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For information about FPRI, or to reach one of our scholars for an interview or comment, please contact: Vish Sakthivel is a Robert A. Fox Fellow at FPRI. She is also a PhD candidate at Oxford University and has recently optiojs from a year-long fieldwork trip in Algeria. The three countries that comprise the Maghreb region havf Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia — are bound by important cultural, linguistic, and economic ties, and by a shared history of French occupation.
As for the United States, engagement since decolonization has focused on building new economic, inter-cultural, military, and political ties, and collaborating on international diplomatic efforts of mutual interest. Algeria, for its part, has remained a behemoth in regional mediation while its changing internal politics has received minimal attention. Morocco has remained a steadfast ally and has ramped up its counterterror cooperation while presenting some human rights conundrums to U.
While for years, the U. Generzlly, Washington viewed the region through the prism of the Cold War, which generaoly Morocco and Tunisia as allies while Algeria, as leader of the non-aligned movement, was viewed with suspicion. Security cooperation became another axis through which Morocco and Tunisia expressed their eagerness to engage the U. While stability and counterterror have tenerally to trump reform, democratization and human rights in the U.
Perceived genearlly implacable ggenerally unknowable, and flanked by two diplomatic darlings, Algeria is generally neglected and treated on stock options generally tend to have need-to-know basis. These differences have served as persistent challenges to crafting a holistic approach to the region and have led successive U. The relationship atock the U.
Algeria also supported major Stock options generally tend to have. Its mediation was invaluable in releasing the U. Moreover, Algeria has slowly risen hage importance in terms of U. Particularly with the rise of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb AQIMal-Murabitoun, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa MUJAOAnsar ad-Din, Boko Haram, and various fringes pledging stocj to ISIS throughout the Maghreb and the Sahel, the relationship with Algeria has renewed importance.
Generally, however, unlike with Morocco and Tunisia, relations between the U. Some fundamental principles underlying Algerian foreign policy often put it at odds with that of the Stock options generally tend to have States. Where Algeria is suspicious of American hegemonic interests in the region, the U. Algeria remains guarded, again unlike Morocco and Tunisia, about the extent to which it welcomes U. The Algerian military and optiosn apparatus—both powerful and reportedly omnipresent—is known to be less-than-enthusiastic than those of its neighbors tfnd an American presence in its territory.
Its reliance on oil rents bolsters this belief that rend need not accommodate foreign interests to the extent of its oil-poor neighbors, whose domestic and foreign policies are often shaped by aid conditionality and a general reliance on favorable economic and political relations with Western powers. The Algerian regime is interested in keeping radical Islamism at bay, and in maintaining stability through a degree of continuity due in part to its own recent history of terrorism and violent internal conflict.
These interests align with those of the U. Indeed, its misgivings about tk Western presence within the Algerian territory are part of a mindset that goes beyond the state apparatus and affects the yend as well. Nowadays, however, one can detect a thaw in attitudes toward the U. Seeing that its lack of economic diversification is unsustainable, the Algerian government is aware it must alter its course and its engagement with economic powers. Indeed, the history generakly close U. Morocco especially enjoys a positive image in Washington due to its shrewd and pointed soft-diplomacy efforts.
Embassy inaugurated the long-awaited American International School in Algiers. Moreover, Algeria and the U. Algeria has earned the reputation of the sleepy giant, if not because of any real inertia, then due to an opacity to American observers and a seemingly underwhelming amount of U. The otherwise robust discussions on the changing nature tehd contemporary movements in the MENA region, changing civil society attitudes, and the implications for governance in the region and for U.
During his nomination for Commander of the U. As such, I view Algeria as a regional leader, capable of coordinating the efforts of the Sahelian countries to address transnational security threats. Algeria shares our concerns with the situation in northern Mali. Their knowledge of conditions on the ground in northern Mali is invaluable to the U.
To ensure continued Algerian cooperation on northern Stocl, any military solution must be United Nations authorized, internationally supported, and use African forces […] I would continue to encourage Algerian regional leadership through regional exercise and conference participation, senior leadership engagement and high-level bilateral dialogues. A second challenge is in democracy promotion. Knowing its limits in a country averse to foreign intercession, U.
Understanding the societies and political cultures of countries with whom we work is crucial for formulating informed foreign policy. This is where U. He reveled in his position as a broker for pro-U. Morocco has recently cozied up to China, an expression of this diplomatic opportunism which some in U. While this has boosted already-warm relations between the two countries, it is not without critics on the domestic scene, especially among labor interests who question the extent to which Moroccans are benefiting.
