The regional security challenges of Algeria

By kouider si tayeb


    In the 19th century, when the USA decided to preclude and face any European rivalry in the New World under the banner of Monroe Doctrine (America for Americans),the then strong Prussian leader B, Bismarck replied to it” what a piece of extraordinary insolence”(G,Evans, 1998, p 336). Few decades later, Germany was defeated not only in the New World but even inside Europe. What I want to say from this stand point is that weak countries of today may be strong empires tomorrow. It is the natural mobility of the stream of history, everlasting might is a dream. However, emergence and decline is the sobering -reality. The logic of International Relations is weaved on the loom of change.

       The mechanics of IR are fuelled by the conflicting wills and ambitions. Each state wants to prevail but few succeed. Why? Because the space is limited, mined and fraught with challenges.

       In this dissertation, we will assess the prospects of Algeria to emerge and dominate in the Maghreb and the Sahel, who are the putative rivals?  How can they weaken it?


    Little stuff was written about this country compared to other Middle Eastern countries like Egypt or Iraq or Saudi Arabia. From this stand point I have decided to tackle this subject which is still uncovered. Through this study I want to make a genuine academic research based on the use of recognised methods of International Relation’s science. In other words, I want to analyse the current regional security weakness of this country by using the Neo realistic lenses. I will use the Neo Realistic method in assessing the hypothesis of my research and more precisely I will use the framework given by the prominent scholar J, Mearsheimer known in the paradigms of IR as the father of “Offensive Neo Realism”.

    Why did I choose this method from a large bunch of IR theories?

  First, because I am very influenced by the strong and compelling logic of the Neo Realism thought. Secondly, because Mearsheimer unlike many other scholars expected that the end of the cold war will bring about a dangerous world prone to conflicts and wars. So his layout was quite different from the euphoric expectations of F, Fukuyama and R, Keohane. His first article regarding this forecast of post cold war conflict was written in 1990 in his article “Back to the future; Instability in Europe after the Cold war” but he made his theory more conclusive in his book” The Tragedy of Great Powers Politics” published in 2003.

       Mearsheimer prospected the rise of Germany in Europe and regarding China, he expected;” a wealthy China would not be a status quo power but an aggressive state determined to achieve regional hegemony”( Mearsheimer, 2003, p 402). This forecast is becoming a de facto reality. Last month (December, 2011), the Chinese president Hu Jintao said to his military Navy; “prepare for warfare”( Editor, BBC,07/12/2011).

          Therefore, to sum up, I can say that the present seething instability is supporting Mearsheimer’s assumptions and the refusal of the UK to join the Euro zone coupled with the pushing of the economic crisis is exacerbating the already dire situation of world’s instability.

         In my research, I will use this offensive realistic logic to assess my hypothesis but at the same time I will take profit of other paradigms if needed. Let us go back to the main subject; “the regional security challenges of Algeria”, how can I limit down the subject of my research?

     First, in this research, I will not tackle the internal security weakness of Algeria like the problems of ethnic minorities mainly Berbers of Kabilia in the centre of the country  and Touaregs in the South. Or the challenge of the unremitting corruption which is undermining the sheer credibility of not only ordinary administrative staff but even the high rank of the Algerian government officials like the case of the previous Energy Minister Chakib Khalil who was dismissed from his office due to corruption scandal.    

      Secondly, the meaning of the concept” security challenges is very loose and contested. In this study, I will not use security as defined by Barry Buzan;”The national security problem turns out to be a systemic security problem in which individuals, states and the system all play a part and in which economic, societal and environmental factors are as important as political and military ones”(B, Buzan, 1991, p 368). This broad definition incorporates all the systemic threats on security like; societal, environmental (global warming, desertification..), economic( unemployment, housing..). However, in this study, I will focus on the main Realistic variables mainly the political and military threats.

          Why was this focus made?

         First, I assume that it is impossible to realise a deep study if the subject is broad, the more the question is limited, the more the answer will be deep and clear.

       Secondly, I am focusing on the political and military threats of Algeria because unlike Europe, there is no nuclear paralysis in the Maghreb that stops wars in a hand, and there is no economic interdependence that may act as a buffer against war. Therefore, the logic of the conventional military balance is still relevant here.

     From this stand point, my question is going to be; is Algeria able to become a regional dominant leader in the Maghreb? What are the potentials that are in favour of Algeria?  What are the regional security challenges that weaken Algeria?

 Chapter 1: The potential of Algeria to become a regional dominant power:

        In this chapter, I will pay a great attention to history, Geopolitics, population, economic wealth and the military might.

       Section one: the historical record of Algeria.

     History for nations is like memories and experiences for individuals. It can be either a stimulus to progress and wealth or a buffer against big national ambitions. That’s why the prominent German philosopher Fredrick Nietzsche said;” Only strong personalities can endure history; the weak are completely extinguished by it”(Le Sueur, 2010, p 195).

         The Algerian history is a special one in the whole Middle Eastern region. This peculiar history is due to its bloody experience that started with the colonisation by the French in 1830 and had lasted for one century and thirty two years. The impact of this long colonisation left a savage legacy to the modern Algeria. The French army was practicing a scorched Earth policy against Algerian people to subdue them. The French Historian Sessions said;” by the mid 1850s Algeria’s population has shrunk to about 2.3 millions from its pre-colonial size of 4 Millions”(T, Barber, The Financial Times,10/12/2011, p17). It means that after 15 years of colonisation, 1.7 million of Algerians were killed which was almost 50% of the whole population.

       However, Algerian nationalism was unbeatable. It was simmering till 1954 on the 1st of November that witnessed the outbreak of the emblematic Algerian revolution. It ;”was in many respects the most popular and profound national revolutions in the entire Arab world”( Hugh Roberts, 2003, p 8). Indeed, France left Vietnam, Morocco and Tunisia to keep Algeria. But the Algerian revolution insisted on the independence of all the Algerian territory. The price tag was heavy again; more than one million and half Algerians were killed.  That’s why Algerian revolution is seen as” a pivotal event in the 20th century”(T, Barber, opcit, p 17)because:” it was emblematic of the formal ending of the European empires”(ibid, p,17). This revolution gave modern Algeria the brand of a strong nation.

       The period that followed the independence was not peaceful either. It witnessed a war with Morocco in 1963, a military coup in 1965, two wars with Israel in 1967 and 1973 and a savage civil war that erupted in 1992 and which is still hanging over Algeria.

We can divide the post independence era into three episodes:

              1- The era of strength: from 1962 till 1988.

              2- The era of Failure: from 1988 till 1999.

               3- The dawn of rebirth: from 1999 till now.

          The first period was characterised by the rule of one party, the FLN (in French, Front de Liberation National). It was under the fated Socialist model and there were neither political participation nor the right of opposition. Those who were ruling were using the revolutionist legitimacy to justify their unremitted stronghold on Algeria. However, It is worthy to mention that during this era “Algeria had occupied a paramount position within the Middle East, North Africa and the Third world”(De Le Sueur, 2010, p 2). This achievement was due to the Charismatic leadership of President  Boumediene who succeeded in oil industry nationalisation in 1971 for the first time in the Arabic Islamic World (Roberts, 2003, p 11) in a part and the unequivocal support that Algeria gave to many revolutions in the world including Angola, Palestine, Cuba, South Africa, Western Sahara….. in the other side.

       The second era is dubbed by De Le Sueur as the era of failure. After the mysterious death of president Boumediene in 1978, a big political vacuum was generated and the decline of oil prices which represents the back bone of the Algerian system rendered Algeria vulnerable to its internal controversies. In 1988, the austerity measures were applied and the state’s support to basic food  prices was lifted. At this stage the Islamist current took advantage from the situation to gain more political support from the Algerian society. Islamists were pictured as the solution to all Algeria’s pains. They led riots in October 1988 which extended to all Algeria and caused the death of 500 protesters. This was indeed the first Arab country that witnessed this violent quest for democracy and decent life. These riots led to the end of the one party system and the political participation was open. Even the Islamists were allowed to form their own party to compete for the presidency even though their political agenda was the application of the Sharia law.

      In fact, “Algeria was on the track for becoming the first country in the Middle East and North Africa to transition successfully to democratic rule”(Le Sueur, 2010, p6). But this democratic process was interrupted by a military coup in 1992, after the FIS (in French le Front Islamic du Salut, In English it is the Islamic Salvation Front) had dramatically won the legislative elections. After this coup, Algeria entered its unprecedented violent period known as black decade which caused the death of more than 200.000 Algerians (T, Barber, opsit, p 17).

     The third era started with the election of A, Bouteflika as a president in 1999. It was like a breakthrough for Algerians because he succeeded in downsizing the tide of violence through his” Conciliation process” which was a mercy law that accepted the repentance of all those who rendered to the Army.

      To sum up, I can argue that Algerian history is fraught with violence and conflict.” Algeria was known as one of the deadliest countries in the world”(Le Sueur, 2010, p 5). It has got a fierce reputation. This long struggle moulded the Algerian character as one of the strongest in the Arab world. “ The roughness of the Algerian struggle and the odds against which the Algerians fought naturally bestowed upon independent Algeria a special aura, perhaps a sense of moral superiority”(B, Allouche, 1989, p 200).

Section two: Geopolitics and population;

       According to the Penguin dictionary of International Relations, Geopolitics means;”a method of foreign policy analysis which seeks to understand, explain and predict international political behaviour primarily in terms of geographical variables”( G, Evans, 1998, p 197). It means that geography can shape the political behaviour of states.

      Algerian geography gave Algeria a pivotal situation. It is in the cross roads between Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It is the biggest country in Africa, the Middle East and in all the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Its area is 2.381.7410 sq, It is ranked the tenth biggest country in the world (the CIA World Fact Book, updated on 20/12/2011) that’s why it is known as the continent country. Its borders “are 8.200 km including a sea border of 1.200 km, total control is impossible”( European Neighbourhood Policy and Partnership Instrument, p 8).

     Algerian geography is a mixture of fertile plains in the coast, two difficult chains of mountains in the North named Atlas Telly and Atlas Sahraoui respectively. These mountains extended from the western borders with Morocco to the Eastern borders with Tunisia. The wild and complex nature of these mountains  made the control of Algeria very intractable and tricky not only for the French but also for the Algerian Army during the civil war. It is a perfect haven for insurgency and rebellion. The south is a mixture of desert and volcanic mounts known as Hougar. Algerian geography is not only large but it is also very rich in natural resources and raw materials mainly petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, Phosphates, Uranium, Lead, Zinc and gold ( CIA World Fact Book, updated 20.12.2011).

     Population is also a major variable in measuring the state’s power. “Analysts…have tended to see a large population (large at least in relation to putative adversaries) as an important facet of national power profiles”(G, Evans, 1998, p 444). Therefore the population size is a relative matter since it has no significance without a comparison with the putative rivals. Algerian population was estimated with 34.6 Millions in 2010 with a life expectancy of 74 years (Arieff, 10th February, 2011, p 2). It is the biggest population in the whole Maghreb. In the other side, the population of its neighbours is about 31 millions in Morocco, 6 millions in Libya, more than 10 million in Tunisia ( CIA, Word Fact Book, updated in 10.12.2011). Moreover,” about 4 million Algerians and individuals with Algerian descent live in France”( Arieff, ibid, p13).

     Section three; the economic wealth:

    “Wealth underpins military power”(Mearsheimer,2003,p67). What do we mean by wealth?

Wealth means the whole resources that a country owns. However, in security matters, we are concerned more with “mobilized wealth” which refers to the economic resources a state has at its disposal to build military forces”(ibid, p62). Therefore, the more resources a state has at its disposal, the more likely it is to prevail in wars”(ibid, p 58). Therefore, all the assets of any country that are outside its jurisdiction are not seen as reliable resources of wealth because they may be frozen easily.

       From this stand point, Algeria is qualified to become a dominant power because it is very wealthy compared to its neighbours. Hydrocarbons are the backbone of Algerian economy. Oil and Gas are under the control of a public company;”Sonatrach” which accounts for;”98% of Algeria’s foreign currency receipts and employs 120.000”(Arieff, 10th February,2011, p 10). The strength of Sonatrach is that it is under the control and sovereignty of the Algerian state. In 2005 a law was issued to diminish the monopoly of Sonatrach to attract foreign investors. But in 2006, another law was promulgated that required foreign companies to give Sonatrach 51% share (ibid, p10). This strong decision was a big blow to many foreign investors.

      In 2008,”Algeria was the fourth largest crude oil producer in Africa after Nigeria, Angola and Libya. It was the largest oil liquids producers in the continent”( the US Department of Energy, EIA, Algeria, Last updated, May 2009, p 1).- by oil liquids we mean both gas and oil-.

        In 2007, “Algeria was the sixth largest natural gas producer in the world after Russia, USA, Canada, Iran and Norway”(ibid, p 1). In terms of reserves, according to the Oil and Gas Journal;” Algeria has the second largest gas reserves in Africa after Nigeria”(ibid, p 4). But unlike Nigeria, Algeria is using its wealth to build huge infrastructure facilities.

      The Algerian government launched a five years plan in 2005 with the cost of 140 $ billions to build new highways, ports, airports and water resources and housings (Arieff, 10th February, 2011, p11). The most important venture in this plan was the East West highway which extended from the western borders of Morocco to the Eastern borders with Tunisia with a cost of 12$ billion. Its length is 927 km (ibid, p11-12).

       In 2010, the Algerian government has launched another five years plan with a tremendous cost of 286 $ billion for the period of 2010 to 2014(ibid, p11) within which two million houses are going to be built.

