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North Africa Observer – Nov. 2-10, 2015

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SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence is launching a new weekly product “North Africa Observer”. In this product, our new contributor, Marko Milicevic, will describe developments in the North Africa region. In the nearest future, we will start to analyze this region deeply.

North Africa Observer - Nov. 2-10, 2015


Algeria celebrated its 61st anniversary of the outbreak of the 1954 Revolution on November 1. Speaker of Russia’s State Duma Sergey Naryshkin met with President Bouteflika (4 November) and Prime Minister Sellal (5 November), and they agreed on the necessity of establishing peace in Syria. On 8 November, Algeria signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of justice with Hungary, which aims to deepen cooperation in that field. On the same day, Algeria and Colombia in Algiers signed minutes on exchange of instruments of ratification of the cultural cooperation agreement concluded on 24 January 2007 in Bogota. National Popular Army continued its counterterrorist operation, by discovering 5 caches of weapons and bombs in Constatine and by killing one terrorist in Medea province. On November 10, PM Sellal received President of the Council of States of Switzerland, Claude Heche and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch. Meeting stands as a chance to further improve bilateral relations between the two countries.

A Russian plane crashed in Egypt on November 1. Although Russian government refused to include terrorist attack among possible causes of the plane crash, PM Dmitry Medvedev eventually confirmed the possibility of a terrorist attack. Egypt was ranked in the highest risk category for corruption in the defence and security sectors in Transparency International’s Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index (GI) 2015 report covering the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region along with Egypt, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Algeria, Morocco, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and Qatar. President Al-Sisi met with British PM Cameron in London on November 5. Purpose of this visit is to persuade British policy makers and the public that Russian plane crash was just an isolated incident, considering that British Government and Media were the loudest to say terrorism is behind the accident. President Al-Sisi visited Saudi Arabia so he can participate in the Arab-South American summit (10-11 November). Crucial issues that were discussed were Palestinian issue as well as developments in Syria, Yemen and Libya. Egypt’s annual inflation increased to 10.3% in October compared to 9.2% in September.

Peace talks in Libya are delayed since UN chief negotiator Bernardino Leon decided to step down and accept a job offer in UAE, country that is supporting and funding UN-backed Libyan government based in Tobruk, which caused anger of the unrecognized Tripoli-based government. Martin Kobler, the former German ambassador to Iraq and Egypt, will replace Leon. On November 8, two Serbian embassy employees were kidnapped in the coastal city of Sabartha. What will happen to them remains to be seen, since there is no information regarding the kidnaped people or the kidnapers.

Morocco celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Green March, an attempt of its citizens and government to force Spain to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed territory of Western Sahara. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called last Wednesday for negotiations in order to settle the conflict that remains frozen since 1991. King Mohammed VI said he refuses to accept anything more than autonomy for the Algeria-backed Polisario Front, which advocates for independence of Western Sahara. The first Sino-African Entrepreneurs Summit (SAES) will take place on November 26 and 27 in Marrakech. It will be a great opportunity for Morocco and other African co untries to attract Chinese investors, which are increasingly present on this continent since the beginning of the 1990-is.

Government of South Sudan has rejected on Monday the possibility of creation of 28 states (highest administrative units) within South Sudan, thus replacing the existing ten. Two days later, UN experts warned Security Council that South Sudanese rival groups (government and opposition) are stockpiling weapons despite the August peace deal (IGAD-Plus’s compromise peace agreement) and its aim to form an Unity Government. On the same day, rivals agreed joint troop deployment in capital, Juba – a total of 4,830 troops and 2/3 of them (3,420) will come from the government. The National Liberation Council (NLC), South Sudanese rebels, stated they will send an “action team” consisted of 500 people to Juba in order to start the implementation of the Ethiopia peace agreement concluded in August.

United States expanded its sanctions imposed in 1997 towards Sudan, which was met with regret in Khartoum. U.S. congressional delegation is going to visit Sudan in the near future to discuss issues such as counter-terrorism, economic sanctions and security issues, said the speaker of the Sudanese parliament Ibrahim Ahmed Omer on Wednesday. The Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir traveled to Saudi Arabia and will also visit South Sudan in the coming week. Saudi Arabia has committed to invest 1.7 Billion U.S. dollars for the constructions of three dams. Talks on security arrangements between the Sudanese government and the rebel groups will be held on 18 to 19 November, African Union (AU) announced on November 10.

Ruling secularist Nidaa Tounes party from Tunisia is close to disintegration after thirty deputies frozen their membership and threatened defection on November 4. Thirty one deputies eventually resigned on November 9, granting a majority to the moderate Islamist party, Ennahda. EU has granted Tunisia a 23 million euro worth donation for security sector reform, which is important to maintain order in the country after the turbulent Arab Spring period. Tunisia and Sweden signed on Saturday a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on political, economic and cultural co-operation.

