Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Algiers' central role in Sahel's escalating security chaos

An extremely complex and potentially very serious state of affairs is fast developing in the Sahel, focusing primarily on Mali, but extending through Mauritania and Niger and, increasingly, Chad.

Full details and analysis of this situation will be provided in the June issue of Sahara Focus. The main points are:

There has been the appearance of a rapprochement between Algeria and these Sahelian states over the course of the last two or three months. This has been largely coerced by external powers, namely the EU and the US.
In October 2010, the EU Foreign Affairs Council, concerned by AQIM activity in the Sahel, placed the region at the top of its security agenda. It then commissioned a very detailed in-depth report on the region, which was researched and written by the author of Menas Associates' Algeria Politics & Security.
This report highlighted the role of Algeria, through its links with AQIM, in the Sahel's destabilisation. Although the full report has not been published, its key points were 'leaked' to Algeria, with the implicit message that its position in the Sahel could be undercut by EU intervention.
A similar message was relayed to Algeria by the US, which is not pleased with either Algeria's support for Libya's Colonel Mu'ammar Qadhafi, its increasing belligerency towards and falling out with almost all its neighbours, and its over-hyping and exaggeration of the Al-Qa'ida threat in the region.

For more news and expert analysis about Algeria, please see Algeria Focus and Algeria Politics & Security.

© 2011 Menas Associates

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