      However, the full dependence of Algeria on petrol prices is like sailing into treacherous waters because the oil price is fluctuating sharply. Nevertheless, I argue that with the current instability in Libya, Iraq and Iran, the price of oil will never stop to rise. According to the New York Times, in case of an uprising in Saudi Arabia, the price tag of oil could reach 150 $ per barrel ( New York Times, Julia Werdiger,09/01/2011). To sum up, I want to say that current instability in the Arab world is in favour of Algeria which is so far stable.

     This is about oil and gas, but what about monetary reserves?

   In fact, Algeria has the 15th biggest reserves of foreign exchange and gold in the world (bigger than the reserves of the UK or even the USA). These reserves are estimated by the CIA at about; 162.900.000.000 $(the CIA World Fact Book, 31/12/2010). It is ranked the second in the Arab world just after Saudi Arabia. However, Morocco is ranked in the 54th place in the world. Libya is ranked the 20th – before the current turmoil- (ibid, updated 31/12/2010).

     According to the International Monetary Fund, the rate of unemployment is going down in Algeria from 10% in 2010 to 9.8% in 2011 to 9.5% in this year 2012( Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Algeria, Economy,12/04/2011). Regarding inflation, it is fluctuating from 4.3% in 2010 to 5% in 2011 and it is expected to decline to 4.35 in this year 2012. This figures are lower than the average given to the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) which was neighbouring 10% in 2010 (ibid,12/04/2011).  According to the IMF, the global growth rate in Algeria will increase to reach 3% in 2010 and in 2011 (Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Economy, FMI-Algeria, 27/01/2011).

      Section Four: The Algerian Military potential;

  Without a strong military, it is impossible for a state to be a dominant player in a region. “A sate’s effective power is ultimately a function of its military forces and how they compare with the military forces of the rival states”(Mearsheimer, 2003, p 55).

     The military power is the paramount method to deter rivals and to fight wars. As Sun Tzu said;” War is a matter of life and death, a road to either safety or ruin”( Sun Tzu, 2005, p 9).

      Compared to its neighbours, Algeria has got the most powerful army in the region (Maghreb and the Sahel region). To grasp the military potential of Algeria, I will make comparison with Morocco which is the most likely rival state in the region. In 2006, Algeria made a big arm’s purchase with Russia with a cost of 13.5 $ Billions (C, Langton, 2006, p 214). Within this arms deal there was a big focus on the air force weapons with a cost of; 12.5 S billions. It included 36 Fighters model Mig 29, 28 Ground attack fighters ( FGA) model SU and 16 training jets model Yack 130 ( Ibid, p 214). In the other side only 1.5 Billions was set to buy ground force’s weapons. The deal included 300 main battle tank model  T90 and 250 main battle tank model T 72 and 400 Infantry Fighting Vehicle model BMP2 ( ibid, p 214). This means a great focus on the Air Force capabilities which is a strategic choice in today’s wars ( The ground forces were almost trivial in new wars like in Libya 2011, Kosovo 1999 and Iraq 2003).

    In order to assess the military capability of Algeria, I have used the data given by the International Institute of Strategic Studies (London, UK) to make this comparative tables.

     First let us start by the military personnel;

Military  personnelAlgeriaMorocco
Active personnel Reserves Paramilitary137.500 150.000 181.200200.800 150.000 50.000
  NB; This table is based on Data set by the IISS Military Balance of 2006, p 180, p 200.


Therefore, the Algerian total military personnel are higher than the Moroccan one but the quality of this personnel matters a lot. Nevertheless, the Algerian army is in a long fight against terrorists which gave it more experience and training.

    Regarding the Air Force, I used the same source to make this comparative table bellow;

Air ForceAlgeriaMorocco
Active personnel10.00013.000
Yearly Fighting Hours150100
SAM (Soil Air Missile)More than 288107
   NB; This table is based on Data set by the IISS Military Balance of 2006, p 181. P 201.


 Finally, even the Navy army comparison is in favour of Algeria, look to the table bellow;

Navy ForceAlgeriaMorocco
Sub Marines0200
Principle Surface Combatant0903
Patrol Coastal Combatant2227
Navy bases0405
 NB; This table is based on Data set by the IISS Military Balance of 2006, p 180.

        To sum up I can argue that the sole likely potential rival in the Sahel and Maghreb region for Algeria is Morocco mainly after the Libyan uprising which shattered the Libyan army. I will deal with this hypothesis more thoroughly in the coming chapters.

Chapter 2: the regional challenges of Algeria.

Section one; the expansionism of Morocco and Western Sahara conflict;

            In this section I argue that Morocco is the most serious security challenge for Algeria.

Unlike all the other neighbours Algeria was in war with Morocco in 1963, they were on the brink of a war in 1976 (Amgala skirmishes) and their borders are closed from 1994. There is a very deep rivalry between the two different regimes. How can we explain this rivalry?

          In fact there is not only one factor behind this rivalry. However, history can be used as a starting point. This rivalry went back to 1830 when Algiers was invaded by the French. The then king of Morocco, Moulay Abderahman wrote a letter of congratulation to the French General Clauzel who led the colonization saying that this war has nothing to do with Morocco and more over he promised to provide supplies to the colonial forces of France (Pennel, 2000, p 41). This was seen as a betrayal by the Algerian people who expected help from their Muslim neighbours against the French.

        After the fall of Algiers, the population of Tlemcen( an old city in the west of Algeria closer to the borders with Morocco) sent a letter to the King of Morocco asking him to accept their allegiance (bay’aa) . He refused their offer in order to avoid any clash with the French.

       In 1932, a young Algerian Cherrif (Descendant of the Prophet) accepted the allegiance (bay’aa) as an Emir at the age of 18 to launch a holy war against France. He was Emir Abdel Kader. This leader succeeded in building a modern state with Mascara as a capital. He even succeeded in producing his own arms. He succeeded in stopping the advance of the French for more than 15 years by using the guerrilla warfare. In order to stop the supplies for Emir Abdel Kader, the French army occupied Oujda (a Moroccan city in the borders with Algeria) and they bombed Tangier in the other side. The British intervened and brokered a peace treaty between France and Morocco. The later promised to stop supplies against Emir Abdel Kader and the former promised to withdraw from Oujda.

    In 1847, the Moroccan army fought against the exhausted forces of Emir Abdel Kader. His army was pillaged and slaughtered and he was only saved by the Rifis (Berber people of the Rif Mountains) where he took refuge. Abdel Kader was defeated and he preferred to surrender to the Christian French rather than to the Muslim king of Morocco.

      This dramatic attitude of King Moulay Abderahman towards Emir Abdel Kader is still lingering as a bitter heritage between the two countries till nowadays.

     The second big blow to the Algerian Moroccan relations was in 1963, when King Hassen  2 launched a sadden war to invade and occupy some parts of the newly independent Algeria claiming that they were part of old Morocco. In September, 1963 Moroccan troops occupied Tindouf ( Algerian territory in the South West) and the Algerian army occupied Figuig ( Moroccan city in the borders). At that time Algeria was in a civil war, after the attack of King Hassen 2 the armed opposition joined the front and together they threw the Moroccan army out ( Pennel, 2000, p 333). The borders between the two countries were not demarcated till 1972.

     The third fatal blow happened during the Western Sahara crisis which ended with Morocco’s take over the Western Sahara after the Spanish colonisation ended (from 1884 to 1976). King Hassan 2 claimed that Western Sahara was an integral part of old Morocco. What are the origins of these claims?

    In April 1956, a prominent leader of the Moroccan Independence party Allal El Fassi said to a French News paper;” Moroccan territory should include Mauritania, a good part of Algeria and even Mali”(ibid, p 302). This ambitions are known as “Greater Morocco”, see the map bellow;

Source; http// 2012.  

 After Hassan 2 acceded to the throne in 1961, he set up a special Ministry for Saharan and Mauritanian affairs in 1965 (Ibid, p 335). In 1974, Spain agreed to give western Sahara the right of self determination. This was mainly due to the attacks of Polisario (Liberation Army of Saqia El Hamra and Ouadi El dhahab) ,[which means the two territories in Western Sahara]. This liberation armed movement was set up in Morocco in 1970. It succeeded stopping Spain’s exports of Phosphate from Western Sahara after attacking the transporting belt in Bu Craa. Instead of supporting them, Hassan 2 heightened the crackdown on them. Polisario leaders were forced to flee from Morocco to the Southern desert in 1973 (ibid, p 337).

     This was a lethal mistake committed by Hassan 2 who spoiled all his future chances to compromise with Polisario. Embarrassed by the tricky situation and after pressure from Algeria( the main source of gas for Spain), Madrid asked the UN to intervene. At the same time Hassan 2 asked the International Court of Justice to give its advisory decision to solve the dispute.

   “ On 14 October, 1975, the UN mission reported in favour of Polisario [ right of self determination] two days later, the International Court of Justice found that….the Sahraoui hold the right of self determination”( ibid, p339). Instead of letting the process of self determination to be completed, King Hassen 2 backed secretly by the USA decided to launch his “Green March” in which 350.000 civilian Moroccans were led by the king himself to liberate Western Sahara.  After that, the Green March was pulled back by the King. On 14th  November, 1975, Spain agreed to hand over Western Sahara to both Morocco and Mauritania. Morocco agreed secretly to give Spain 35% of the Phosphate’s receipt to Spain. From this time till now Western Sahara is in a stalemate. It is a hurdle against any peaceful prospects between Algeria and Morocco.

      This was about history but what about real politics? Why did king Hassan 2 invade Western Sahara? Why did Algeria oppose him? And most importantly which country is going to prevail on the other?

    Let us start with the first question, King Hassan invaded West Sahara for two reasons;

  1. To consolidate his position on the throne of the kingdom.
  2. To take over the natural resources of West Sahara.

          What are my arguments?

            According to Mearsheimer’s  logic;”the ultimate safety comes only from being the most powerful state in the system……States try to maximize both their wealth and their military capabilities…, In order to gain resources, states resort to war”(Williams ed, C Elman, 2008, p 23). 

       This Neorealistic logic is a conclusive answer to the offensive behaviour of Morocco against Algeria in 1963 and against Western Sahara in 1975. Morocco wants to have a status of a dominant power in the Maghreb. Why?  “Because having dominant power in the system is the best mean to ensure one’s own survival”(Mearsheimer, 2003, p xi). It means that West Sahara was a cheap solution to solve political weakness of Morocco. The population of Western Sahara was merely 73.497 people in 1974, 55% of them were literate and 60% of them were unemployed.(Pennel, 2000, p 335).

     However, we cannot understand the king’s resolve to invasion without looking at the internal political environment inside Morocco at that time.

     In 1971, King Hassan 2 survived after a failed coup in Skhirat. One year later, his personnel plane was attacked by an air force jet but he miraculously survived. After this attack many generals were executed including the old royal family friend general Oulfkir.  It was reported that he committed suicide. In the following year, another uprising broke out , it was staged by the leftists. In 1974, the Islamist preacher Abd Essalem  Yasine was publically criticising the king as “ a corrupt, that he advocated the liberal western values and that he was indebted to foreigners particularly Zionist capital. Yasine questioned whether the king was a Muslim at all”( Pennel, 2000, p 353). The whole future of the monarchy was at stake.

       The solution was exporting the inner pressure to the outside. King Hassan 2 himself said in 1975;” I would have abdicated if the green march strategy has failed”(ibid, p 57).” The green march was kind of a personal triumph for the stability of the throne”(ibid, p 55). Moreover, Western Sahara was very rich in natural resources.

      Western Sahara if independent would be the second largest producer of phosphate in the world. In 2000, phosphate’s exports represented only 17% of Morocco’s exports. However, during 1970s the price of phosphate went up by 400%, the peak was reached in 1974 (one year before the occupation) in which phosphate’s exports represented 70% of Moroccan foreign currency income ( Shelly, 2004, p 72). It means that phosphate for Morocco was like oil for Algeria. King Hassan wanted to control the world’s trade of phosphate by taking over West Sahara. Together, Morocco and Western Sahara holds 75% of the whole world’s Phosphate reserves (Arieff, 20/12/2011,p 15). It would be possible for Morocco to control Phosphate’s prices like OPEC did with oil prices in 1973. Moreover,” the subsoil of Western Sahara is rich in exploitable resources, among the minerals are  Phosphate, Iron, Uranium, Titanium and precious stones” said a specialist in Geology (Shelly, 2004, p 77). The phosphate mining is run by the Royal Office of Phosphate, which is the property of the King.(ibid, p 16). This was about Morocco, but why did Algeria support Western Sahara independence?

           The Algerian officials are always picturing themselves as leaders of international law and principles of self-determination. Does it mean that Algeria has no interest in the conflict?

      In fact, through supporting Polisario ,Algeria wants to undermine the whole monarchy in Morocco or at least to weaken it. In 1860, when the German Chancellor Bismarck heard that there were an attempt to re-establish the Polish Kingdom, he replied;” restoring the kingdom of Poland in any shape or form is tantamount to creating an ally for any enemy that chooses to attack us”(Mearsheimer, 2003, p 3). It means that an absolute kingdom is dangerous to the security of its neighbours. Bismarck carried on;” if we wish to survive we have no choice but to wipe them out”(ibid, p3). This is the law of international Relations which is governed by anarchy. Therefore the positions of Algeria and Morocco towards Western Sahara” are merely expressions rather than causes of this rivalry”( Shelly, 2004, p 30).

