The Algerian Hostage Situation

The hostage situation in Algeria has descended into chaos and Western governments are venting their criticism at the Algerian government for storming the Al Qaeda-linked hostage takers and precipitating a shootout. The Western governments might wish to reconsider the appropriateness of their judgments. For decades I labored in the world of hostage and barricade situations interviewing hostage negotiators and assault teams both here and abroad. The Western model of hostage negotiations emanates from law enforcement, specifically from a program designed by the New York City Police Department. The NYPD model was highly successful and adopted by governments through out the Western world. It was predicated on the idea that every life is valuable, hostage takers ultimately do not want to die, and success is achieved when everyone walks out alive -- including the hostage takers. Similarly, the model for dealing with airline hijacking was predicated on the idea that hijackers were not...(Read Full Article)

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