Algeria Confronts Europe and the West over Gas and the Western Sahara

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Amb. Dore Gold - There has been a notable radicalization of Algerian foreign and security policy. On Oct. 31, Algeria decided to halt all gas exports to Spain and Portugal through the Maghreb-Europe pipeline that crosses Morocco. Two months earlier, Algeria cut diplomatic relations with Morocco. In essence, the Algerian government was singling out Morocco and escalating tensions in North Africa. Since 2018, Algeria has given new support for the Polisario Front insurgents in the Western Sahara that threatened the Moroccan armed forces. Algeria has allowed the Islamic Republic of Iran to use its embassy in Algiers as a conduit for arms, funding, and training for the Polisario forces. Iran employed Hizbullah for this training mission because its operatives spoke Arabic. In response, Morocco cut off diplomatic relations with the Iranian government. Algeria has closed its airspace to French fighter jets heading to the civil war in Mali, where jihadist forces were aligned with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in the north and with the Islamic State in the south. Keeping allied airpower out of Algerian airspace effectively strengthened jihadist groups in the Sahel (the region south of the Sahara Desert), undermining Western interests. In October 2021, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2602, which called for the resumption of consultations between Algeria, Morocco, and the Polisario to advance "a mutually acceptable political solution" in the Western Sahara based on compromise. Algeria utterly rejected the resolution. The writer, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, served as Israel's ambassador to the UN and director-general of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

2021-11-15 00:00:00

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