    There are other justifications of the Algerian attitude given by the then USA Secretary of state Henry Kissinger. He claimed that Algeria wanted a free Western Sahara in order to have an Atlantic port.” Such port would make for easy export of the iron ore at Gare Jbilat near Tindouf”(Mundy, 2006, p 281). Algeria has a big iron reserves in Tindouf and according this claim, Western Sahara could be used if free as a route to export via the Atlantic since it is only 200 km far from it. However, according to the nature of the terrain, the cheapest rout of any exports for Algeria is through the south of Morocco which is not a complete desert (ibid, p 281). Algeria could reach deal with Morocco on this. It has already built a long pipeline via Morocco to Spain. In return, Morocco is paid free Algerian gas (ibid, p 281).

      Therefore the Algerian strategy is a” desire to an intent to indirectly undermine the Moroccan regime itself”(ibid, 282).

      After this analysis, why did we expect before that Morocco is the most dangerous rival to Algeria?

Militarily let us consider this recent comparative table; The Algerian military superiority is obvious in major arms and weaponry;

Category/ weaponAlgeriaMorocco
Total active147.000195.800
Total active and reserves297.000345.800
Main battle tanks MBT895380
AIFV/Armored cars/lt tanks1.040186
Armoured Personnel Carrier8401.149
ATGM(Anti tank guided Missile)launchers+200790
SP Artillery (self Propelled)170199
Towed artillery375118
Lt SAM launchers+288107
Aircraft total fighters14172
Helicopters total17592
SAM surface to air missile+140 heavy launchers0
Naval forces Submarines20
Coastal inshore patrol1123
Source; table Algerian and Moroccan forces in 2008, adapted from(Cordesman & Nerguizian, 2009, p11).

   I argue that Morocco internally has many weak points militarily, geo strategically, politically and economically. However, the strength of the Moroccan regime lies in its foreign alliances not only with the United States of America and France but also with Saudi Arabia and Israel. I will deal with its strong relations with the USA and France in the coming chapter. How can I work it out?

   From the Geostrategic analysis, Morocco is geographically divided in the centre by a mountainous chain ( the Atlas mountain) which extends from the north to the south leaving  a great part the whole east of the kingdom isolated. In case of war with Algeria, it is difficult for the kingdom to secure constant supplies to its army through these difficult mountains. Algerian army can cut off the Moroccan supplies easily. Sun Tzu said;”the secret of wars lies in the communications, the line of supplies may be said to be as vital to the existence of an army as the heart to the life of human being”(Sun Tzu, 2006, p 63). Look to the map bellow;

    Map from: 2011.

      We can notice that Morocco is divided in the centre from the North to the South by three mountain ranges; Medium Atlas, Anti Atlas and High Atlas. In case of a war the Moroccan army would find itself broken down into two fronts; one in the North East and the other in the South where Polisario could make incursions through the open terrain. Moreover, the populations of the east of Morocco is isolated, disgraced and historically repressed by the monarchy.  Especially in the region of Rif, where an uprising was crushed ruthlessly by Prince Hassan 2 in 1958. Most of those who opposed the regime are originally Berbers from this region. Therefore their alliance to the kingdom is at stake.

         Economically, Morocco is on the brink on a crisis, the real growth in GDP in 2000 was 0.3%.”The country runs a structural trade deficit in goods with exports typically covering 70.75% of its imports (Shelly, 2004, p 50). According to the UN Human Development Index, it came at the 112th place out of 162 countries in the world in 2000( ibid, p 52). In 2011, it deteriorated to the 130th place however Algeria is ranked in the 90th place (UN Human Development Index, Morocco, 2011).

     The Moroccan economic growth rose to 4.5% in 2011, but the rate of unemployment is still high reaching 9% in general and 17% among young college graduate (Arieff, 10/12/2011, p17).

         Why is Morocco so weak economically?

       Morocco has three main hurdles;

      First of all its foreign debt “which absorbs 85% of the state’s budget, this leaves only 15% of revenues to tackle other problems”(Bearman ed, 2009, p 185).

     Secondly, there is a stark concentration of wealth in the western coast cities at the expense of the rural, undeveloped east. Casablanca ( the economic capital of Morocco) for instance” accounts for 60% of industry activity, 72% of salaries and 70% of banks accounts”(Pennel, 2000, p 354).

       Third, the problem of Western Sahara, ironically it was invaded to strengthen the monarchy but it is now undermining the budgetary equilibrium of Morocco. Why?

     In order to face the long protracted war with Polisario (1975-1991), king Hassan 2 doubled its military forces especially land power. It is now estimated at; 200.800 active personnel ( Langton ed, 2006, p 200). Which is higher than the military personnel of  countries like Italy or Spain or Algeria. It is almost equal to the military of the United Kingdom. This personnel is consuming 15% of the government expenditure (Shelly, 2004, p 53).

    It is true that there has been a truce between Morocco and Polisario from 1991 but they are in a negative peace situation which costs them a lot. thousands of years ago Sun Tzu said;” he who wishes to fight must first count the cost.”(Sun Tzu, 2005, p 14). Then he carried on;” there is no instances of a country having benefited from prolonged war”(ibid, p15).

      Let us move now to assess the strength of Morocco:

      With the current turmoil in Libya, Morocco is in a strong position because the Algerian army is divided between two fronts: Libya in the north east and both Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and Touareg rebellion in the wild south.

    Moreover, the Moroccan wealth is dependent on renewable resources like tourism and agriculture. King Hassan 2 followed a “Dam’s Politics”(La politique des Barrages), between 1965 to 1980, he built 18 dams. The result was that the irrigated lands doubled (Pennel, 2000,  p 325). He told the Algerian officials who were teasing him;” I wish you good luck when you have to eat hydrocarbon steaks”(ibid, p 325). King Hassen was right, the Algerian oil reserves are depleting and shrinking. According to a recent study: ”oil exports are projected to start declining from 2011 and become unsustainable beyond 2023.”(Mitchell, 2008, p 13).

        It means that after 10 years Algeria will start importing oil like Morocco. But Algeria relies heavily on oil revenues which represents 80% of the government revenue (ibid, p16).  This will make Algeria and Morocco in the same basket. Nevertheless, after the publication of this report, about 45 new discoveries of oil were registered between 2009 and 2011 but they are not yet estimated or exploitable (Sonatrach, 2011).

     In the short coming future, Algeria will have to face Morocco without oil muscles. Algeria will be unable to sustain its military supremacy without its affluent oil receipt.” Wealth is important because a state cannot build a powerful military if it does not have the money and technology to equip, train and continually modernize its fighting forces”(Mearsheimer, 2003, p61).

       The second point of strength of Morocco is its alliance with the USA, France, Saudi Arabia and its secret strong relationships with Israel. I will defer explaining and highlighting the role of the USA and France in the Maghreb to the coming chapter where there will be a special section on each state. However, let us highlight Morocco’s relationship with Saudi Arabia and Israel.

      In May 2011, the Gulf Cooperation Council countries offered membership to Morocco. In December 2011, they offered 5 billion aid to Morocco and Jordan (Arieff, 10.20.2012, p 21).

     This support is not new, in 1975 when Algeria threatened Spain to cut off gas supplies if Spain would hand over the Western Sahara to Morocco, both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait intervened in favour of Morocco pledging that they will substitute any Algerian gas cuts to Spain (Mundi, 2006, p289). It was a diplomatic blow against Algeria. Moreover, during the Moroccan war with Polisario, Saudi Arabia underwrote the Moroccan budgetary deficit.”The exact figures were secret but in the late 1970s, it was estimated that Saudi Financial aid amounted to between 500 $ millions to 1 billion a year”(Pennel, 2000, p 367). In 1984, Saudi Arabia gave oil to Morocco with the value of one billion (ibid, p 367). When Iraq declared war on Kuwait in 1990, Morocco sent 1200 troops to help the Saudi army unlike Algeria which sided with Iraq.

    The other strong relationship is between Morocco and Israel, their” bilateral link may be unbreakable because some 600.000 Israelis are of Moroccan origin”(Arieff, 20.12.2011, p 22). It is almost 10% of the population of Israel. In March 2009, king Mohammed Six was the first Arab leader to acknowledge the Holocaust genocide (ibid, p 22).

           Jews in Morocco were allowed to hold key positions in the monarchy. “Until 1965, a Jew was Cabinet Secretary of the Minister of Defence, an unimaginable phenomenon in the Arab world”(Pennel, 2000, p 344). During the war with Polisario, the Prime Minister of Israel  Rabin visited Morocco in 1976. Then King Hassan two was used as a bridge to conclude Camp David accords between Egypt and Israel in 1979. In 1977, General Mushe Dayan started secret contacts then he visited the south of Morocco. There are some information that Israel helped militarily in the building of the long Moroccan sand wall (barrier) to stop Polisario raids (ibid, p 345).

      Finally, is Morocco able to challenge Algeria?

   According to the previous historical, Military, economic and geostrategic study, I assume that Morocco alone cannot present a serious threat to Algeria. However, if it would use its foreign alliances with the USA or France or Saudi Arabia, it can deliver a serious damage to Algeria.

         Let us move to deal with the eastern flank of Algeria;

 Section two; the foggy landscape in Libya, terrorism again;

       After succeeding in controlling terrorist threat inside the country, Algeria is facing a new Islamist threat coming up from its eastern borders with Libya. The situation in Libya now is unpredictable, volatile and out of control. There is a deliberate media blackout on Libya after the assassination of Qaddafi last October 2011. However, according to a UN mission, Libya is in state of Civil war, “which has given military groups in Africa’s Sahel region like Boko Harem and Al-Qaida access to large weapon’s caches”(Chorbenneau, Reuters,26th January, 2012).

    In this section I will assess the impact of this chaos in Libya on the Algerian security. Since Libya is in a transitional period, I will divide my study into two periods; before the uprising and after the uprising.

   First let us start by highlighting Libya’s potential. According to the CIA world fact book, Libya has the biggest oil reserves in Africa. It has the potential to become the most likely supplier of oil to Algeria after the depletion of Algeria’s oil reserves which is prospected after a decade. Algeria will have no choice but to secure a strategic partnership with future regime in Libya.

    Libya has large gas reserves; it comes at the 23rd place in the world’s natural gas reserves. The GDP of Libya was 90.57 $ billion in 2010 (smaller than that of Algeria). Like the countries of the Gulf, the Libyan population is small, in 2010, it was slightly above 6 million in 2010.Therefore the GDP per Capita was the highest in all Africa (CIA World Fact Book, October, 2011).

    The small population of Libya was the main hurdle against Qaddafi’s ambitions. When he took power, it was merely 1.8 in 1968 ( Roberts, 17,11,2011, P 8). As Mearsheimer pointed out;” population size matters a lot, because powers require big armies which can be raised only in countries with large populations”(Mearsheimer, 2003, p 61). The population of Libya is not only small but politically and socially weak. “Qaddafi confronted a politically inert society, with little in the way of state tradition, pulverised by a brutal colonial conquest”( Roberts, opcit, p 7). Unlike Algeria and Egypt, “Libya was liberated by external forces”(ibid, p7).

     In this study, I assume that Libya right now has not the local latent power to challenge Algeria. Nevertheless, the Libyan factions can be easily used by external powers to bully and to harass Algeria. What I wanted to say here is that Libya is historically divided. To understand this division which is right now threatening the whole integrity of Libya, we need to go back to history. The question here is how had Qaddafi governed Libya for more than 40 years?

      During the Ottoman presence in Libya, it was divided into three provinces; Tripolitana, Fezzan in the West and Cyrinaica in the East. The Western Two provinces were integral part of Barbary which included Tunis and Algiers. Barbary was known by piracy in the Mediterranean. However, the Eastern part of Libya was more connected to the eastern Arab world.

    That’s why” the two Western provinces have always been considered as part of the Maghreb ( the Arab West) while eastern Libya has always been part of the Mashreq (the Arab East) and oriented to Egypt and the Arab Levant”(Roberts, ibid, p 4).

     After the Second World War, Libya was liberated by the Allies from the Italian colonisation which lasted more than 30 years (1911-1944). In 1951, the former king of Cyrenaica ( Benghazi) king Idriss was brought by the British from his exile in Cairo to establish him as a King on the whole of Libya. Since it was divided, King Idriss opted for the Federalism to unify Libya. One year later, the Egyptian kingdom of Farouk was ended by a military coup. The Arab nationalism emerged, to face it King Idriss decided to insulate Libya from the Arab world’s affairs. In 1956, Egypt was attacked by the UK, France and Israel. The Libyan kingdom did nothing to help President Nasser. In 1958, another Kingdom was ended in Iraq. In 1967, Israel attacked Egypt, Syria and Palestine. Huge territories were taken from Egypt, Syria and Palestine. Again, the Libyan king did nothing to help Egyptians.

     During these dire circumstances, Qaddafi and his partners staged a peaceful coup in 1969. The first thing they did was closing a US military base and the nationalisation of oil industry which was under the British control.

     Internally, Qaddafi and his group were from Bedouin tribes in the Centre and South of Libya. In this coup there were no participants from the elite in Tripoli or Benghazi. That’s why there is a lingering enmity between Benghazi and Qaddafi. According to this well educated elite, ”the 1969 coup had been carried out by “Bedouins” that is by country bumpkins”( Roberts, opcit, p 4).

