North Africa Observer – Dec. 15-21, 2015

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North Africa Observer - Dec. 15-21, 2015

Written by Marko Milicevicic exclusively for SouthFront; edited by Viktor Stoilov

Algeria – Minister of Mujahedeen Tayeb Zitouni participated on Wednesday in the 14th Polisario Congress.1 Polisario Front is a Sahrawi rebel national liberation movement working to end the Moroccan presence in Western Sahara. By sending a high official of the government, Algeria once again sent a message of full support to the right of self-determination of the Saharawi people in Western Sahara, which is currently under the sovereignty of Morocco. In the last week, Algeria signed a couple of bilateral agreements: 8 cooperation pacts (most important in the field of education)2 with Iran and a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of Higher Education and Scientific Research with Turkey.3 Algeria signed agreements with Turkey and Iran, which are some of the closest US and Russian allies (respectively), despite the growing East-West tensions.

Egypt will take part in the 34-state anti-terrorist coalition led by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, stationed in Riyadh.4 In the recent weeks, Egypt’s foreign policy aimed at closer economic ties with Russia and allies and closer military ties with Saudi Arabia and Turkey. This “moderate/neutral path” could prove impervious in the near future because Egypt will become a crucial state for geopoliticians when it comes to securing power in North Africa and the Middle East. The World Bank (WB) agreed Friday to give Egypt a $3bn loan to support its economic development.5 It is a good sign, because the most efficient way to maintain peace and order in a fragile democracy is by funding its state budget, which would be used to improve the standard of living of the citizens in the country. Poverty is the main reason why men and women around the world turn to terrorist, criminal and other illegal organizations and ventures. After the Free Egyptians Party (information in last week’s article), the Future of a Nation party and the Al-Wafd party have announced that they will not join the ‘Egypt’s Support’ parliamentary coalition, close to Egyptian President Al-Sisi.6 The Coalition now holds somewhere around 200 of the 454 seats in the Parliament. The formation of a strong parliamentary group, which is a precondition of stable government, seems less possible as each day passes.

Libya – Members of the two competing parliaments (the General National Congress and the House of Representatives (Council of Deputies)) signed a UN peace deal to unify rival governments.7 Long awaited deal will (hopefully) bring partial peace in Libya, thus enabling moderate forces from Tripoli and Tobruk to concentrate on defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant in Libya. According to the plan, a unified government will be formed, with its own security forces, which would certainly have enough strength to banish ISIL. Its early to say if this agreement will ensure those aims to be fulfilled, especially because it has many “holes”. Britain is developing a plan to send one thousand troops, which would train the Libyan forces so they can effectively fight against terrorist.8 No doubt other countries will consider similar steps in the near future.

Morocco and Saudi Arabia signed on Tuesday an agreement to reinforce bilateral military cooperation.9 As a result the country will also be a part of Saudi Arabia’s Islamic military alliance to fight terrorism. The signing of the Libyan unity government deal took place in Morocco, showing it holds a position of a neutral actor in this conflict, as its officials stated in many occasions. The World Bank approved a $300 million loan to support the implementation of Morocco’s comprehensive green growth strategy.10 Morocco’s goal is to receive more than 50% of its energy from renewable resources by the year 2030.

South Sudan – A fifteen-member (out of 150) delegation has landed in Juba on Tuesday.11  The long- waited SPLM/SPLA advance team represents phase 1 of the peace process based on the August peace deal between the S. Sudanese government and the opposition. Rival factions will try to end by diplomatic means the two-year long civil war that has taken tens of thousands of lives and displaced many more. For more information about the civil war in South Sudan, see the previous North Africa Observer articles.

