Having survived the harsh conditions of the desert and peacefully and coexisting alongside the local populations for centuries, the current political instability and its consequences is yet another stress to this elephant population, already at the limit of its endurance.
What does this mean for us? Well, it's both good and bad. It's good because the extreme ideology of the group likely contributed to its downfall in Mali. It's bad because calls for pragmatism -- which would moderate its more severe violence -- may fall short.
Whilst equipment, intelligence, training and support from American, British and French special forces will add steel to the operation, it will nevertheless involve difficult desert fighting conditions against a well-armed enemy.
To understand why the U.S. sees Algeria as such an attractive solution to North African and Saharan instability, and to understand how many Algerians view their own country, it is useful to sketch a rough portrait.
As Algeria allows the detention of thousands of people on its soil and allows them to be abused by the Polisario, rather than allow them autonomy and the relative safety of their lands across the Western Sahara, there is no equality.
Boko Haram, Nigeria's most notorious outlaw extremist group, shows that al Qaeda's message is capable of leaping across stretches of geography, to target and propagate in locales in which both hardship and anti-Western sentiments collide.
Let's hope that Al Jazeera's penchant for regional anarchy is tempered by cooler heads within Arab democratic dissident ranks who have far more to lose than audience share if they prematurely swallow Al Jazeera's bait.