First of all, there is no law that allows kidnapping innocent people, and forcing their families or countries to pay ransoms in exchange for their release. Many people might say that Algeria was right when it decided not to deal with abductors of innocent people who required a ransom in exchange for the release of their hostages, especially that Algeria is a country that has suffered – and still does – from terrorism. The Algerian position is understandable; the country is under great pressure from the countries of victims abducted on its territory. Therefore, it is obliged to find a solution to this problem. The Algerian declaration means that Algeria is not concerned at all by paying ransoms, and that it has no responsibility with regard to the financial aspect because it is well aware that any ransom paid to the terrorist groups means pumping money in the funds of terrorist organizations, which will ultimately result in more terrorism.
The Algerian position might be accepted and understood, but let’s deal with the problem from another angle. The victims are usually not Algerian nationals, and as the Arab proverb goes, the crying is not like the bereaved. Let’s consider the issue from the victim’s perspective, when a person is put in a basement or a hole and feels that she no longer controls her destiny, and that her life is between the hands of someone else. Let’s move on to the victim’s country, especially if the public opinion and human rights have a considerable weight there, is it easy for a country to receive one of its nationals in a coffin?
It’s difficult to offset, preventing ransom payment threatens the hostages’ lives, but it also undermines the terrorist groups in the medium and long term, and may even help to weed them out.
Isn’t there a solution to this dilemma which may become a real threat that jeopardizes the safety of all peoples without exception? Some might believe that this is an overstated intimidation, but can’t we compare that to what is happening in Somalia, which has allowed those who did not experience the phenomenon of sea piracy that disappeared centuries ago, to witness it closely again. Who said that “history does not repeat itself”?
The Great Sahara located between a number of countries is a dangerous area. We must be courageous today to say that the Saharan region has a long-dated political problem that contributed largely to the absence of stability, because at a time when controlling the region requires cooperation between countries, we find the borders between Morocco and Algeria closed since a long time ago, giving terrorist organizations the ability to manoeuvre largely. This ability may increase in the case of applying the non-realistic solution advocated by Algeria, and which would turn the entire region into an oasis of instability where terrorism is king. The best way out lies first in finding a solution for the Sahara issue, and cooperation between all peace-loving nations of the world, in order to inject new blood in the big Arab Maghreb project that is enough to convert the region into a castle above which the flag of peace and security flies.
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