Morocco, Algeria Struggle to Ease Political Tension

Morocco, Algeria Struggle to Ease Political Tension

From The National

An outburst of hostile rhetoric between Morocco and Algeria reflects a historic animosity rooted in irreconcilable differences over Western Sahara, with analysts saying political factors are reinforcing the deadlock despite some much-needed cooperation.

The decades-old rivalry between the Maghreb neighbours has resurfaced after Algeria’s president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in power for 13 years, suffered a minor-stroke and with Morocco’s coalition government on the brink of collapse.

Comments by Algeria’s foreign ministry, linking the normalisation of ties to progress on drug trafficking and the Western Sahara dispute, prompted Morocco to “vigorously denounce” what it called “unacceptable” conditions.

Last week Rabat branded Algeria’s political culture “obsolete” and “totally out of sync with the demands and views of the 21st century”, while Algiers accused Morocco of deliberately escalating an anti-Algeria media campaign.

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