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“The Mossad at our borders”. The title of the Algerian daily L’Expression sums up the prevailing mood in Algiers the day after the signing, on Wednesday November 24 in Rabat, of a security agreement – officially called a “memorandum of understanding on defense” – between Morocco and Israel with heavy regional geopolitical consequences. For Algerians, there is no room for doubt: the unprecedented visit to the capital of the Shereefian kingdom by the Israeli Minister of Defense, Benny Gantz, who initialed the document with his Moroccan counterpart, Abdellatif Loudyi, carries the seeds of destabilization from Algeria. “Israel will be at home in Morocco and will have Algeria within range of missiles, drones and even incursions into its territories”, adds the daily, close to the circles of power in Algiers.
The comment echoes the reaction of former Algerian Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad – “Algeria is targeted” – the day after the announcement of the “Trump deal”, on December 10, 2020. Under the terms of this agreement, Washington recognized the “Moroccanness” of Western Sahara in exchange for diplomatic normalization between Morocco and Israel within the framework of “ Abraham’s accords ”. In less than a year, the scenario of a closer security ties between the two countries – the memorandum of November 24 intends to promote “Exchanges of experience and expertise, technology transfer, training as well as cooperation in the field of the defense industry” – has continued to deepen, ignoring the Algerian alarm as opposition within Moroccan opinion.
The Rabat regime ignored them in the name of a national imperative deemed imperative: the perpetuation of its hold over Western Sahara, which the Sahrawi separatists of the Polisario Front have been disputing with it since the departure of the former Spanish colonizer in 1976. The the Moroccan kingdom has always considered Algiers’ political and military support to the Polisario as an aggression against its territorial integrity. He retaliates with this spectacular military alliance with Israel, while proclaiming his solidarity with the Movement for the Self-Determination of Kabylia (MAK) – a sort of response from the shepherd to the shepherdess.
Such a development upsets the strategic balances in the Western Maghreb. While Algiers broke off its diplomatic relationship with Rabat this summer in reaction to its judged maneuvers “Hostile”, It is time for a war of words and an arms race transforming this region into a powder keg.
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Algeria in search of a response to the Morocco-Israel military axis