        Qaddafi wanted a union with Egypt, but his idol model President Nasser died just months after the coup(1970). The new regime of Egypt was less committed to the Arab nationalism. Nevertheless, a union was announced between the two countries in 1972, but it was on paper only, no more than a talking shop. Qaddafi was fooled and duped and after the defeat of 1973 war with Israel, relations between the two countries deteriorated and the Libyan army attacked some Egyptian forces and they replied.

                  In 1974, Qaddafi wanted a union with Tunisia but it failed after the pressure of Algeria on Tunisia. One year later, he signed a treaty of friendship with Algeria.” It appeared that Libya had at last entered an alliance that it could rely on”(ibid, p 5). After the visit of the Egyptian President Sadat to Tel Aviv in 1977, Qaddafi, Algeria and Syria formed the Steadfastness and Defiance Front against the new normalisation tide with Israel in the Arab World.

            Qaddafi was unlucky again, the leader of Algerian nationalism President Houari Boumedien died one year later mysteriously. His successor Chadli Ben Jeddid was less committed to the Arab nationalism. Qaddafi was isolated again. In 1984, He signed a treaty of Union with Morocco but it was just a ruse by King Hassan 2 to stop Qaddafi’s support to Western Sahara movement. This failed alliance was the last hope of Qaddafi in the Arabs, that’s why he hated the Arabs.

    Nevertheless, Qaddafi did not give up; he went southward to the black Africans. He supported them by arms and finance and they replied with blind allegiance. The dark skinned Berbers known as Touareg is a large tribe which is living in many African countries (Algeria, Mali, Niger, Chad and Libya). He used them to stabilize his torn country. “ Before the attack of NATO at Libya, at least 2.000 Touareg served in the Libyan troops. Many of them in the elite pan Africa legion, some rose to the rank of general”(Belmasov, Pravda, 24,01,2012, p1). That’s why they supported Qaddafi against the rebels and right now they are subject to an ethnic cleansing by the rebels. But they are citizens of Libya and they are still living in Fezzan in the south west borders with Algeria.

       Qaddafi was supporting countries as well, that’s why Niger refused to hand over the son of Qaddafi named Al Saidi to the rebels. Moreover, this latter is preparing to go back to Libya for a counter rebellion against the NTC (National Transitional Council). He said to the Saudi Arabian TV, Al-Arabia;” There is a rebellion that is going on day after day, and there will be a rebellion in the entire country”(Al Maner Tv,11,02,2012). Is this rebellion ongoing or is it just media propaganda by Qaddafi’s family?

     According to the Guardian, “fighters loyal to Muammer Qaddafi have seized back the town of Bani Walid and raised the late dictator’s green flag.(Stephan, the Guardian,23,01,2012, p 1). Bani Walid is just closer to the capital Tripoli. These fighters were described by an NTC official;” 100 to 150 men armed with heavy weapons launched a carefully planned attack, swiftly overwhelming the town”(ibid, p1).

         In fact, the NTC is very weak, even in Benghazi (which was the cradle of the rebellion), its offices were stormed and ransacked. Those who did that were shouting that “the opportunists have been allowed to join the government, with some saying that the NTC represents western rather than Libyan interests”(ibid, p 1). In the same city Benghazi, “ the local resistance fighters attacked the Hotel of Tebesti and killed 5 CNT members”(Krath, Pravda,09,01,2012,p 1). Moreover, the NTC recognized that Libya’s south is not under its control any more. The south of the Libyan Sahara is of the Touareg country ( ibid, p 1). According to Agence France Press (AFP), more than 113 NTC loyalists were killed by Qaddafi loyalists and they took control of the city airport of Kufra (Lamloum, AFP, 21, 02, 2012,p 1).

    Finally, Libya is no longer united, no longer secure; the prospects of a protracted civil war are most likely. The question which rises here is; what are the effects of this civil war on Algeria?

    We cannot understand the dangerous security threats without figuring out this two questions;

  1. How many arms are there in Libya?
  2. Who is controlling these arms? Who are the rebels?

                   In fact Libya is relatively a small country in terms of its population but its military weaponry is impressive. It was during Qaddafi’s era, in some fields bigger than that of Algeria. The comparative table below illustrates this power;

Category/ weaponAlgeriaLibya
Total active147.00076.000
Total active and reserves297.000116.000
Main battle tanks MBT895800 (1225)
AIFV/Armoured cars/ tanks1.0401.000+
Armoured Personnel Carrier8401065
ATGM(Anti tank guided Missile)launchers+2003.000
SP Artillery (self Propelled)170444
Towed artillery375+647
Lt SAM launchers+288+424
Aircraft total fighters141349
Helicopters total175136
SAM surface to air missile+140 heavy launchers+216 heavy launchers
Naval forces Submarines22
Coastal inshore patrol114
*Algerian and Libyan forces in 2008, adapted table (Cordesman , 2009, p11-12)

           As we see here, Libya was overwhelming Algeria in MBT( main Battle Tanks), APC(Armoured Personnel Carriers), ATGM ( Anti Tanks Guided Missiles), SPA ( Self Propelled Artillery), Towed Artillery, Aircraft Fighters.

          However, Qaddafi’s weak point was his relatively small army personnel which is the backbone of any Army. It was estimated at 50.000 men plus 25.000 conscripts (Cordesman, 2009, p 61). Compared to this impressive arsenal, this personal is too small. According to specialist in the North African countries;” Libya only has 25 to 33% of the man power needed to man its strength of combat units and total equipment pool”(ibid, p 61). This means that about 65% of the weaponry was in the storage. This turns” the country into the world’s largest military parking lot”(ibid, p 60).

     After the rebellion, all these weaponry felt under the disposal of the so called rebels. Who are these rebels? 

   They were pictured as freedom fighters looking for democracy and equality. However, this armed opposition is not only against Qaddafi, it was before against the west as well. In the beginning of the uprising, one leader of the rebellion named Abdel Karim Al Hassidi said to the British Newspaper the Telegraph;”some jihadists who fought allied groups in Iraq are now on the front line of the battle against Qaddafi”(Swami, the Telegraph,25,03,2011). What does it mean?

            The previous enemies of the west in Iraq are right now his partners in Libya. “Concepts are turned upside down, the US-NATO military is supporting a rebellion integrated by Islamists in the name of the war on terror?”(Chodousovsky, 14.01.2012, p1).

    The current head of chief staff of the rebels is Abdel Karim Belhaj, was an Emir (commander) of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). He was a terrorist arrested by the CIA and delivered to the Libyan authority. He was in jail till 2010.

     In 1996, LIFG attempted to assassinate Qaddafi. The counter attack of this latter was brutal and ruthless. Many Islamists were summarily executed in Abou Salim Jail. They called themselves the Abou Salim Family, most of them were from the East mainly Benghazi. In 2008, another round of mass arrest took place, 70 Islamists were sentenced for life imprisonment and two others executed (Blonchard, 2011, p 30). However, in October 2006, almost all the group was released after they pledged not to attack the Libyan state.

      However, in 2007, a leader of LIFG named Abou Leith Al-libi announced the merger between Al Qaida and LIFG (ibid, p 32). After the outbreak of the uprising, the same leader” released a video condemning Qaddafi and calling on Libyans to use arms against Qaddafi’s supporter”(ibid, p32). The LIFG was designed by the US as a terrorist organisation in 2004.

         Hugh Roberts, a British specialist on Algerian politics said;” the Islamist aspect of the Libyan rebellion should put as on our guard, it is among several reasons to ask wither we  what we have been witnessing a revolution or a counter revolution”(Roberts, 17,11,2011,p 2).

           France was the pioneer in supporting the rebellion. It was the first country to recognise NTC. The former head of the French Intelligence Services Evie Bonier said;” France has lost its honour in Libya….the NATO allies are fostering a snake and one day it will attack them. France would  be its first prey” (Bellamri, Al Khaber, 17,09,2011, p 11).  We will explain the effects of this instability on France in the next chapter.

         Now, what is the attitude of these rebels toward Algeria? And to what extend it can be dangerous?

  It is worthy to use geopolitics here as we did with Morocco, If we look at the map above, we will notice that Algeria has two points of weakness with regards to Libya;

 1- Its open large borders with Libya,(1000 KM), therefore a total control is impossible.

  2- The bulk of the Algerian petroleum industry is in the eastern borders with Libya. It can be easily targeted by terrorists groups.

     Moreover, the borders between the two countries are not ratified yet. And there are shared reserves of gas and oil in between the borders. According to the CIA world Fact Book;” Libya claims 320.000 sq Km of territories from Algeria”(CIA World Fact Book, October,2011).

        The position of these rebels towards Algeria was aggressive. They accused Algeria of supporting Qaddafi with weapons.  Algeria refused to recognise the NTC till the 23rd of September 2011 which was very late if not worthless since it came up just few days before the fall of Tripoli. Moreover, unlike Egypt, Algeria refused to open its airspace to NATO aircrafts to apply the No Fly Zone measures.

     As a result, the Libyan rebels pledged to launch a war on Algeria. In August 2011, Algeria was attacked by Al-Qaida with a double bombing on a Military Academy in Cherchel. A video of Al Qaida was released “stating that it was their revenge to the Algerian leadership for the Libyan intrigues”( Blamosov, Pravda, 16,11,2011, p1).

    This threat was seriously taken by the Algerian authorities especially after the expansion of light arms trade. In 2011,” Algerian authorities had arrested 84 Libyans who smuggled weapons from their country to Algeria”(Russia TV,21,02,2012). In February 2012, 43 Anti Aircraft missiles were found in two caches in the desert (ibid, p1). This situation is very dangerous for the Algerian army who was fighting smuggling and terrorism in its huge southern borders through the use of Helicopters. Now, with this missiles known as MANPAD(  Man Portable Surface to Air Missile), the balance is pitted in favour of the terrorists. It is easy to destroy an expensive helicopter with a cheap missile. It is reported that Qaddafi’s arsenal of these missile is the largest amongst the non producing countries, its numbers was estimated at 20.000 (Ibid, p1).

       After this analysis, the focal question is; are these rebels a serious threat to the security of Algeria?

   I assume that Algeria will be in relative peace as long as these rebels are disunited. This civil war is weakening the strength of the NTC. As Colin Powel said;”if you divide it you own it”. The South is in war with NTC, Touareg tribe is in war with it, the Islamists hardliners have been sent to the Syrian front and the sons of Qaddafi are still alive.

    However, these rebels can be used by foreign powers to bleed and blackmail Algeria. Moreover, the chaos in Libya is nurturing another front in the wild south which was already simmering for a long time. This will be the subject of the coming section.

   Section 3; Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and Touareg rebellion;

   The military uprising in Libya has generated dangerous circumstances in the South of Algeria which was already in a dire situation. Before the death of Qaddafi, Algeria was fighting one rival in the South represented by Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), now, Algeria is facing a second instability spawned by the revolt of Touaregs in Mali.

     Let us first deal with the terrorist threat of AQIM;

        The Algerian history is unique and different, ”it was the first state in the contemporary Middle East to allow the creation of an openly Islamist party whose chief objective was installation of an Islamic republic and the application of Sharia”(Le Sueur, p40). The charismatic leadership of the Islamist party FIS( The Islamic Front of Salvation) emerged in the late 1980s as the unique solution to all Algerian political and economic failures. They won the elections of 1991 and almost three million of Algerians voted in their favor.”Of the 231 contested seats in the National Assembly…FIS captured 188”(ibid, p50). The current ruling party FLN ( National Liberation Front) won only 15 seats. Algeria was on the brink to become the second Iran. But the democratic dream did not endure for a long time, It was ended by a military coup in January 1992, the elections were cancelled, the FIS was banned and its militants were arrested.

    The reaction of the leadership of FIS was bold and lethal. They declared Jihad ( a Holy war) against the secular apostate regime of Algeria. Later on, Algeria entered what was dubbed the black decade.

    After FIS was banned, two military wings emerged; the GIA( the Islamist Armed Group) which was formed by the Algerian veterans of Afghanistan war against the Soviet Union (1979-1989). They embraced a comprehensive fight not only against the Algerian regime but even against any faction of the Algerian society which refused to support them. The second wing was MIA (the Islamist Armed Movement) which was targeting only the security forces.

      The Algerian black decade led to the death of about 200.000 people and the cost of the violence was estimated at 30 $ billions (Berkouk, 2009, p 1). Miraculously, Algeria succeeded in subduing the threat of terrorism. I argue that this success is due to:

      1-The cruel massacres committed by GIA against civilians; killings, rapes, mutilations, children were burnt alive, elders were stabbed to death….. A British specialist on the Algerian terrorism said that 70% of the killings was committed by knives, axes, machetes, spears,… In the recent history, this wave of killings” was surpassed in killings, violence and obscenity only by Rwanda’s frenzied genocide of 1994”(Keenan, 2009, p 146). This led to a split between Algerian society and the insurgents.

   2- The split inside the Islamist insurgency itself (GIA, MIA, AIS,..)

    3- The rise of oil prices during the late 1990s and the support of U.S. companies in boasting the Algerian oil production.

    4- The bold measures taken by the Algerian army mainly; the arming of civil rural population which was a dangerous bargain. But it led to isolation of terrorists.

    5- The bold measures taken by the Algerian political leadership, mainly;

  • The law of Civil Concord approved in September,1999.
  • The Charter for Peace and Reconciliation approved in 2005.

Through these measures, a general amnesty was given to all those who dropped arms except for” murderers, rapists and bombers, exception for security forces from prosecution for crimes of 1990s, and compensation for families of victims of violence and the disappeared”(Arieff, 10th, February 2011, p7).

