraft missiles even portable. The terrorists have mounted 12.7 mm guns on pickups they will post at strategic locations in the complex. They quickly seized Park 4 × 4 BP, they know where it is and even know where to refuel. They also have art transmission equipment, suitcases communication including satellite phones and solar panel.
The terrorists are in good physical condition, their leader speaks with an accent Tunisian speaks perfect English. He gives his men the order to rake premises for foreigners. They are determined to hunt western and Japanese. The brain of the operation is supposed clinging to his satellite phone and passes the orders.
The terrorist action was over the military operation of the guerilla action, the procedure suggests that the group of attackers had accomplices received within complex logistical support and a source well structured.
Posted by secret-difa3 Saturday, January 19 at 00:36
~~~§§§~~~
Addendum -- Here are links as I find them in an effort to see through the thick fog of non-information surrounding this event. Important events don't typically happen in such isolated places. In this case the isolation is made worse by the criminal nature of the area for miles around.
Analysis: Algerian media on In Amenas and beyond by Wided Khadraoui  Last updated: January 19, 2013
Britain, the United States, France and other countries that have nationals working at Tiguentourine gas have reacted mostly negatively to the events of Thursday and Friday. Algeria’s security forces’ attack against the terrorists, who took both Algerian and foreign nationals hostage to gain political leverage, have drawn criticism for lack of international communication. Yet, domestically the stance is mostly accommodating.
Journalists on both sides of the spectrum defend Algeria, and other sovereign nations, to act independently to domestic terrorism issues, as they see fit, pointing to the legacy of terrorism in Algeria and the international community’s indifference and occasional complaisance.
M. Koursi article for state-run El Moudjahid states the hypocrisy associated with the West’s stance towards Algeria is astounding, demanding to know why, in the case of Algeria, it is expected to “negotiate with an entity whose sole purpose is to benefit from the terms of negotiation …to expand its capacity to harm.” Koursi brought up Algeria’s role in the UN adoption of Resolution 1904 criminalizing the payment of ransom, again part of the legacy of the Black Decade in the 1990s.
From the Koursi article above...
**Google translate**
...Should we call the control tower to contact the pilot of a hijacked aircraft including bombers on board are decided in a few minutes made ​​to crash into a city? Must comply with this rule: "You can not save the life of a person against the programming of the death of thousands." Ask Algerians during the black decade, ask the Americans after the September 11 attacks, have inhabitants of Baghdad, Nairobi or Dar Es Salam, ask Malians today ... Who can answer these questions without any lingering shadow of a doubt? When a terrorist group, in time of war, a strategic investing, kills the passage of civilians and took others hostage, when the same group is trying to disperse in nature with arms and baggage, possibly trapping facilities, is - a sign it to open negotiations?...
Events are accelerating, op-ed by Omar Belhouchet, linked above.
**Google translate**
Algeria is again facing a large-scale terrorism. The attack against the complex of gas Amenas, whose importance is more emphasized, is not a trivial matter, it should not be underestimated because it takes place in the depths of Sahara and it is in direct relationship with the French intervention in Mali. She plunges the Algerians in the dark days of the 1990s. Wounds struggling to heal trauma are here! The assault Amenas purpose is to plunge Algeria in the most safe instability total of stun citizens inoculant fear and fear and detrimental to the economic interests of our country, scaring, as was the case in 1994-1995, foreign partners. Making Algeria pariah ... This is a prepared attack long. Terrorist leaders expected simply the trigger, which was due sooner or later, the Mali international intervention to operate. There will probably be other terrorist attacks on our soil that will certainly forms.
The government gives the impression of being overwhelmed by the speed of events, since the abortive takeover of Bamako Eddine Ansar AQIM and Mujao ... The Algerian public must be better informed. A full-scale war is engaged in the Sahel. Peril "jihadist" is not a figment of the imagination. It threatens us directly, as well as all African brothers in the region. Populations of this significant part of the continent are threatened by radical Islamists who seek to install a political and religious order of another age, based on a vision and foreign reactionary Islam.
They were unable to impose terror in Algeria, they try now, to realize the Sahel, particularly targeting Mali, whose state power and politics is plagued by powerful networks of traffic drugs. These terrorist groups have, it is not said enough, a considerable financial support from the Gulf. Qatar is one of the largest funders, as well as Wahhabism, through his pseudo-charitable and religious organizations. Our leaders do not quite measure these dangers to our country. The connivance and friendships circumstance must be set aside when the national interest dictates.
Faced with terrorism, what are the answers? Military solution in the case of attack Amenas is obvious, it imposes itself. But is it enough for both? Our country needs many other initiatives to not go back and relive the hell of the 1990s ...
Politically, things go in circles. Elections are ineffective because the Algerians do not give them any credibility, the results are skewed, it eventually widen further the gap between the population and the authorities. New consensus must be put in place, based on the promotion of democracy and respect for freedom and the forces of the country, sweeping definitely political Islam from the political scene, as the bearer of instability. The Algerian economy, destroyed by the informality and the bazaar, to be rebuilt, it is a priority, this is a great national cause. Agriculture, industry, but also all goods and services must have a gigantic effort. The human and financial resources available. It is the responsibility of those who govern. That Algeria is really strong, just, it must promote hope among young people ... We are entering a period of great turbulence, which requires authorities a completely different approach, a different policy ... For the good of our country .
Of all the voices on the Web competent to say anything meaningful about this area, Kal is at the top of the list. I have followed him for years and anything he says you may take to the bank. 
He's a bit dry these days, but intense, well-informed people tend to become that way. 
Some Early Algeria Perspectives on the Sahel Situation
No snips or parsing here. 
This link leads to a post of nearly five thousand words.