Regional Security Cooperation in the Maghreb and Sahel: Algeria’s Pivotal Ambivalence

The past year has seen a ratcheting up and convergence of security concerns in the Sahel and Maghreb with the growing potency of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the influx of mercenaries and weaponry from Libya, the expanding influence of narcotics traffickers, and Boko Haram's widening lethality. Nonetheless, regional cooperation to address these transnational threats remains fragmented.  In Regional Security Cooperation in the Maghreb and Sahel: Algeria's Pivotal Ambivalence , the latest Africa Security Brief from the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, Laurence Aïda Ammour examines the central role that Algeria plays in defining this cooperation and the complex domestic, regional, and international considerations that shape its decision-making... 

◆ Efforts to counter al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s (AQIM) growing influence in both the Maghreb and the Sahel are fragmented because of the inability of neighbors to forge collaborative partnerships.

◆ Algeria faces inverse incentives to combat AQIM outside of Algiers as it gains much of its geostrategic leverage by maintaining overstated perceptions of a serious terrorism threat.

◆ The Algerian government’s limited legitimacy, primarily derived from its ability to deliver stability, constrains a more comprehensive regional strategy.

The full paper can be downloaded from

http://africacenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/ASB18.pdf