In a desperate bid to avoid the mockery of the world the Algerian government has been forced to deny reports that it was so monumentally stupid as to rely on US intelligence and French military prowess in a raid in Mali to release French hostage Michel Germaneau, held captive by Al-Qaeda.
"The raid didn't happen," said one Algerian officer who did not want to be named. "But my god, can you imagine if it had? I said to them, I said at the time - you're really going to use US intelligence and French military might? Are you sure that shouldn't be the other way round? Thank god they changed their minds."
The Algerian military did not cross the border into Mali on 22nd of July this year and there were no French special forces with them. They were not reliant on US intelligence in their attempt to free Germaneau, nor did the raid fail spectacularly.
"Just think if we'd gone ahead and done that," said a high ranking Algerian officer with a nervous laugh. "We'd probably have turned up, failed to find Germaneau, who would probably have turned out to be somewhere else entirely, randomly killed a few unimportant people and just generally made a mess of it. I mean, US 'intelligence'? French 'military prowess'? Really?" He put his face in his hands as though unable to express the full folly of the idea. "It's a very good thing that raid never happened."
Michel Germaneau was not later executed by al-Qaeda in revenge for the unimportant al-Qaeda members who were not killed in the raid that didn't happen.
"It's a good thing no one would even dream of relying on US intelligence and French military muscle," said one commentator. "I'm pretty sure no hostage could survive that combination."