        This was briefly about Algerian terrorism, the question which rises here is what about AQIM?

         The terrorist threat was not directed only against Algeria. In 1993, GIA issued at London its newspaper “Al-Anser”. In December 1994, GIA hijacked an Air de France plane from Algiers to Marseille. In 1995, Paris Metro station was bombed by GIA.

    In 1998, after the unprecedented massacres of GIA, a splinter group was founded by Hassan Hattab dubbed GSPC (Salafist Group for preach and Combat). Its main principle was stopping the attacks on civilians. In 2003, Hassan Hattab was overthrown by two young fighters N, Sahraoui and Droudkal. The later took over GSPC after the death of the former.

    In 2003, after the US invasion of Iraq, GSPC declared allegiance to Al Qaida. This new strategy was successful,” in 2005, US authorities reported that one out of every five suicide bombers in Iraq was Algerian”(Thornberry, 2011, p 3). In 2006, in the fifth anniversary of 9/11th attacks, the official merger between GSPC and Al-Qaida was announced. GSPC changed its name to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, What are the new aims of this faction?

   According to its leader Abdel Malek Droudkal:”our goals in our fight is very clear, which are the military and official targets of the government and the western interests”(New York Times, 01,07,2008,p 7). This means a dramatic change toward global jihad. He said:”we seek to liberate the Islamic Maghreb from the sons of France and Spain”(ibid, p4). Even the means of fight were changed by adopting the Iraqi style of suicide bombers using vehicles. In 2007, the UN offices in Algiers and the Constitutional Council offices as well as the Government Palace were attacked by suicide bombers and the operation was filmed and released through the internet. In September,2007, AQIM attempted to kill the Algerian president in Batna. Its operations became more spectacular.

    We cannot assess the power of AQIM without looking at its methods of funding; how does it fund itself?

    In 2003, GSPC abducted 32 foreign tourists in the Algerian Sahara. 17 of them were freed by an intervention by the Algerian army. The other 15 were released later after the payment of 5 Million Euros (Keenan, 2009, p1). This easy money is the backbone of AQIM funding.      According to a French analyst AQIM garnered 183 Million Euros since 2007 through the use of ransoms ( Ateff Kadedra, Alkhaber, 12,03,2012, p3).

       Let us now move to the focal point in our research; are the activities of AQIM a potential threat to the Algerian security?

      I cannot use variables such as balance of power or state’s resolve given by Neo realism here; instead I can use other presumptions given by the specialist in “New wars”, Mary Kaldor. She argues that “the aim [of these new warfare] is to control the population by getting rid of everyone of a different identity (and indeed of a different opinion) by instilling terror”(Kaldor, 2006, p9). It means that the real target of this new warfare is not capturing a territory through conventional battles and direct fight. Instead, its easy agenda is to create  “a  dramatic increase in the numbers of refugees and displaced persons..that’s why most violence is directed against civilians”(ibid, p 09).

      The question which emerges here is; can AQIM undermine Algerian security?

   I assume that their success is dependent on two variables;

  1. The manner they will treat local communities in Sahel. If AQIM will attack civilians it will lose their support in a wild and ruthless environment.
  2. The success of AQIM is tied to its internal structure, ie, its degree of discipline and unity within the group and the leadership.

 According to a study made by the Center of Strategic and International Studies in 2011, the commandment of Droudkal on AQIM is just nominal; the real commanders are two:

         1-The wing of Mokhtar Bel Mokhtar (known as Mr. Marlboro): he is focusing on making money through kidnapping, smuggling, ransoms..He did not kill any hostage. He gained trust with local tribes in Mali and Niger through marriage with notable families and money grants.

2-The ideological wing of Abu Zaid; his priority is not money; instead he is a staunch believer in jihad and Al-Qaida rhetoric. He executed a British hostage in May 2009 on the Malian territory which led to a crackdown by the Malian authorities (Thornberry, 2009, p 8). Another French hostage was killed in July 2010. “The different priorities of the two commanders illustrate AQIM’s potential to eventually fragment into a number of smaller organizations with varying purposes”(ibid, p8). Sun Tsu said about the conditions of victory;” he will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all his ranks”(Sun Tzu, 2006, p 21). AQIM commanders are not motivated by the same spirit. The fragmentation of AQIM means its final collapse. That’s why the manpower of GSPC declined from about 30.000 in 1998 to merely 1.000 men in 2001. The number of its attacks shrank from 40 attacks in 2009 to only 10 in 2010 (Thornberry, 2009, p4). Thus, I argue that AQIM is not a serious threat to the Algerian state.

     This was about AQIM and its implications on the security of Algeria. Now let us move to the second threat which is ongoing in the south; the recent insurgency of Touareg in Mali and Niger. First, I will start by highlighting the grassroots of the problem.

      Touareg is a big Berber speaking ethnicity which was divided by the French empire between Algeria, Mali, Niger, Chad and Libya. The Touareg of Algeria did not revolt against the Algerian regime. But in 1990, their relatives in Mali waged a war against Mali, Niger and Chad. They do not recognize the artificial borders made by the French which divided Azaouad (their territory).

       Qaddafi supported the idea of “Big Sahara” as a united nation for the Touaregs. He supported them with arms and money. Some of them were recruited into the Libyan army.

     Niger is a poor country but it is very rich in Uranium. It has the second most important Uranium mine (Imouraren) in the world (Conan, 2011, p 219). This mine is controlled by the French company Arriva. Although this mine is situated in Touareg territory, no share was given to them. They accuse Niger with segregation and injustice. Their demands were not fulfilled by the Nigerian government. They formed a guerilla named the NMJ (Niger Movement of Justice). In January 2009 an agreement was signed in Libya where a local stake   was promised to Touareg in exchange of dropping their arms (ibid, p 219).

   The situation was calm till the outbreak of the Libyan uprising in which Touareg fought on the side of Qaddafi against the Libyan rebels. After the death of Qaddafi, Touaregs were subject to an ethnic cleansing in Libya. They fled to Mali and Niger currying with them all their weapons.

      On Augest the 26th 2011, a Malian radical Touareg leader Ibrahim Ag Bahanga was assassinated, he was the Leader of the ATNM “the Alliance of Touareg of Niger and Mali” which was a secessionist group that wanted independence from Mali he was against the accords of Algiers 2006, that urged the Touareg  to stop secession claims in exchange for  promises by Mali to develop the Northern regions. But Mali did not meet its obligations.

      Touareg resumed their revolt against Bamako few weeks after the end of Libyan uprising from which they gained important quantities of weapons. The question which emerges here is; what are the impacts of these events on Algerian security?

      So far the position of Algeria is neutral, it is against the fragmentation of Mali but at the same time it is against the slaughter of Touaregs.

     Since the conflict is still ongoing no one can expect the results but I argue that this conflict is more complex and prone to many scenarios. Since, unlike the threats of AQIM, the demands of Touareg are legitimate, old ( the first uprising out broke in 1963) and their number is relatively large, they are between 1.5 to 5 millions. And most importantly they were born fighters (Balmosov, Pravda, 24,01,2012, p01). In 20th March 2012, a US drone was dropped by rebels in North Mali through the use of a SAM (Surface to Air Missile) smuggled from Libya (Mohamed ben Ahmed,,20,03,2012). This is a turning point in the conflict because Algerian air forces might be targeted as well.

    Algeria was put into a security dilemma because Touareg of Algeria could not remain silent if their relatives in Mali or Niger might be slaughtered. At the same time any success of the secessionist Touareg could endanger the territorial integrity of Algeria. Therefore, the continuity of the status quo is the sole way out for Algeria.

 Chapter 3; the international challenges of Algeria;

 1- Section one; Algeria and the U.S.’s interests;

      The U.S Algerian ties are old, in 1775, the US signed a treaty of friendship with Algeria. During the war of liberation, the US president Kennedy supported the Algerian independence.

        However, during the Cold War, Algeria did not join any pole; instead, it was a leader in the Non Aligned Movement. It had few in common with the U.S.A in the 1970s and 1980s but now, according to the U.S secretary of State Hillary Clinton;”we are very grateful for the excellent cooperation [with Algeria] that we receive on counterterrorism and security issues”(Arieff, July,2011, p 10). The Algerian embassy in the USA has qualified the bilateral relations as “have entered a new dynamic and very promising phase and are stronger than they have ever been”(ibid, p 10). The questions which rise here are; What are the interests  of the U.S in Algeria?  Can Algeria preserve its independence from the huge leverage of the U.S.A? in other words, can Algeria face the US ambitions?

      Through this research, I have realized that the U.S Algerian relations had passed through three major stages;

  1. The cold war distrust; because of the anti western decisions taken by Algeria after the independence mainly its offensive politics against Israel and its positions regarding OPEC , the USA and France were forced to stem the Algerian ambitions through the support of its regional rival Morocco.  As one specialist said;”the US government’s relations with Morocco and Algeria were inverse opposites at the time of the 1970s”(Mundy,2006, p 278). Morocco was seen as a partner to the west,” like the Saudi and Jordanian monarchs, US policy makers saw Leroy [nickname of King Hassen ] as the best guarantor of domestic and regional stability”(ibid, p 278).

    After multiple coups against King Hassen 2 in 1971 and 1972, the end of the whole kingdom appeared certain. In order to save his throne, he decided to invade Western Sahara. He launched his Green March but he was forced to withdraw. At that time Henry Kissinger who was the US Secretary of State said;” Hassan has pulled back in the Sahara, but if he doesn’t get it, he is finished. We should now work to ensure he gets it. We should work it through the UN”(ibid, p 300). But how did the US help King Hassan 2 in invading Western Sahara? And what was the price paid by Morocco for this support?

     Through the UN and the Security Council, France and the US succeeded in stopping all resolutions against Morocco. At the same time they helped economically and militarily to strengthen the Moroccan army. At that time this army was 7 to 8 times weaker than the Algerian army in terms of the number of aircrafts, tanks and artillery ( ibid, p 298). According to CIA report at that time;”if the Algerians want to conduct a serious war, get ready for it, they can do substantial damage”(ibid, 298).

      After a comprehensive victory of Polisario over Morocco in 1979(in Lebourat where 1500 Moroccan troops were killed) and in 1980 in Djbel Ourkiz, the then US president R, Reagan increased the military aid to Morocco. He said to the Congress in 1985;”[our military aid ]helps to maintain the stability of a pro-western country that had played a Moderating role in the Arab Israeli conflict”(Pennel, 2000, p 368). This military aid helped Morocco to pit the balance against Polisario.

                  In the other side, Morocco helped the USA and France to curry on proxy wars in Zaire (currently Congo). In 1970s, “Moroccan armed forces helped suppress rebellions against Mubutu, a key US and Franch ally”( Shelley, 2004, p 08). For example in 1975, 1500 Moroccan troops were deployed in Shada (Congo) to crash a rebellion there. Moreover,” Rabat was also complicit in US support for UNITA in Angola and the MNR in Mozambique and supposedly [involved] in coup attempts in Benin, Chad and the Comoros”(ibid, p8).

  • The second stage; the oil syndrome;  after the end of the Cold War, the geostrategic importance of Morocco for the USA decreased dramatically while Algeria emerged as a golden opportunity for US oil companies to invest in the Algerian oil fields.

           While Morocco was thriving economically during 1994, Algeria was on the brink of bankruptcy with a deficit of 26 Billion $. During this internal havoc, the US Company Halliburton took the opportunity to invest in Algeria. In a joint venture with the Algerian public company Sonatrach, Halliburton created a company dubbed Brown and Root Condor (CBR). In a brief time this company was given 26 major oil state contracts. The creation of this company was a turning point in the US Algerian ties. Why?

        Because the CEO ( Chief Executive Officer) of this company was  Dick Cheney who became later the USA’s Vice President during the term of G.W Bush (Keenan, 2009, p 150). Through this contracts, the US found itself  forced to support the Algerian military regime who was internationally isolated. This US support was mentioned by the Algerian president Bouteflika in 2001 during his visit to the White House, he stated;” while European companies had fled our country in times of trouble, American ones, by contrast had gambled on the future of Algeria”( ibid, p 163). The result for this US investment is that the USA has become the first foreign investor in Algeria.

  • The third stage; Security partnership after the 9/11th; as one British specialist on the Algerian terrorism said;”the events of 9/11th provided a heaven sent opportunity for Algeria”(ibid, p 164). In 2001; Bouteflika visited the USA two times in July and November. He met G W Bush for 80 minutes in the White House. In February 2001, the Algerian Chief of Staff of the Army, General Mohamed Lamari visited the US European Command in Germany (Eucom). This visit was followed by a secret visit of the head of the FBI to Algeria. In June 2002, President Bouteflika visited Washington for the third time. In the same year, Secretary of State Collin Powel visited Algeria. Later on Donald Rumsfeld visited Algeria.

     Now let us start our security analysis by asking this question; what is the purpose of all these visits? In other words, what does the US want from Algeria?

     After a lot of research on this opaque subject, I assume that the USA wants three main  interests:

      1- Oil and energy resources; Algeria is the largest total oil liquids producer in Africa (EIA, last updated May 2009). As the Neo realist theorist Mearsheimer said about great powers that they” do not merely strive to be the strongest of all the great powers…their ultimate aim is to be the hegemon, that is the only great power in the system”(Mearsheimer, 2003, p 02) . The USA wants to contain China in Africa through the control of oil and natural resources supply in Africa. In 1992, after the official demise of the USSR, a secret official document issued by the Pentagon was leaked to the press. It stated that” our strategy must now refocus on precluding the emergence of any potential future global competitor”(Jentelson, 2010, p 343).

