Algerian officials have been trying to push a myriad of narratives on last week’s hostage crisis, including claims that the attackers planned to blow up the entire facility with everyone within as an attempt to ameliorate their own air strikes against the compound, which killed many hostages.
Today’s allegations, however, get right to the core of Algeria’s policy interests, claiming that they have confessions from the handful of captured attackers that they were involved in the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.
“This is the result of the Arab Spring,” one official noted, adding “I hope the Americans are conscious of this.” The confessions were thrown into immediate doubt by the fact that they were likely obtained under duress by Algeria’s notoriously brutal security forces.
Algeria is one of the many nations where a brutal dictatorship is seen under threat of popular uprising, and its neighbors Tunisia and Libya were two of the most high profile cases where rulers were ousted by uprisings, albeit in two very different circumstances.
So while tying the attacks to the Mali invasion would be easier, since the attackers openly admitted that was why they did so, the Algerian government sees making this about the Arab Spring as another chance to press the international community to come on board and openly oppose pro-democracy revolutions as a threat to their interests in Africa.