Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Presence in Mediterranean Geopolitics

Algeria draws on its revolutionary experience and leadership in the non-aligned movement as sources of influence and prestige in the Arab World, and in international affairs more broadly. After more than a decade of conflict and isolation, Algiers is clearly looking to rebuild its regional power and influence, in part through a more active engagement with the U.S. and NATO on security issues. The country's energy resources and diverse international ties, with Russia and China among others, lend an asymmetric quality to the competition between Morocco and Algeria. Russia continues to be an important supplier of military equipment to Algeria, and China has been active as a partner in the energy sector (including Algeria's civil nuclear power program). As Algeria reemerges as an actor on the international scene, it may face harder choices among its European, Atlantic and Eurasian connections. (Page 29).

After more than a decade of isolation and turmoil, Algeria has rediscovered its once vibrant international role, and now aims for a position of influence if not leadership. This re engagement has a strong security dimension, and goes beyond traditional bilateral links in Western Europe to include cooperation with the U.S. and NATO. Algiers has become one of the most active partners in NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue since joining in 2001, and this activism goes some way toward balancing the eastern Mediterranean weight of NATO (and EU) security engagement in the region. The country's energy and security roles, and plans for military modernization, are likely to make Algeria a much more significant presence in Mediterranean geopolitics over the coming decade . (Page 44).

In Portugal and the Southern Mediterranean: Transatlantic Interest and Strategies
By Ian Lesser
Published by Luso-American Development Foundation, Lisbon, July 2006