Will the passes of arms between Morocco and Algeria remain only verbal? The recurring tensions between the two neighbors, enemy brothers of the Maghreb since their independence, have been growing in recent months.
While the land borders have been closed for nearly thirty years between the two countries and their diplomatic relations have been broken, at the initiative of Algeria, since August 2021, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has made it known that relations between the two States reached a “point of no return” during an interview granted on March 21 to the Qatari channel Al Jazeera.
The two states accuse each other of all evils through official statements or through the media dependent on the authorities of the two countries. Thus, during the session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs held in Vienna from March 13 to 17, the Algerian representative Faouzia Boumaiza Mebarki denounced “the strategy of destabilization led by Morocco against Algeria”, with drug trafficking targeting young people and increasing every year. A real “obsession” on the part of Algiers castigated the Moroccan ambassador, Azzeddine Farhane, who called the Algerian leaders “mentally ill”.
In France, a pro-Algerian demonstration becomes anti-Moroccan
The accusations fuse. They are no longer limited to historical disputes over the disputed territory of Western Sahara over which Morocco claims sovereignty, even if this remains at the heart of the dispute between the two States. Everything is an excuse to blow on the embers.
Thus, Morocco, which refuses the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people, has decided to support the cause of the Kabyles who “live under occupation” in Algeria, according to the words of the Moroccan ambassador to the UN Omar Hilale, while Algiers has classified the movement for the autonomy of Kabylia as a terrorist organization.
On the eve of Ramadan, Moroccan deputies have taxed Algerian dates as “carcinogenic” and called for a ban on their importation via Europe, reports the Le360 site, close to the palace. Conversely, a pro-regime demonstration of a few hundred Algerians or Franco-Algerians in Paris on March 19, on the occasion of the celebration of the Evian agreements of 1962, took an anti-Moroccan turn, with slogans and posters with the portrait of the King of Morocco trampled on the ground.
Between Algeria and Morocco, nothing is going well
“No prospect of de-escalation”
“With his point of no return, the Algerian president warns that he rejects any mediation and that there is no prospect of de-escalation”, analyzes Hasni Abidi, director of the center for studies and research on the Arab world and Mediterranean (Cermam) in Geneva.
After the Pegasus spyware scandal and the allegations of corruption of MEPs (Marocgate), Morocco is going through a bad patch on the international scene. “Algeria has rushed into the breach,” said Isaías Barreñada, professor of international relations at Complutense University in Madrid. Especially since it has been very roughed up by its neighbor since its rapprochement with Israel, orchestrated by US President Donald Trump in December 2020.
“On social networks, we have the impression that war has been declared between the two states. Until now they have always been careful to contain tensions so that they do not turn into a military confrontation,” reports Hasni Abidi.
But the expert sees elements of concern accumulating: “The two states are engaged in a frantic arms race, not without damage to the populations. Morocco is intensifying its security and military cooperation with Israel and wants to set up a military base on the Algerian border. Algeria is afraid of losing its military and strategic influence. We cannot exclude the risk of a collision”.
Leave a Reply