Algeria has taken a series of steps recently to boost cooperation with its neighbors in response to increasing violence from al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Algeria and Mauritania agreed to increase security efforts in the Sahel region, while Algeria and Niger announced that they would launch joint border patrols and share intelligence. Algeria also sent troops into Mali to combat the terrorist threat.
These countries have long looked to Algeria, the dominant economic and military power in the region, to take the lead on cooperation, according to Stephen Tankel, an assistant professor at American University and scholar at the Carnegie Endowment, but Algiers has been reluctant to do so. When the four countries where AQIM is active formed a committee to coordinate military efforts in April 2010, Niger, Mauritania and Mali criticized Algeria for not sending enough help.
Now, said Tankel, "There has been an increased sense of urgency over the past several months and evidence of more activity from AQIM." He added that regional and international pressures have led to further collaboration between Algeria and its neighbors.