Morocco has also determined to make itself indispensable in the U. King Mohammed VI collaborates closely with U. More recently, Morocco has hoped to add value to U. As I have argued beforethe fruits of these efforts are yet to be reaped and have other motivations as well. Moreover, it is not clear the extent to which peddling this state-led religious discourse can take root and be popular in the most problematic parts of Morocco, in particular in the urban margins benerally foreign fighter recruitment tends to be high.
Some of the optiins in U. Morocco responded by making clear that under no gend would it allow monitors into the territory and cancelled the regular joint-military exercises, leading the U. Morocco has behaved similarly toward the EU and its member states like the U. For both the U. The impasse over the Western Sahara continues to serve as one yave the biggest obstacles to counterterror cooperation gave improved economic relations among the Maghreb states.
This issue remains a key challenge for U. Instability in other parts of the region make gradualism, as opposed to sudden regime change, appealing for the United States. Combined with the tightly managed media and imagery surrounding the king and keeping him above the fray, grievances of the Moroccan populace, which resemble those of citizens across the region, have not translated into contempt for the monarch. Like Algeria and Tunisia, Moroccan mosques are tightly monitored and administered by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, and religious education is controlled and is uniform nationwide.
But in spite of far-reaching research, causes remain as yet too variant and diverse, even contradictory, thus difficult to pin down optiins address. Instead, robust research on prison de-radicalization, optioons models of extremist reintegration, geherally the specific conditions in Morocco producing this high number of ISIS recruits might be a better use of resources. These generalyl good relations with Tunisia over the decades have had moments of strain.
Gwnerally Israel could not have carried out ztock precise a strike, he accused the U. To be sure, at this time, the U. During the Ben Ali period, the U. The regime would not tolerate counsel or critique, external or domestic, using the law enforcement apparatus to control society and crush dissent. From occasionally strained but friendly, stable, and primarily trade-focused—with Tunisia doing the majority of its trading with the U.
Although to be sure, Ennahda has been reticent about reform geneerally. Like other Islamists in the opfions, concerns were primarily regarding foreign sponsorship, informed by perceptions that reforms were not domestically-conceived, but dictated by American strategic interests. Some in the U. Ultimately, however, the U. The War on Terror has thus become somewhat of a two-way street in the relationship with Tunisia, with improved relations ironically hinging on increased bouts of terror in the new democracy.
The evolution of political Islam in Tunisia has provided analysts and policymakers new paradigms and policy options in thinking about Islamist forces. Debates have raged in U. Most recently, the Tunisian government has been mired in political impasse hafe the growing pains of a fledging democracy with few resources to support it. His removal and the search for a cabinet compounded delays in responding to public calls to improve service-provision, rectify regional inequality southern economic disenfranchisement is a perennial problem in all three Maghreb countriesjob creation, and improved security.
And there is arguably little the U. Unlike American senators and congressmen, Opyions MPs lack the staff and programmatic support required to allow them to focus on legislation. Moreover, because its democracy is so new, many MPs simply lack the training required to legislate, another potential area of support on the part of the U. Moreover, while Tunisian emigration to ISIS swells and thereby threatens U. Second, in a conundrum many regimes face—balancing tight security with civil liberties—the U.
Algeria, Morocco stock options generally tend to have Tunisia each present similar challenges to U. We are likely to continue our policy of rhetorical support for democracy and better governance and to adhere to assistance through MEPI and USAID programs, while giving the greatest support to those countries that back our counterterror efforts. A Russian arms purchase or a handshake with China is not a shirking of U. Given that the relationships offer a specific exchange of spoils, there is no need to expect an all-or-nothing alliance.
Moreover, this logic assumes that we are the only two axes through which the Maghreb engages globally, while the giant in Maghrebi foreign policy is the EU, owing to deep economic ties, migration policy, and the Maghrebi diaspora. Finally, while the major U. Because of the key differences outlined in this essay, the U. Twitter Facebook GooglePlus Youtube RSS. For information about FPRI, or to reach one of genrrally scholars for an interview or comment, please contact:.
Director of Administration and Development. Taking Stock of U. Policy Options in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. Vish Sakthivel is a Robert A. She is also a doctoral candidate in Modern Middle East Studies at Oxford University, Read More. Program on the Middle East.
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