       The American specialist on oil studies M, Klare said in his famous book; oil and blood;” petroleum is the unique among the world’s resources that it has more potential than any others to provoke major crises and conflicts in the years ahead”(Klare, p xiii).

            In his speech of the state of the union in 2006, G, W, Bush spoke about” his intention to replace more than 75% of [the US] our oil imports from the Middle east by 2025”( Ploch, 2011, p 15-16). I assume that Africa is the most likely potential substitute of the Middle East. This is very dangerous and a turning point in history, why?

     Because, if the USA wants to pull out from the Middle East where about two thirds of the world’s oil reserves exist, who is going to fill in this vacuum? Moreover, the current president Barack Obama ordered the full withdrawal of the US army from Iraq in January 2011. It seems illogical but for the moment,” Africa now supplies the United States with roughly the same amount of crude oil as the Middle East”( ibid, p 15). Nigeria for instance is the fifth supplier of oil to the US and Algeria is the sixth one. Moreover, there are big oil reserves in Libya and the Gulf of Guinea. Nevertheless, I assume that the recent move to withdraw from Iraq by Obama is flawed; it is against the vital interest of the USA. Especially given that the US currency the Dollar is tied to oil. If another power takes over in the Middle East and if that regime decides to sell oil with another currency, this means a potential demise of the Dollar. But the US administration is determined to take over African resources in order to stop the Chinese rise and to diversify its oil supplies as part of its future energy security.

             2- The quest for open markets; According to the Algerian embassy in the USA,” Algeria is the largest trade partner of the US in North Africa and ranks second in the Arab world [after Saudi Arabia] and Africa”(,24,03,2012). And the US is the largest client for Algeria in the world (ibid, p1). According to the same official source, Algeria is the second recipient of US investment in the Arab world just after Saudi Arabia. Currently, Algeria is providing just 5% of US petroleum imports but this share is expected to reach 20% in 2015, so Algeria will play a major role in the US energy security (ibid, p 01).  Therefore, Algeria means a tremendous opportunity for the US economy especially given that Algeria has huge foreign exchange reserves of more than 146 billion$ (ibid, p 01). It is currently running a five years economic development program with the cost of 286 billion $ from 2010 to 2014.

     The US interests took a turning point in 1998 with the establishment of Eizenstat Initiative. It took its name from the US Treasury Deputy Secretary. The initiative wanted to reach two main aims;”to boost bilateral trade between the  US, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia…and to break down intra regional trade barriers to maximize private sector led development”(Shelley, 2004, p 10).

      The best way to implement this strategy is to encourage Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia to refresh the Union of the Arab Maghreb (UAM). It is an economic and tariff free union between North African countries except Egypt created in 1989.  But this project is still a way off because of the lack of willingness especially between Algeria and Morocco. The USA has already signed a free trade agreement with Morocco in 2003. The question that rises here is; what do the US companies want from this initiative?

       The US companies want an open access and a deregulated environment. In other words, they want a limited role of the state in economic and financial transactions. They want what was dubbed “the light touch” i.e. less regulations and restrictions. Morocco fulfilled these conditions and it was ranked” country of the year by the US Trade and Development Agency”(ibid, p12). But nothing like this was achieved in Algeria. By contrast, Algerian government issued a bold law in 2006 giving all Algerian economic societies in partnership with foreign companies a dominant share of 51% in order to strengthen the state control over the policies and strategies of these companies especially in the field of hydrocarbon. This law affected many US companies because they can do nothing without the consent of their Algerian counterpart.

         What is the strategy of Eizenstat Initiative?

      According to this initiative, “ the US companies would be most interested in trade and investment if they could operate on a regional basis by investing in one country and then exporting to the entire region they could reach a market of some seventy to eighty million people”(Shelley, 2004, p 11). It means that the US companies are most likely to start their investment in Morocco where all the conditions of freedom are fulfilled. Then they could export to the whole Maghreb region. But this project is stillborn because of the structural differences between Morocco and Algeria. For example, the price of basic goods like food, oil, gas and medicaments is lesser than in Morocco and Tunisia because of the Algerian state support given to these items. Therefore any open market will lead to a drain in these goods to the neighboring countries where their prices are higher. This will lead to a direct deficit in the Algerian budget.  Moreover, there is the lingering effect of the Western Sahara conflict between Algeria and Morocco.

    In his recent visit to Algeria, the US Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Marc Crossman said;” greater regional economic cooperation would facilitate the political resolution of the conflict over Western Sahara”(ibid, p 11). It means that cooperation between Algeria and Morocco might be a condition to the settlement of the conflict over West Sahara. But the Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia said recently;” we are not in a rush to reopen our borders with Morocco, any opening must be done on solid bases”(C, Djamel, Reflexion, 19, 02, 2012).

    But the USA is urging the two countries to reopen the borders. In February 2012, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. She asked both Rabat and Algiers to strengthen their ties in order to give rebirth to the UAM.

  • The security cooperation and the quest of a Military base [Africom]; the third most important interest of the US administration in strengthening its security partnership with Algeria is the quest for a host country to the African command which is a US military base.[ It is worthy to say that  no official demand was announced for Algeria to accept to host Africom by any US officials].

    Why does the US want to establish a military base in Algeria?

 As the head of the Algerian Center of Strategic and Security Studies (CESS), Mr Mohend Berkouk said;” geostrategically, Algeria is centrally positioned in the Maghreb and has borders with Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco, Libya and Tunisia”( Berkouk, p 3). No other country has this privilege. Moreover, Algerian territory is the biggest in all Africa, its landmass extends in the south to the center of Sub Saharan region.

        Who is behind the idea of a military base in Africa?

      There are many controversial strategies in the current US policy. In 1995 for instance, the US Department of Defense (DOD) asserted in its Security Strategy for Africa;”ultimately we see very little traditional strategic interest in Africa”(Ploch, 2011, p 13). However, just after the coming of G W Bush administration this qualification has changed upside down. Few months after the 9/11th attacks, Africa has become a priority to fight global terrorism (ibid, p13). In the US National Security Strategy of 2006, Africa was identified as a high priority (ibid, p 14).

        To understand more, we need to answer the following question; what is the assignment of Africom?

        In its draft statement, it was written that;”in concert with other US government agencies and international partners, US Africa Command conducts military operations to deter aggressions and response to crises”(Ploch, 2011, p01). But this statement was changed cleverly to;”Africom conducts sustained security engagement through military to military programs…as directed to promote a stable and secure African environment in support of US foreign policy”(ibid, p 01). We find a great degree of autonomy of Africom in the first draft but in the modified version, Africom will work with African countries to promote stability. The focal question that seems crucial here is; how will the US Africom deal with a country that becomes a failed state?

       In 2002, the US National Security Strategy stated;” America is now threatened less by conquering states than we are by failing ones”(ibid, p 4). So how should the US Africom respond to instability according to the Bush Administration? 

     In 2005, the US Department of Defense (DOD) issued its directive number 300.05 which stated that: “Stability operations are core US military missions”(ibid, p 4). Mali for instance is undergoing a dangerous instability, there is a rebellion in the north of the country and during the ongoing of this research a coup was staged by a group of soldiers in March 2012. The first thing they have done was the dissolution of all the state’s institutions like the parliament, the government, local assemblies,..To sum up we can say that Mali is going to a slippery slope; a rebellion in the north led by Touareg and a military coup in the south.

      According to the US National Security Strategy of 2008:” instability of many states to police themselves effectively..represent a challenge to the international system…if left unchecked such instability can spread and threaten regions of interest to the US, our allies and friends”(ibid, p 5).

       After this lay out I expect a coming direct or indirect US intervention in the Sahel region to bring about stability. On the 5th of April 2012, the head of the Malian military junta Amadou Haya Sanogo said:” if great powers were able to cross oceans to fight against the Islamists, what prevents them from coming to us?”(Palgrain, NY Times, 06,04,2012, p 1). He was eluding to the US intervention in Afghanistan. And he offered his welcome to the USA to intervene in Mali to fight the threat of AQIM and Touareg rebels who got relations with it. The question that relates to our subject is: What is the position of Algeria? Or simply, can Algeria stem the US ambitions?

        The honey moon between Algeria and the US has been damaged after the Libyan crisis of 2011. During this turmoil, Algeria did not only opposed the US Odyssey Dawn operation launched first by the US Africom, but Algeria” nearly openly supported Al Qaddafi”( Balmosov, Pravda, 06,02,2012, p 1). Moreover, Algeria refused to open its space to US and French drones to monitor terrorist activities. And above all Algeria is refusing to host any US military base under the banner of preserving its neutrality and independence. There is a great deal of security cooperation and intelligence sharing between the two countries but a climate of distrust is still lingering. For example, ”the Algerian government requires US Embassy personnel to seek permission to travel to the Casbah (old city) within Algiers and outside the province of Algiers and to have a security escort”(Arieff, July 2011, p 19). These procedures were taken under the pretext to protect them from terrorist threats but at the same time they reflect a will to monitor the activities of the US embassy in Algeria.

Section 2; France and Algeria, the weight of history and geopolitics:

   France ranks second after the U.S.A. as a trading partner to Algeria. The volume of trade between Algeria and France was just 10.3 billions $ while that between the USA and Algeria was 20 billions $ in 2008 (French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Economic relations, updated on 04, 10, 2010). Nevertheless, France is the first supplier of Algeria. It enjoys 15.7% of Algerian imports. Regionally, Algeria is France’s largest market not only in the Maghreb but even in Africa. Internationally, Algeria means a lot for France, it is the third leading market for French exports…after Russia and China”(ibid, p 01). In terms of Foreign Direct Investment, France is ranked second after the USA. There are 420 subsidiaries of French companies in Algeria employing about 30.000 people (ibid, p1). In terms of ethnicity, there are” about 4 million Algerians and individuals of Algerian descent [who] live in France”( Arieff, February, 2011, p13). In terms of culture, Algeria is the second Francophone country in the world just after France. However, politically relations between the two countries are complex, unpredictable and sometimes strained. What is the secret behind this fluctuating links?

    France for Algerians means 132 years of colonization stigmatized with disgrace, famine, massacres, injustice and ignorance.. Between 1830 and 1870, about the third of Algerians were killed ( Zoubir, 2011, p 2). Algerians fought in line with the French soldiers in Vietnam, the First World War and the Second World War. When this latter ended, Algerians went out on the 8th of May of 1945 to celebrate the event and to ask for more freedom. The response of France was ruthless, about 45.000 Algerians were shot dead.

    In the other side, Algeria for the French means a lot. It means the eventual collapse of the French empire. In 1962, about one million French citizens born in Algeria were forced to leave the country where they lived for 132 years. It was one of the largest forced exiles in the recent history. They left behind them their belongings, their homes and their youth. To sum up, I will quote a British journalist:” from a French point of view, Algeria was no mere colony but an integral part of the nation…..that Algeria might be lopped off was close to unthinkable, akin to losing a limb”(Barber, Financial Times, 10, 12, 2011, p 17).    This July, Algeria will celebrate its 50th anniversary of independence but Franco Algerian relations are not normalized yet. What makes France in the second position after the USA?

    France lost its leading position in Algeria during the Algerian crisis of the 1990s. Instead of supporting the crumbling military junta that took power in January 1992 or at least being neutral, the French foreign policy focused on a flawed attempt to isolate the regime but it did not succeed. The USA took the opportunity and they won. How can I work  it out?

    As the second Algerian president H, Boumediene said in 1974:” relations between France and Algeria may be good or bad but in no way can they be trivial”(Zoubir, 2011, p2). After the end of the cold war, Algeria lost its backup system which was the USSR. It found itself alone in front of the west. And after the sharp decline in oil prices during the end of the 1980s, Algeria found itself in a dire economic situation. It was on the brink of bankruptcy.

    The French ambassador in Algeria Jean Audibert ( in office between 1989 to 1992) described the economic situation of Algeria at that time:”the purchasing power dropped with a third, in three years the inflation was 30%….unemployment averaged 50% between young people”( J Audibert, 1994, p 130). And politically, Algeria entered a brutal civil war after the military coup of January 1992. The official reaction of France to this coop was a public condemnation of the French president Mitterrand. Moreover, France led a move against Algeria in the European Community that was a lethal blow in the relations between the two countries.

          Before the coup of 1992, Algeria demanded a loan from the European Community in 1991 which accepted to lend Algeria an emergency loan of 400 million Euros. The first part of this loan (250 million Euro) was released in January 1992. The second tranche (150 Million) was due to be released after the fulfillment of some economic conditions. A special commission was appointed to monitor Algeria, but after the coup of 1992, the second part of the emergency loan was frozen and new political conditions were put on the Algerian regime before the release of any funds. These conditions were: the respect of human rights, tolerance, political pluralism, press freedom..

       These requirements were not easy to fulfill because Algeria was on urgent need and in an emergency state plagued with violence and the absence of law. During this chaotic tragedy, some prominent French diplomats like previous prime Ministers: Raymond Barre and Pierre Mauroy issued an appeal to the then French government in March 1992 in order to help Algeria:”at a moment when Algeria is traversing a grave economic and social crisis, we call on the French government and the European community to furnish it with the support it needs”( Hugh, 2003, p 323). But the awaited second part was not granted, why?

    Neorealism assumptions  give the best answers. International relations are not part of social work or mother Teresa benevolent activities. They are based on the steadfast quest of interest and power. What was the interest of the EU and France?

