Algeria traditionally pursued a non-aligned foreign policy and was in the past a founding member and spokesman for the non-aligned countries of the Third World. After the end of the East-West conflict, Algeria was initially focused inwardly in the 1990’s due to the civil war between the army and Islamists and had to find a new role beyond the non-alignment.
The Bouteflika government positions the country as a member of the Arab League community and a member of the United Nations with the option of membership in other international organizations such as the World Trade Organization and inclusion in a network of international agreements from 1998 to 2005, such as association agreements with the EU on the Freedom from customs duties in the movement of goods, regular political dialogue and economic and cultural cooperation. However, Europe, and especially France, remains a difficult partner for the regime because of the constant criticism in human rights issues and the publication of unpleasant publications.
According to ehealthfacts, Algeria has excellent relations with the US, which intensified significantly after September 11, 2001, as the country became a partner in the war on terror and the secret services worked closely together; Algeria provided information and the names of suspected terrorists. In return, the United States granted trade facilities. Algeria also plays a moderating role in the Middle East conflict and has therefore earned Washington recognition.
In addition, Algeria assumes a stable or growing demand for armaments. Regardless of the human rights situation and the political uncertainty, the country is considered to be comparatively stable and predictable. Algeria is trying to diversify its arms imports and has the financial means to do so. The Rheinmetall company is delivering and installing a complete tank factory in Algeria. The deal is said to be worth more than EUR 28 million. The required permit was granted in August 2014.
The Sahara conflict
Algeria is in a protracted conflict with Morocco over the Western Sahara. 180,000 refugees live in camps near Tindouf in the far west of the country. The background to the alleged conflict over the population’s right to self-determination has raw material deposits and drilling licenses that promise to generate large incomes. Algeria supports and hosts the Western Saharan liberation organization Polisario, which has proclaimed the artifact ” Democratic Arab Republic of the Sahara ” since 1976, which is recognized by around 80 countries, including Algeria.
The conflict is currently on a dead track, as the Polisario and Morocco had agreed to a referendum, but this has not yet taken place because there is disagreement between the Polisario and Morocco about the eligible participants in the referendum.
Southern Algeria / Mali
In the wake of the collapse of the Gaddafi regime and the seizure of power by Islamist terrorists in northern Mali, Algeria has a key position and get into their hands for resolving the conflict. The Algerian side was in no hurry to shake the fragile balance in the region of southern Algeria / northern Mali. Rather, the initiative came from the Malian Tuareg or the Islamist terrorist groups initially allied with them. These apparently saw the chance to take power in all of Mali and to establish their caliphate, the return of “true Islam” as in the time of the Prophet. In practice, this meant a brutal Islamist dictatorship; corporal punishment was often practiced. The Islamists did not take seriously the announcements by the African states that they would intervene in northern Mali.
The erupting unrest and panic in view of the impending takeover of power by the Islamists led to the short-term French military intervention in northern Mali on 10.1.2013. Algeria had to make a decision. The granting of overflight rights to the French air force was viewed by the Islamic terrorist groups as a declaration of war; however, they themselves had previously terminated the status quo through their actions.
On January 16, 2013, an Islamist terrorist squad that had apparently come to Algeria from northern Mali attacked a gas field on the Libyan border, a little south of the triangle between Libya, Algeria and Tunisia. The terrorists took hundreds of mostly non-Algerian hostages, mostly Europeans, and demanded an end to Algerian cooperation with France during the Mali intervention.
With the attack on the gas field, however, the Islamist terrorists attacked the core of the Algerian state and, in his view, forced it to react massively; The fate of the hostages was apparently not a top priority here – the death toll was correspondingly high and in the hundreds. This finally ended the years of tacit tolerance of terrorists by the Algerian state. As a result, the bases of the Islamists in northern Mali were largely destroyed and their leaders killed.
After the upheaval in Tunisia, the new government partially lost control of some regions near the border, which have become a refuge and “quiet room” for Islamist terrorists who carry out murderous actions in Tunisia and Algeria. This has contributed to military cooperation between Tunisia and Algeria; some Algerian units are conducting operations on Tunisian soil.