Search This Blog

Sunday, 13 March 2011


Washington, Morocco Board NewsWhere does Algeria stand on the Libyan conflict? As news of “some type” of Algerian involvement in supporting Mouammar Kaddafi keep resurfacing despite denials by the Algerian government, President Bouteflika must take a side on the Libyan fighting and  spelled out its position vis-à-vis the Libyan revolution movement. While the Algerian people have expressed their unconditional support for the Libyan revolt and decried the massacres perpetrated by Kaddafi’s forces, official Algiers has been mum. Bouteflika’s silence can only be interpreted as a technical support for Kaddafi’s regime.

The latest accusations came in an article published in The Times of London which describes “a convoy of some 40 vehicles was waiting to take [A group of some 200-300 young Tuaregs] from Mali to Algerian, then on a two-day drive into Libya. Other Tuareg from Niger and southern Algeria are also reported to be going to Libya to join Gaddafi loyalists.” Such news item comes after a high-ranking member of the Libyan opposition made direct accusation against Algeria. While up until now, there is no conclusive evidence to implicate Algeria in the fighting in Libya, the Algerian government silence on the face of an increasingly horrific humanitarian catastrophe in Libya raises serious and credible question about the Bouteflika’s intentions toward the Libyan opposition.
Unlike Morocco and Qatar, the only Arab governments to condemn Kaddafi’s indiscriminate killings of protesters, Algeria, as most of the Arab governments, is purposely waiting out the outcome of the Libyan crisis. Algeria is uneasy about the prospect of losing a key regional ally and worried about the impact of a free and democratic Libya and Tunisia on the stability of the military backed government of President Bouteflika.
In attempt to justify an inexplicably cold attitude toward a popular freedom movement in Libya, the official Algerian media launched a media campaign to discredit to news coverage of El Jazeera and Al Arabia pan-Arab channels. Both news outlets have been reporting on the alleged involvement of Algerian militiamen and Air force in support of Kaddafi’s forces. The statement by Algeria’s  Minister of Foreign Affairs Mourad Medelci “warning against the impact of foreign interference in Libya under the cover of human rights”  underlines Algeria’s priorities and concerns.
The Algerian-Moroccan conflict over the Western Sahara is looming large over the diplomatic maneuvering of Algiers and Rabat to adapt to the fast changing political landscape in North Africa. While the change in Tunisia will not alter the regional balance of power in the Maghreb, an anti-Kaddafi government in Tripoli will benefit Morocco and alienate the Algerian positions.
The Algerian public has been cheering for the anti-Kaddafi camp. The independent press in Algeria is critical of Kaddafi’s use of his air force and heavy armored to shell the rebels. If the Algerian people have spoken, high-level Algerian officials continue to deny the critical nature of the Libyan crisis and its potential to reshape the political and security map of North Africa. President Bouteflika remains in his enigmatic absence from the political scene in Algeria.
The Moroccan side categorically rejected Algerian accusations of a Moroccan plot to implicate the Algerian military in the Libyan conflict. In fact, Rabat and the Algerian public are awaiting an official Algerian pronouncement on the sad and tragic events folding right at Algeria’s doorsteps.

No comments:

Post a Comment