For years, Europe has paid millions in ransom money to terrorist hostage takers—until they established a quasi-country in the Sahel. Now France is trying to slay the dragon it helped create. Good luck with that.
For over a decade, European governments have paid more than $130 million in ransom money to free European hostages from terrorist groups, writes Nasser Weddady in the New York Times. That money, the Mauritanian blogger and activist argues, was used to purchase weapons, bribe officials across the region and build a desert sanctuary filled with training camps for aspiring jihadis.
With such a treasure, Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) even became something of a plausible alternative to Mali’s weak government, by providing services to the desperately poor inhabitants of the Sahel region.
For years, Algerian officials had complained about the impact of ransom payments on their own security, to the point that they proposed a ban on paying ransoms to terrorists, in the United Nations General Assembly. The American Treasury Department recently sent an envoy to Europe, seeking to prevent any future ransom payments to AQIM. and a related group.
However, as things are beyond control now, European’s leaders should be responsible for slaying the monster they created. As the Moroccan proverb goes, "he who tied the knot will his hands will untie it with his teeth".
Read Nasser Weddady’s whole article on the New York Times