  1. November Revolution anniversary: President Bouteflika receives greetings from top State officials”, Algeria Press Service, accessed November 10, 2015, http://www.aps.dz/en/algeria/9186-november-revolution-anniversary-president-bouteflika-receives-greetings-from-top-state-officials
  2. Algeria-Russia: Common positions in favour of return of peace to Syria”, Algeria Press Service, accessed November 10, 2015 http://www.aps.dz/en/algeria/9234-algeria-russia-common-positions-in-favour-of-return-of-peace-to-syria
  3. Sellal receives Russia’s State Duma Speaker”, Algeria Press Service, accessed November 10, 2015, http://www.aps.dz/en/algeria/9238-sellal-receives-russia-s-duma-state-speaker
  4. Justice cooperation: Algeria, Hungary ink MoU”, Algeria Press Service, accessed November 10, 2015, http://www.aps.dz/en/algeria/9278-justice-cooperation-algeria,-hungary-ink-mou
  5. Algerian-Colombian cultural agreement: Minutes on exchange of instruments of ratification signed”, Algeria Press Service, accessed November 10, 2015, http://www.aps.dz/en/culture/9276-algerian-colombian-cultural-agreement-minutes-on-exchange-of-instruments-of-ratification-signed
  6. Army discovers 5 caches containing 4 handcrafted guns and 8 bombs in Constantine, Bordj Bouareridj”, Algeria Press Service, accessed November 10, 2015, http://www.aps.dz/en/algeria/9197-army-discovers-5-caches-containing-4-handcrafted-guns-and-8-bombs-in-constantine,-bordj-bouareridj
  7. Terrorist killed in Medea”, Algeria Press Service, accessed November 10, 2015, http://www.aps.dz/en/algeria/9289-terrorist-killed-in-medea
  8. Sellal receives President of Swiss Council of States, State Secretary for Economic Affairs”, Algeria Press Service, accessed November 10, 2015, http://www.aps.dz/en/algeria/9325-sellal-receives-president-of-swiss-council-of-states,-state-secretary-for-economic-affairs
  9. Terror attack among possible causes of Sinai plane crash – Russian PM Medvedev”, Russia Today, accessed November 10, 2015, https://www.rt.com/news/321361-terror-attack-sinai-crash-medvedev/
  10. Egypt ranked in high risk category for corruption in defence, security sectors”, Daily News Egypt, accessed November 10, 2015, http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2015/11/03/egypt-ranked-in-high-risk-category-for-corruption-in-defence-security-sectors/
  11. Al-Sisi meets Cameron amid back and forth UK-Egypt remarks”, Daily News Egypt, accessed November 10, 2015, http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2015/11/05/al-sisi-meets-cameron-amid-back-and-forth-uk-egypt-remarks/
  12. Egypt’s Sisi heads to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for Arab-South American summit”, Ahram Online, accessed November 11, 2015, http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/0/164148/Egypt/0/Egypts-Sisi-heads-to-Saudi-Arabia-on-Tuesday-for-A.aspx
  13. Egypt’s annual inflation rate speeds up to 10.3% in October”, Ahram Online, accessed November 11, 2015, http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/3/12/164170/Business/Economy/Egypts-annual-inflation-rate-speeds-up-to–in-Octo.aspx
  14. Anger at UN chief negotiator in Libya’s new job in UAE”, Al Jazeera, accessed November 10, 2015, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/11/anger-chief-negotiator-libya-job-uae-151105161323791.html
  15. Two Serbian embassy employees kidnapped in Libya”, Al Jazeera, accessed November 10, 2015, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/11/serbian-embassy-employees-kidnapped-libya-151108185713629.html
  16. UN chief wants Western Sahara talks soon”, Topix, accessed November 10, 2015, http://www.topix.com/world/morocco/2015/11/un-chief-wants-western-sahara-talks-soon
  17. Morocco’s king rules out compromise over Western Sahara”, Al Jazeera, accessed November 10, 2015, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/11/morocco-king-rules-compromise-western-sahara-151107134232662.html
  18. China-Africa Summit to Take Place in Morocco”, Morocco Press, accessed November 11, 2015, http://www.marocpress.com/en/moroccoworldnews/article-44289.html
  19. S. Sudan rejects reversal of decree creating 28 new states”, Sudan Tribune, accessed November 11, 2015, http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article56927
  20. South Sudan: UN report casts doubts on formation of unity government”, Daily News Egypt, accessed November 11, 2015, http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2015/11/05/south-sudan-un-report-casts-doubts-on-formation-of-unity-government/
  21. S. Sudan army, rebels agree joint troop deployment in capital”, The Maghreb Daily, accessed November 11, 2015, http://www.lemag.ma/english/S-Sudan-army-rebels-agree-joint-troop-deployment-in-capital_a9582.html
  22. South Sudanese rebels to send ‘advance team’ to Juba”, South Sudan News Agency, accessed November 11, 2015, http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/news/breaking-news/south-sudanese-rebels-to-send-an-advance-team-to-juba 
  23. Sudan rejects extension of US sanctions for another year”, Sudan Tribune, accessed November 11, 2015, http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article56943
  24. U.S. congressional delegation to visit Sudan next week: official”, Sudan Tribune, accessed November 11, 2015, http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article56947
  25. Bashir heads to Saudi Arabia & South Sudan next week”, Sudan Tribune, accessed November 11, 2015, http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article56982
  26. Saudi Arabia to provide 1.7 billion dollars for Sudan’s dam projects”, Sudan Tribune, accessed November 11, 2015, http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article56960
  27. Talks on cessation of hostilities in Sudan to be held on 18 to 19 November: AU”, Sudan Tribune, accessed November 11, 2015, http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article57002
  28. Nidaa Tounes: Thirty Deputies freeze their membership and threaten defection”, Tunisia Live, accessed November 11, 2015, http://www.tunisia-live.net/2015/11/04/nidaa-tounes-thirty-deputies-freeze-their-membership-and-threaten-defection/

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