Published on 18 Jan 2013

Cameron on Algeria and Africa’s ‘ungoverned space’

On some levels David Cameron’s statement to the Commons lowered the scale of the tragedy in Algeria and the level of diplomatic friction with the Algiers government.

The number of UK citizens unaccounted for is lower than once feared (“significantly lower” than the “up to 30” once feared) and the PM acknowledged that the Algerian government had “disappointed” him by going ahead with an attack on the jihadists without prior notice but wanted to “show understanding” for the situation the government had to deal with.

This could be an attempt to make sure that relations with Algeria don’t deteriorate at a time when the government wants their co-operation to deal with the aftermath of the hostage-taking.

On another level, much bigger issues were thrown up by Mr Cameron’s description of the great “ungoverned space” in the region and the “large existential threat” that represents.

It begs all sorts of questions about where UK and other western involvement in the region might go, especially if al-Qaeda sympathisers looked like posing any sort of threat to Nigeria. Watch this ungoverned space.

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2 reader comments

  1. Teresa Harding says:

    Cameron&Sarkosy share some of the ultimate responsibility for this because they contributed to the destabilisation of Libya. Cameron in his role as ‘armchair warrior’ could not wait to send in NATO missiles to topple Gadaffi and now look what has happened.Libya trashed, black Libyans lynched and fundamentalists spilling into Mali and terrorising local population

  2. Dr C.G says:

    There is an article by Jeremy Keenan ( London University) in the December 2012 New Internationalist describing some of the background to this current crisis. If it is true then the US and Algerian governments with the complicity of other Western governments are responsible for a lot more than the destabilisation of Libya .The article suggests that Mokhtar Ben Mokhtar is either an agent of or closely connected to the DRS (the Algerian Regime’s secret intelligence service).This article makes me pose the question as to who exactly was responsible for the hostage taking and why .

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