Eamon Delaney: Irish victim of a war that France is waging for Europe
NEWS that an Irishman has been kidnapped by Islamic militants in Algeria brings home just how much Ireland and its citizens are actually exposed to the ongoing 'war on terror', especially now that it has taken on a new and very European dimension with this week's French military intervention in the African country of Mali. The aim is to prevent that country's takeover by Islamic radicals.
The robust intervention, backed by a UN resolution, involves air strikes and ground troops and has been fully supported by our EU partners, Belgium, Britain, Denmark and Germany. As for the EU itself, its foreign-policy head Catherine Ashton has offered full EU 'military' assistance.
The kidnapping of the 36-year-old Irishman, from Northern Ireland, is unfortunately a direct consequence of the French – and European – action in Mali. Algeria is a neighbour of Mali and has allowed the French to use its territory for its operation. Hence, Islamic militants there have taken revenge. Although relatively peaceful now, Algeria, once ravaged by civil war, is still plagued by Islamic militants, including kidnappers, and the Irishman is one of a number of 'new' Westerners taken hostage.