The decision whether to withdraw from the Middle East has become infinitely more difficult for the Western world.

On Wednesday, islamic militants overtook an Algerian state owned gas complex that is partly run by other European firms. Algeria claimed that the motivation behind the attack was retaliation for allowing France to use Algerian airspace for an offensive against Islamist militants in neighboring Mali, a country stricken by a conflict of its own. Among the hostages taken were several Americans as well as workers from other Western countries.

After several ineffective pushes by the Algerian government the crisis ended Saturday, but not without serious losses. The bloddy gunfights left a predicted 23 hostages as well as dozens of militants dead, but the numbers are not confirmed and some hostages remain unaccounted for.

While the conflict seems to finally be behind us, a bigger question remains. Can the U.S and its allies ever fully pull out of the Middle East? While many here at home cite financial and moral reasons for President Obama to order a full withdraw, the threat extremists pose to U.S civilians living and working in the region is something that seriously needs to be accounted for. Full withdrawal may lead to an extremist take over and a deadly threat to all Westerners in the area.

What should the U.S do? Is a full withdrawal worth putting our civilians at risk?

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