Monday, 20 June 2011

Foreign officials visit Algeria

The two main and related stories which have dominated this week's news have been the visits to Algeria of France's Foreign Minister Alain Juppé and the visit of a US 'military-political' delegation led by Mark Adams, a senior adviser with the US State Department's Bureau of Political and Military Affairs. Juppé's visit was the first visit of a French foreign minister to Algeria since Bernard Kouchner visited in May 2008.

Both visits - that of the French and the Americans - are follow-ups designed to further cement the 'package' deal between the three countries (US, France and Algeria) that we explained three weeks ago.

The US visit, designed to work with the Algerians in identifying and confirming the threat posed by the weapons flow from Libya to 'terrorists' (i.e. AQIM) in the Sahel, has already run into trouble.

The Americans' arrival in Algiers on Sunday 12th June coincided, most extraordinarily, with a highly publicised engagement between a convoy carrying Libyan armaments, mostly explosives and detonators, and the Niger army. The incident was portrayed as 'proof' of the al-Qa'ida threat.

We have now received highly reliable information from Niger of the identity of the main trafficker involved. He is an individual who is not only well known to us, but even better known to the DRS, with whom he is well associated. In short, this latest piece of 'evidence' of the al-Qa'ida threat, like so much else in the region, is, in fact, nothing more than evidence of the continued exaggeration and duplicity over the security and counter-terrorism situation in the entire north-west African region.

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

© 2011 Menas Associates

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