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Erm, it's not actually that easy rescuing hostages, especially if you don't know exactly what the situation is on the ground. Oh, yes, and there's the point that it's not your country and the authorities of the country where it's happened are well within their rights to try their own tactics, whether or not other countries agree with them.
Not the business of the UK to be interfering and sending forces into other countries. Imagine the same happened here and Algeria wanted to send troops in! Ha! No chance! It's only fair to give the same respect to sovereign nations that we expect from them.
Are you thinking of the French intervention in Mali? Haven't heard that there was any French operation in Algeria; all reports talk of the Algerians doing it on their own, not taking up other countries' offers of help. Offering support doesn't mean it's accepted. As others say, Algeria is a sovereign country.
DC offered our help including specialist negotiators as well as the SAS. There was a lot of concern that Algerian military didn't have the necessary expertise to handle a situation like this and that it would end in a bloodbath.
Unfortunately Algeria chose to go it alone and sent their troops in. I'd hope it was a decision made because there was no choice and due to events on the ground rather than just because they thought they'd handle it.
Unfortunately it did end in a bloodbath. I guess from Algeria's point of view, they were as likely to accept foreign help as we would allow Algerian troops into our country if terrorists invaded an oil depot in the UK. We'd naturally want to deal with it ourselves.
Algeria is, in effect, a military state. Although there is nominal democracy, the elections were neither free nor fair. I know the country well, DH is from there and we visit every year and have done so for more than a decade.
The Algerian military would have seen foreign "assistance" as a form of colonialism and would be determined to show to an outside and domestic audience that they were totally in control and prepared to use force where necessary. Do not underestimate the role of the military in Algeria, there are armed military checkpoints at regular intervals along many of the road.
The images of Bouteflika on the arabic news channels were very worrying as he looked totally lost and out of his depth, he is nothing but a figurehead. The establishment in Algeria has seen countries around it collapse into civil war and supposedly unassailable leaders like Gaddafi executed. The will have wanted to flex their muscles and not show any signs of weakness probably for domestic consumption. Remember that Algeria had a rumbling civil war of its own in the 1990's after the election result was cancelledby the army in 1992.
There is a strong suspicion amongst ex-pat Algerians that foreign criticism of this operation is muted not so much due to the war on terror but more due to the substantial international interest in the oil and gas in the country (some of which is piped directly under the Med to Europe).
I grew up in Algeria (72 to '82 ) and I agree broadly with ladygnome. Algeria is very prickly about its relationship vis a vis the West, and most of all France, the old colonial power. Basically the same gang (and their political descendants) who took power in 1962 because they had a moral legitimacy, having booted out the French, are still in power and not at all keen to move over. They will be ruthless to those who oppose them, in this case Islamist fundamentalist. The traumatic experience of colonialism means they will seek to preserve autonomy of decision and movement as much as possible. I also feel that there is a strong streak of xenophobia in Algeria, which I experienced on a regular basis when growing up there. This I think will explain why Algerian staff were told to leave, and foreigners were targeted at the plant.