   “The real policy of the EC and its successor the EU was to force the Algerian government to accept the rescheduling of Algeria’s debt”( ibid, p 325).  What does rescheduling mean?

   According to Oxford Business dictionary it means:” to arrange for somebody to pay back money they borrowed at a later time than was originally agreed”( Parkinson, 2005, p 465). But this measure is done with structural adjustment policies conditions which means the indirect loss of state’s monopoly on macroeconomic sovereignty and eventually the acceptance of the reform program of the IMF.

     Some EU officials said about the second part as they have been quoted by the Financial Times:”until Algeria got into bed with the IMF and produced a nice baby in the form of an economic reform program, the second tranche of the 1990 loan would remain frozen”( Roberts, 2003, p 324). Eventually they succeeded and Algeria bowed to the EU conditions. In 1994, Algeria accepted to reschedule its dept with the IMF, The Algerian currency was devaluated with 40% of its value. And the process of privatization was launched due to the World Bank and IMF requirements. After that, the second tranche was released in May 1994 ( just one month after the devaluation of the Algerian Dinar).

  In the same year, the US powerful company Halliburton entered the Algerian oil market. It was rewarded with 26 oil contracts. In the following year, the Algerian president Liamine Zerouel refused to meet the French president Chirac in Washington. It was an illustration of the Algerian resentment. France was struck by Algerian terrorism in 1995 in Paris. The Islamist Armed Group GIA hijacked a French aircraft in 1994 and bombed Paris Metro in 1994, the result was 15 French victims. After this double attack, France started to change its attitude towards the Algerian regime.

     With the coming of  Bouteflika, the bilateral relations between Algeria and France improved. He was the second president after Chadli Benjdid to visit France in 2000. He said: “Algeria seeks to have extraordinary non trivial not normal but exemplary and exceptional relations with France”(Zoubir, 2011, p2). Later on French President Chirac visited Algeria in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

    The strong position of France against the invasion of Iraq in 2003 strengthened the climate of trust between Algeria and France since they had the same stand. Let us now move to security analysis, what are the interests of France in Algeria?

      When President Chirac visited Algeria in 2003, he was accompanied with Thierry Desmaret (CEO of Franco-Belgian oil company Total) and Pierre Goddoniex (CEO of Gas de France company) and others. This illustrates the main interests of France in Algeria which are mainly petrochemical resources. At that time France was the first trading partner of Algeria but now, it is largely surpassed by the USA.

      The main quest of France is “the removal of all local laws and regulations that restrict corporations buying up state-owned facilities and taking out the profit out of the country…[moreover] the EU is demanding the selling off of the essential services including water provisions, transport, energy and telecommunications”(Alex Lefubure, 2003, p 1). This means that France and the EU is focusing on energy resources and services while  Algerian officials want France to invest in industry on the Algerian soil and under special sovereignty laws. The Algerian Minister of Industry  Ben Merradi said:”Algeria wants its commercial and economic relations with partners such us France to be based not solely on imports and exports anymore but also on productive investments on its soil”( B, Mikail, 2012, p 4).

            In 2005, Algeria and France were heading towards a historic treaty of friendship but the adoption of a French law glorifying the positive effects of colonization in 23rd February 2005 and a refusal of France to apologize on its colonial crimes in Algeria led to another stalemate between them.

         What makes the Algerian officials adamant on the demand of apology from colonial crimes is the fact that President Chirac acknowledged in 1995 the French state responsibility on the deportation of Jews community during the Second World War. He acknowledged also the colonial violence on Madagascar committed by the French army in 1947. Moreover, France is urging Turkey to acknowledge its genocide against the Armin. This is considered as an under estimation of Algerians and a practice of double standards.

         With the coming of President Sarkozy, relations went from bad to worse. In 2011, President Sarkozy led an intervention against Libya which was comprehensively refused by Algeria that saw it as a mere foreign intervention. In 2007, Sarkozy supported the Moroccan plan of autonomy of Western Sahara which is fully refused by Algeria which wants the application of the UN resolutions of self determination. It is worthy to mention that France is a staunch supporter of Morocco, the regional rival of Algeria. This support was not only economic but it was even military, for instance French aircrafts defended the Moroccan army when it was beaten by the Polisario in 1977 and 1978. At that time French aircraft Mirage bombed Polisario camps near the borders of Algeria.

      To sum up, I assume that there is a lobby in France who works against the normalization between the two countries. For instance, while President Sarkozy introduced studies on Holocaust in the program of the French primary schools, he honored those who committed crimes against humanity in Algeria between 1959 and 1962 known as OAS (Armed Secret Organisation) which was  seen as a terrorist group out of the French Law. Moreover, recently president Sarkozy honored the Harka ( those Algerians who fought with France against the independence of Algeria). These people are seen as traitors in Algeria. In 2010, February, the French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner declared that relations between France and Algeria remain bad as long as “the generation of Algeria’s independence is still in power. After it is gone, may be things will be more simple”(Zoubir, 2011, p 3). These kind of declarations is like pouring oil on fire. In the same year, France added Algeria to the list of countries that might represent a terrorist threat to the French security. These moves had negative reaction from the Algerian regime especially when France requested Algeria to allow antigovernment protests on the 14th February, 2011, which is seen by Algerian officials as an attempt to destabilize the country.

      In 2009, the Algerian Minister of Veterans C Abbass said:” while France fails to recognize the crimes committed in Algeria, we can envisage neither reconciliation nor normalization”( European Jewish Press,29,11,2009, p 1). He added that President Sarkozy was elected president of France owing to the Jewish lobby. He mentioned Sarkozy’s Jewish origins. He added that even the Foreign Affairs Minister Mr Bernard Kouchner was Jewish.

   Finally, in terms of security relations, how do we expect the future between the two countries?

     I expect that the two countries will have no way but to cooperate. This assumption is made due to the fact that:

  • They are in a war with same enemy which is terrorism mainly AQIM. Currently this terrorist organization is capturing six French hostages.
  • France needs more energy supplies from Algeria, mainly with the current instability in the Middle East.
  • France needs the Algerian market which is the first importer of French exports in Africa and third in the world.
  • The new Chinese surge in the Algerian market is urging Paris to consolidate its presence in Algeria. Its share in Algerian imports comes second after France.
  • France is suffering economically, its national debt is 85.5% of the GDP while that of Algeria is only 6.6% (the CIA World Fact Book, France, Algeria, updated in 03,04,2012).

    Most importantly, the current instability in northern Mali and Niger with the rebellion of Touareg means a tremendous security threat for France and Algeria. France “derives over 75% of its electricity from nuclear energy…France is the world’s largest net exporter of electricity due to its very low cost of generation”(World Nuclear Association, last updated in February, 2012). The origin of the French Uranium supply is Niger, which “ currently comes third on the list of the Uranium rich nations (after Canada and Australia). This rich area is threatened by AQIM and the current Touareg revolt whose main claim is the liberation of Azawad territory which includes Niger’s Uranium fields. This rebellion has proclaimed the independence of Northern Mali on the 6th of April 2012.

      Both Algeria and France were refusing any split in Mali’s territorial integrity. The French Foreign Minister spokesman Bernard Valero urged Algeria to play a vital role. He said:” we want naturally that Algeria plays all its role in this situation and in face of the terrorist threat”(Reuters, J Irish, 4, April, 2012).

       This was about Algeria and France, now let us move to other international players that can either promote or contain Algeria’s ambitions.

Section 3: The Russian rebirth and Algeria.

     The USSR was the first country in the world to recognize Algeria. During the cold war, the USSR was a reliable supply of arms and technical support to Algeria which imported about 70% to 80% of its military inventory from the USSR with a cost of about 11 billion$ (Katz, 2007, p 01). During the 1990s, bilateral relations deteriorated to the extent that Algeria stopped the payments of its debt due to Russia in 1998. The amount of this debt was 4.5 billion $. With the coming of Bouteflika in 1999 and Putin in 2000 to the presidency of both Algeria and Russia respectively, bilateral relations started to grow positively. First, let us start with highlighting the main interests of Russia in Algeria which can be brought down into two folders: the energetic interests and the security interests.

            The national security of any country is at stake if the supply and delivery of energy supply is not secured. From this stand point, Russia wants to use its tremendous energy resources in order to face the US leverage on Europe. Russia has the largest natural gas reserves in the world (EIA, Russia, updated, November 2010). The Russian company Gazprom is the biggest gas company in the world. It is the first supplier of natural gas to Europe.

                In 2011, Algeria became the fifth natural gas exporter in the world (Derbouche, December, 2011, p1). The Algerian  company Sonatrach and its Russian counterpart Gazprom  were controlling 40% of European gas consumption in 2007, Russia supplied 24% and Algeria 12% (Derbouche, 2007, p3). However, the two countries are heavily dependent on Europe as the major client of their gas.  Russia exports 75% of its gas to Europe while Algeria exports 97% of its gas to it. Moreover, about 60% of Russian foreign currency income comes from Hydrocarbon exports while that of Algeria is higher with a rate of 97% (ibid, p 3).

          Unlike crude oil, natural gas is relatively cheaper, but Russia and Algeria are working to drive gas prices up. Recently, Algeria asked Spain to pay 20% more to buy the Algerian gas. Russia did the same with Ukraine in 2006, this led to the cut of gas supply to Europe since 80% of the Russian gas exports was delivered across Ukraine by pipeline. In August 2006, Gazprom and Sonatrach signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) whose content was kept secret. The most likely purpose of this MoU  was the creation of an organization of gas exporting countries like OPEC for oil. In November 2006, the EU Chief of Foreign Policy Mr, Javier Solana said to the Financial Times that this deal between Algeria and Russia” stopped Algeria selling majority stakes in gas projects to foreign investors”( Bombey, Financial Times, November 13th ,2006). In June 2006, Algeria issued a law to strengthen its grip on Algerian resources by urging any foreign investor to give 51 % of any venture to the Algerian company Sonatrach  in order to give the latter the majority in strategic decision making. The same law was introduced by Putin in 2000 which renationalised all Russian gas companies . After this deal between Algeria and Moscow, an industry analyst said: “Moscow has tightened the grip using Gazprom and Algiers has just changed its hydrocarbon laws giving [Algeria’s] Sonatrach 51% of any project instead of 30%”(ibid, p2). This law cancelled a previous law issued  in 2005 which permitted foreign companies to hold up to 70% of any hydrocarbon project.

   This move was seen as a threat  by NATO Economics Committee which reported that:”Russia was seeking to use energy policy to pursue political ends”(ibid, p01). The same committee warned that a gas cartel like OPEC might be created in order to drive gas prices up.

     In 2008, 12 of the world’s largest gas exporter countries held a meeting in Moscow. In this meeting President Putin said that” the era of cheap gas was coming to an end” (Gost, Financial Times, 24,12,2008, p1). Unlike the other gas exporters like Iran or Qatar, Russia and Algeria are closer to Europe, therefore, the prospects of cooperation between the two countries in order to avoid negative competition is most likely. Especially given that, Russia exports to Eastern Europe and Germany while Algeria exports to Southern Europe (Italy, Spain, Portugal and France).

       In order to consolidate its position in natural gas market, Algeria is currently building in partnership with Niger and Nigeria one of the longest pipelines on Earth which was dubbed Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline (TSGP) which is expected to link large Nigerian gas fields with the Algerian existing web of pipelines towards Europe with a length of 4200 km ( the same length of USA from West to East) (Konan, 2011, p 207). This expensive venture ( 12 billion$) will make Algeria not only a gas producer but a gas transit country between Africa and Europe whose gas demand is expected to increase with 43% by 2030, and more than 80% of this consumption will be imported from outside Europe (ibid, p 207).

     To sum up, we conclude that Algeria has a large room of manoeuvre:  Russia needs Algerian cooperation to avoid competition in gas prices and the EU needs Algeria to diversify its gas supply.

    This was about energetic geopolitics, let us now move to security concerns of Russia in Algeria and how can this be used by Algiers to promote its regional leadership?

    As we said before, Algeria ceased to pay its debt to Moscow in 1998. Two years later, Algiers made a colossal shift in its foreign policy by accepting to join NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue along with its previous rivals: Morocco, Israel and Egypt. NATO expansion for Moscow means no more than a strategy to “strengthen the American power”(Jentelson, 2010, p 361). The US Vice President Dick Cheney stated:” the enlargement of NATO will continue as and where the allies decide”(ibid, p362).

     What was the reaction of Moscow?

  In 2000, the Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov visited Algiers and the Algerian president was invited to Moscow where he signed with president Putin a strategic partnership declaration.” The first such declaration with an Arab country (Moscow may have seen this as countering if not negating Algeria’s membership in NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue”(Katz, 2007, p1). Two years later Algeria refused to join the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP, 2003). The same decision was taken by Moscow. Later on, Algeria was reluctant in joining the French project of the Union for the Mediterranean (Ufm, 2008). “Like Russia, Algiers saw the ENP and UfM  in 2008 as a Eurocentric policy  that is prosaically narrow and paternalistic while its expectations is of a cooperation model that is explicitly more strategic”(Darbouche, 2011, p 6). This similar position reflects the scepticism of both Moscow and Algiers towards any European ambitions. They were alone in refusing these projects in the whole neighbouring countries of the EU.

