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Early Perspectives from Algeria on Northern Mali and French Intervention

[Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal points to a map of Algeria after a press conference held in Algiers, Monday, 21 January 2013. The Islamist militants who attacked a natural gas plant in the Sahara wore Algerian army uniforms, memorized the layout of the vast complex and included two Canadians and a team of explosives experts ready to blow the place sky-high, Algeria’s prime minister said Monday. Image by Sidali Djarboub/AP Photo.]

Thus far, Algerian press coverage and reactions are divided on France’s military intervention in northern Mali, Operation SERVAL, as well as the additional thrusts in the south by Mali’s jihadist coalition. Skepticism that has been prevalent in Algerian media coverage of calls for the internationalization of the Malian crisis remains a strong thread in opinion and editorial writing nonetheless. While significant strands of elite opinion—especially at the political ...

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Pouvoir and Agency

[A poster of Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Algiers, Algeria. Image from Wikimedia Commons.]

Reuters published an article on 20 June (‘Algeria’s elite at loggerheads over next president‘), describing fissures within Algeria’s elite and how these are believed to be influencing the (non-) selection of a successor to elderly and ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The article is quite good. Up front, the fact that Boutelfika, who is over 70-years-old, has not designated a successor and that this is being done by clans and camps speaks to the ...

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Another Take on 'The Malian Crisis as Seen from Algeria'

[Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci, center with white hair, chairs a meeting on terror threats with representatives of Libya, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso, in Algiers, March 16, 2010. Medelci called the threat posed by terror groups and organized crime organizations

"The Malian crisis seen from Algeria," by Thomas Serres (19 April 2012) presents an analysis of Algerian perceptions of the upheaval in northern Mali. This analysis is insufficient in explaining Algerian behavior in response to the rebellion in northern Mali or to the March coup d’etat and misidentifies Algerian priorities in relation to the "Sahelo-Saharan Space" and Algeria’s relationships with extra-regional actors in the ...

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Kal is an analyst and writer focusing on Maghreb politics and security issues. His academic interests include post-colonial Algerian and Mauritanian elite formation as well as diplomatic history. Kal blogs at The Moor Next Door.