Algeria Moves Toward Regional Security Cooperation, Within Limits

Algeria Moves Toward Regional Security Cooperation, Within Limits

In 2011, Algeria had serious misgivings about international intervention in Libya, which Algiers feared would result in many unintended consequences, few of them good for Algeria or the region. Those misgivings have since proven correct. Libya itself has collapsed into violent chaos, while weapons flows out of Libya in 2011 and 2012 fueled a Salafi jihadi insurgency in northern Mali that eventually resulted in Bamako losing control of the entire northern half of the country. And in Tunisia, a new Salafi jihadi threat has emerged on Algeria’s borders.

Although Algeria initially stuck fast to its long-standing principle of noninterference, its security posture gradually evolved and has since become more proactive. Two years after the fall of the Gadhafi regime in Tripoli, Algiers is more willing to work with its neighbors and international partners on security issues, but only so long as Algeria remains in the driver’s seat.

When NATO began its air campaign in Libya in support of disparate rebel groups fighting the Gadhafi regime, Algeria warned that the end result would destabilize the region. Throughout the NATO campaign and the ensuing destabilization of both Libya and northern Mali, Algeria hunkered down and adopted a fortress-like posture. Over the previous decade it had only just managed to restore peace and security within its own borders. It had no appetite for potentially risky foreign campaigns.

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