Tunisia has joined the 34-state Islamic anti-terrorism coalition.12 The fight against terrorism will be vital for this country in order to maintain inner stability. Five years after the beginning of the Arab Spring, which started in Tunisia, its future does not seem so bright. Despite terrorist activity, political stability is at stake. Nidaa Tounes secretary-general Mohsen Marzouk has resigned and will create a new party – Tunisia Al Irada Movement.13 Also, Twenty-one deputies from  Nidaa Tounes group in the House of the People’s Representatives (HPR) resigned from the parliamentary group of their party.14 It remains to be seen what will happen to this fragile democracy. Evidently, the Arab Spring made out of Tunisia a weak state, which is not capable to cope with its political, economic and other problems.

Sources:

  1. “14th Polisario Congress: Algeria attached to peoples’ self-determination right”, Algeria Press Service, accessed December 21, 2015, http://www.aps.dz/en/world/9884-14th-polisario-congress-algeria-attached-to-peoples-self-determination-right
  1. “Iran, Algeria ink 8 cooperation pacts”, Islamic Republic News Agency, accessed December 21, 2015, http://www.irna.ir/en/News/81882855/
  1. “Algeria, Turkey sign MoU in Higher Education and Scientific Research”, Algeria Press Service, accessed December 21, 2015, http://www.aps.dz/en/health-science-tech/9858-algeria,-turkey-sign-mou-in-higher-education-and-scientific-research
  1. “Saudi Arabia unveils 34-state anti-terrorism coalition, includes Egypt”, Daily News Egypt, accessed December 21, 2015, http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2015/12/15/saudi-arabia-unveils-34-state-anti-terrorism-coalition-includes-egypt/
  1. “World Bank agrees on $3bn loan to support Egypt’s economic development”, Daily News Egypt, accessed December 21, 2015, http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2015/12/18/world-bank-agrees-on-3bn-loan-to-support-egypts-economic-development/
  1. “Major parties withdraw from ‘Egypt’s Support’ parliamentary coalition”, Daily News Egypt, accessed December 21, 2015, http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2015/12/21/major-parties-withdraw-from-egypts-support-parliamentary-coalition/
  1. “Libyan politicians sign UN peace deal to unify rival governments”, The Guardian, accessed December 21, 2015 http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/17/libyan-politicians-sign-un-peace-deal-unify-rival-governments
  1. “Britain set to send 1,000 troops to help fight ISIS militants in Libya”, Mirror, accessed December 21, 2015, http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/david-cameron-ready-beat-isis-7033202
  1. “Morocco, Saudi Arabia sign agreement to reinforce bilateral military cooperation”, Xinhua Net, accessed December 21, 2015 http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-12/16/c_134920438.htm
  1. “World Bank Grants Morocco $300 Million Loan to Support Green Growth Strategy”, Morocco World News, accessed December 21, 2015, http://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2015/12/175643/world-bank-grants-morocco-300-million-loan-to-support-green-growth-strategy/
  1. “SPLM/SPLA Advanced Team To Arrive in Juba Tomorrow ~ 21st December, 2015”, Nyamilepedia, accessed December 21, 2015, http://www.nyamile.com/2015/12/20/splmspla-advanced-team-to-arrive-in-juba-tomorrow-21st-december-2015/
  1. “Tunisia joins Islamic anti-terrorism coalition (Khemais Jhinaoui)”, Tunisian News Agency, accessed December 21, 2015, http://www.tap.info.tn/en/index.php/politics2/31962-tunisia-joins-islamic-anti-terrorism-coalition-khemais-jhinaoui
  1. “Moncef Marzouki announces creation of new party Tunisia Al Irada Movement”, Tunisian News Agency, accessed December 21, 2015, http://www.tap.info.tn/en/index.php/parties/32057-moncef-marzouki-announces-creation-of-new-party-tunisia-al-irada-movement
  1. “Twenty-one deputies of Nidaa Tounes group in HPR resign”, Tunisian News Agency, accessed December 21, 2015, http://www.tap.info.tn/en/index.php/politics2/32066-twenty-one-deputies-of-nidaa-tounes-group-in-hpr-resign

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