n Africa Conflict Monthly Monitor - Algerian vulnerability to regional anarchy - : North Africa - issue in focus

Volume 2013, Issue 07
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Authorities in Algiers justifiably perceive recent geopolitical developments within Africa's Maghreb and Sahel regions as a grave threat to Algerian national security. The In Amenas hostage crisis of January 2013 (in which over 80 people were killed at a gas plant in southern Algeria near the Libyan border), and other incidents, have underscored Algeria's true vulnerability to spill-over from nearby conflicts. Given Algeria's military strength and its experience in fighting Islamist insurgents during the 1990s, Western powers understandably solicit Algiers' collaboration on 'anti-terrorism' initiatives throughout the region. However, the Algerian leaders' worldview, in addition to the country's strategic calculations, will likely thwart Algiers from becoming a reliable partner of the West with respect to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)-led military operations against jihadist warlords across North and West Africa. Ultimately, Algeria's leadership holds Western superpowers largely responsible for the increased extremism and instability around their borders - and is a source of contention in Algeria's relations with the West.

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