   In 2006, President Putin visited Algeria and the debt issue was resolved by a Russian compromise to write off all Algeria’s debt. In exchange, Algeria agreed to buy huge military equipments from Russia with a cost of 7.5 $ billion ( Kartz, 2007, p2). “This is the biggest single contract in the field of military technical operation in Russian post Soviet history”(ibid, p2). Besides, Russian company signed a deal of 5 $ billion to build rail ways for Algeria.

     Let us now move to the Algerian security interests from cooperation with Moscow. In other words, how can Russia help Algerian ambitions of regional leadership?

  After, the signature of the military deal of 2006, a scandal broke out when Algerian officials found out that 15 Aircrafts Model MIG 29 of the first delivery from this deal were flawed. Algeria took an unprecedented move by deciding to return these jets. Moreover, Algeria stopped the payment of the deal swiftly. This incident was a serious test to the sustainability of a long trust and military cooperation between the two countries. Eventually, Moscow accepted to return its flawed aircrafts. In exchange, Algeria accepted to buy another model of Russian aircrafts.

      In the meantime Algeria decided to diversify its military suppliers by requesting the USA to sell Algeria American modern weapons like AH-64 (Apache Helicopter). But the USA did not reply. After a long delay, Algerian officials decided to cancel an arm deal with the US with the cost of 3 billion $. This deal included 30 Helicopters Model Shinook and two frigates (Ben Mohamed, Alkhaber, 21st April, 2012, p 4). Algerian Ministry of Defence returned to Moscow to acquire fourth generation’s attack helicopter model Havoc MI 28 or Alligator Hukum 2 (UPI, 1 june 2010,p 1). The delay in the delivery from the USA illustrates the lack of confidence between the two countries. The special conditions on arms sales to Middle Eastern countries and ”The US support for Israel also appear to have been factors in the reported Algerian decision”(ibid, p1).

         The decision of Moscow to write off the Algerian debt and to substitute the flawed jets to Algeria and the Algerian decision to resume its military commands from Russia means that Algeria needs Russia and most importantly that Algeria is reluctant to accept the special conditions of the USA on arms sales. Finally, I assume that Algeria can use positively the US- Russian rivalry in the Arab world and the Mediterranean Sea in order  to project its strategic ambitions for regional leadership.


     Algeria has the strongest military in the region of the Maghreb and the Sahel. It has the wealthiest economy in the region. It is the most populated and it has the qualified manpower needed to meet its ambitions. The Algerian land mass is the biggest in the Maghreb, Africa and the Arab world. This area is very rich in energy resources and natural raw materials. These capabilities if well managed can give Algeria the potential to become a regional leader.

    Regionally, the sole rival of Algeria is Morocco which has the potential to lead the Maghreb if Algeria will fail to meet its regional challenges. The main hurdle against Morocco is its national dept which is consuming 65% of GDP, while that of Algeria is merely 6%.

   Internationally, Algeria cannot stop the ambitions of great powers in the Sahel or the Maghreb without taking side with a reliable strong ally. Algerian reluctance to join a strategic reliable alliance with a great power can be used by Morocco to project Moroccan leverage. Historically, Morocco has proven to the USA and France that it can provide a strong footprint to project US and French agenda, while Algeria refused to join an alliance with Russia under the banner of non alignment.

     The current instability in Libya and Mali is a national security threat to Algerian territorial integrity. If Algeria retain its outdated reaction based diplomacy ( merely responding to foreign threats), it will be forced to accept negative compromises. Therefore, Algeria needs to take the initiative by using the weakness of its neighbours to project its strategic choices. Again, I stress that any Algerian role or prominence in the future is unrealistic without the backup of great power.

     Finally, I assume that the Algerian situation is very complex. It is surrounded with three conflict regions: the Western Saharan negative peace in the west, Libyan chaos in the East and Malian rebellion in the south coupled with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. If Algeria is left alone in front of all these threats, it is most likely to predict another Afghanistan in the South of Europe.      


                 1-Primary resources:

     1  – Antony H Gordesman& Aram Nergizian, ”The North African military balance, force development in the Maghreb”, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Washington DC, USA, 2009.

     2 – Christopher Longston, ”The military balance 2006”,International Institute of Strategic Studies, UK, 2006.

       3  -C R Pennel, ”Morocco since 1830, a history”,  Hurst and Company, London, UK, 2000.  

      4 -Hugh Roberts,” The battlefield, Algeria: 1989-2002, studies in a broken polity”, Verso, NY, USA, 2003.

      5 -Jeremy Kenan,” The dark Sahara: America’s war on terror in Africa”, Pluto press, London, UK, 2009.

       6 -John J Mearsheimer, ”The tragedy of great powers politics”, 1st ed, WW Norton & Company, NY, USA, 2003.

      7 – Sun Tsu,” The art of war”, Hodder Mobius, London, UK, 2005.

      8 -Toby Shelley, ”Endgame in Western Sahara: what future for Africa’s last colony?”, Zeb books, London, UK, 2004.

 2-Secondary resources:

9 – Barry Buzan,” People, states and fear”,2nd ed, Harvester Wheatshef, UK, 1991.

10 – Bousetta Allouche,” Small states and international relations: the case of Algeria”, OPU press, Algeria,1989.

11 – Bruce W Jentleson,” American foreign policy”,4th ed, WW Norton & Company, USA, 2010.

12 – Dilys Parkinson ed,” Oxford Business Dictionary”, Oxford University Press, China, 2008.

13 – Graham Evans, Jeffrey Newham, ”The Penguin Dictionary of International Relations”, Penguin books, UK, 1998.

14 – James de la Sueur, ”Between terror and democracy: Algeria since 1989”, Fern wood publishing, UK, 2010.

15 – John Oakes, “Libya, the history of Gaddafi’s pariah state”, the History press, UK, 2011.

16 – Mary Kaldor, ”New and old wars”, 2nd ed, Polity press, Cambridge, UK, 2006.

17 – Michael T Klare, ”Blood and oil, the dangers and consequences of America’s dependency on imported petroleum”, Metropolitan books, NY, USA, 2004.

18 – Paul D Williams,” Security Studies: an introduction”, Routledge, UK, 2008.

19 – Sidney Bearman, ed, “The Strategic Survey 1999-2000”, International Institute For Strategic Studies”, Oxford University Press, UK, 2000.

3- Articles:

20 –  Alexis Arieff, ”Maghreb facing new global challenges”, Institut Francais des Relations Internationales, July, 2011.

21 – Alexis Arieff,”Algeria: Current issues”, Congressional Research Service, 10 february,2011.

 22 – Alexis Arieff,”Morocco: current issues”, Congressional Research Service, 20th  December, 2011.

23 – Barah Mikail, ”Algeria’s deceptive quiet”, FRID, Policy Brief N:117, March 2012.

24 – Christopher M Blanchard, ”Libya unrest and US policy”, Congressional Research Service, March 29th, 2011.

25 – European Neighborhood and Partnership  Instrument, “Algeria, strategic paper:2007-2013, National Education Program.

 26 – Hakim Darbouch & Susi Dennison,” a Reset with Algeria: the Russia to the EU’s South”, European Council of Foreign Relations, December, 2011.  

27 – Hakim Derbouch, “Russian-Algerian cooperation and the gas OPEC: what’s in the pipeline?”,  Centre for European policy Studies, policy Brief N:123, March, 2007.

28 – Horand Knup,”Islamist terror network gain strength in Africa”, Der     Spiegel, 04th January, 2012.

 29 – Hugh Roberts, ” Who said Gaddafi has to go”, London Review of Books, 17 November, 2011.

30 – Jacob Mundy, ”Neutrality or complicity, the United States and the 1975 Moroccan takeover of Western Sahara”, The Journal of North Africa Studies, Vol 11, N:3, September, 2006.

 31- Jean Pierre Filie,” Al Qaeda In the Islamic Maghreb: Algerian challenge or global threat?”, Carnegie papers, Middle East Program, N: 104, October, 2009.

  32 – John Rolins,” Al Qaeda and Affiliates: historical perspective, global presence and implications for US policy”, Congressional research Service, 25th January, 2011.

 33 – Laurent Ploch,” Africa Command: US Strategic interests and the role of US military in Africa”, CRS, USA, 22nd July, 2011.

34 – Loic Conan,” The Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline: an overview of the threats to its success and the means to prevent its failure”, UTAH Environmental Review, Vol 31, N:1, 2011.

 35 – Mark N Katz,”Russia and Algeria: partners or competitors”, Middle East policy Council, 2007.

36 – Mhand Berkouk, “The US- Algerian security cooperation and the war on terror”, Carnegie Endowment, June, 2009.

37 – Michael Chossudovsky,” Our man in Tripoli: US- NATO sponsorded Islamic terrorists integrate Libya’s democracy opposition”, Global Research, April 3rd, 2011.

38-  Michell, Paul Stevens & Elissa Casinadri, “Resource depletion, dependence and development: Algeria”, Chatham House, November, 2008.

39 – William Endgahl, ”Russia’s high stake energy Geopolitics”, Global Research, 14th November, 2011.

40 – William Thornberry & Jaclyn Levy,” Al Qaeda In the Islamic Maghreb”, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, September, 2011.

41 – Yahia Zoubir,” French-Algerian relations: the weight of history”, Al-Jazeera network, 7 July, 2011.

News papers:

    42 – Alex Lefebve, “Chirac Promotes French interests in Algeria”, World   Socialists    Websites, 15th March 2003.

       43 – Ateff Kdadra,” The Sahara Emirate gained 183 million Euro from ransom”, Al Khaber, 12th March, 2012 (personnal translation from Arabic).

         44 – C, Djamel, “The opening of Algerian Moroccan borders: the conditions of Ouyahia”, reflexion,19th february, 2012.

         45 – Chris Stephan & Luck Harding,”Gaddafi loyalists take back Bani Walid”, The Guardian, 23rd January, 2012.

              46 – Daniel Bombey & Nail Buckley,”NATO fears Russian plans for gas OPEC”, Financial Times, 13th November, 2006.

              47 – Editor, “Massive ex-Gaddafi weapons cache turns up in Algeria”, Russia tv 21st February, 2012.

              48 – Editor, ”Algeria to cut US arms, go Russian”, United Press International,1st June     2011.

               49 – Editor,” Algeria’s Bouteflika to strengthen ties”, France 24, 19th  February, 2008.

               50 – European Jewish Press,”Algerian Minister evokes Jewish lobby behind Sarkosy’s rise to power” AFP,29th, October 2009.

               51   – Imad Lamloum,”More than 100 killed in south Libya clashes” Agence France Press, 21st February, 2012.

               52 – Julia Werdiger, “European Union poised to overtake the U.S. as biggest oil importer”, New York Times, 09th November ,2011.

              53 – Lidya Polgreen, Alan Cowell “Mali rebels proclaim independent state in the North”, New York Times, 06th , April 2012.

                54 – Local editor,”Gaddafi’s son says Libyan people will wipe out ruling gangs”, AlManer,11th February, 2012.

               55 – Louis Charbenau,”Arms from Libya could reach Boko Harem”, Reuters, 26th June, 2011.

               56 – Mohamed Ben Ahmed,”Algeria cancels a military deal of 3 $ billions with the USA”, Alkhaber dz,  21st  April 2008.( Quoted with personnal translation from Arabic).

               57 – Mohamed Ben Ahmed,” Al Qaeda fighters control roads in the extreme south”, Al khaber, 3rd September, 2011 (personal translatin from Arabic).

              58 – Olga Krath,” Libya: new Potemkin facades”Pravda, 09th January, 2012.

           59 –  Ramdhan Belamri, Reda Shenouf, Abdel kader Hrichane,” france Has lost its Honor in Libya and this is very dangerous”, Alkhaber dz, 17th September, 2011.

            60 – Sergey Balmasov, ”Libyan rebels: Algeria to explode next”, Pravda, 16th  November, 2011.

            61 – Sergey Balmasov,” Algeria shows NATO the door”, Pravda, 06th June, 2011.

            62 – Sergey Balmasov,”Libyan rebels to attack the West with Uranium”, Pravda eng, 24th December, 2011.

            63 – Swami, “Libyan rebel admits his fighters have links with Al-Qaeda”,the Telegraph, 25th March, 2011.

             64 – Tony Barber, ”Written in blood, why has Algeria stood apart from the Arab spring?”, Financial Times, 10th December, 2011.


      65 – Algerian Hydrocarbon Company Sonatrach updated 2011.


       66 – Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Economy, 14th February, 2011.


        67 – British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC


        68 – Central Intelligence Agency


                               – CIA World Fact Book, Algeria, last updated 20th ,December, 2011.

                               – CIA World Fact Book, Libya, last updated October, 2011.

  • Embassy of Algeria in the USA.


   70 – French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, French Algerian economic relations, updated: 04 October, 2010.


           71 – Global Security, Greater  Morocco, last updated 2012


         72 – United Nations Human Development  report last updated 2012.


  73 -United States Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Russia, last updated; November, 2010.


  74 -United States Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Algeria, last updated, May 2009.


  • World Map, Morocco maps 2011.


   76 -World Nuclear Association. Nuclear power in France, Last  updated February 2012.



77-Interview with Abdel Malek Droudkal, New York Times, 1st July,2008.

     78- Interview with Jean Auibert,”France Algérie: une relation particulière”, Confluences, N:11, Summer, 1994. ( the interview is in French).

SAKHRI Mohamed
SAKHRI Mohamed

I hold a bachelor's degree in political science and international relations as well as a Master's degree in international security studies, alongside a passion for web development. During my studies, I gained a strong understanding of key political concepts, theories in international relations, security and strategic studies, as well as the tools and research methods used in these fields.

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