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Bouteflika and Algeria in search of leadership in the Sahel 0

Brussels – Abdelaziz Bouteflika – health permitting – will most likely be the main interlocutor for governments in the Sahel  for the next 5 years. The 76-year-old independence veteran has ended months of speculation over his political future by announcing he is running for a fourth term in April’s election after 15 years in office. His victory is easily predictable.

Together with some African media partners, Afronline – in occasion of the Algerian elections – made an assessement of Bouteflika’s foreign policy in the Sahel and of Algiers’ commitment in the international fight against terrorism, in a region shaken by military events in Libya and Mali. To have an in-depth understanding of the topic we interviewed Laurence Aïda Ammour,  Algerian Research Fellow Associate at CIDOB (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs) and at the Bordeaux Institute for Political Science. Her areas of research are the Maghreb-Sahel and West African regions with a particular focus on security issues (organised crime, illegal migrations, terrorism), the Western Sahara dispute, the relations between Maghreb countries and their southern neighbours.

In this long and engaging interview, Ammour explores some burning issues: Algeri’s neighbourhood relations, the failure of the CEMOC, the historical antagonism with Morocco aimed at conquering the leadership in the region (despite France and Qatar), as well as Washington turning a blind eye on Algeria’s controversial relations with Islamic groups blacklisted as  terroristic organizations, such as Ansar al-Dine.

Ambiguity could be the distinguishing feature of the Algerian diplomacy, whose logic has become impenetrable. The Sahel seems to be the scenario that exemplifies Bouteflika’s contradictory foreign policy.

Click here to read the full interview (in French).

Interview coordinated by Joshua Massarenti (Afronline.org), in collaboration with Sud FM (Senegal), Les Echos and Réseau Jamana (Mali), Radio Anfani/L’Enqueteur (Niger), Le Calame (Mauritania), Radio Horizon FM (Burkina Faso) and L’Autre Quotodien (Benin).

© Afronline.org, Sud FM, Le Calame, Les Echos, Réseau Jamana, Radio Anfani, L’Enqueteur, Radio Horizon FM, L’Autre Quotidien.

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