Monday, November 12, 2012

IMF Mission visit to Algeria

Statement by the IMF Mission on the 2012 Article IV Consultations Mission with Algeria
Press Release No. 12/427
November 12, 2012

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission, led by Mr. Zeine Zeidane, visited Algiers from October 29 to November 11, 2012 to hold annual Article IV discussions. The consultation will conclude with the preparation of a report to be discussed by the IMF Executive Board in early 2013.
The discussions focused on short- and medium-term economic policies as well as the economic outlook in the context of a global economic environment that remains difficult. The mission held discussions with His Excellency, the Minister of Finance, Mr. Karim Djoudi, His Excellency, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Rachid Benaissa, His Excellency, the Minister of Housing and Town-planning, Mr. Abdelmadjid Tebboune, His Excellency, the Minister of Labor, Employment, and Social Security, Mr. Tayeb Louh and His Excellency, the Governor of the Bank of Algeria, Mr. Mohammed Laksaci. The mission also met with representatives of the economic and financial sectors and civil society.
Performance in 2012 is expected to remain solid. Growth is projected to reach 2.5 percent, supported by a buoyant non-hydrocarbon sector bolstered by public spending. Growth is forecast to reach 3.4 percent in 2013, underpinned by domestic demand and a recovery in the hydrocarbon sector. The current account surplus is expected to reach 8.2 percent of GDP, with higher hydrocarbon prices offsetting lower export volumes. The current account surplus will be at 7.1 percent of GDP in 2013. In 2012 and 2013, foreign-exchange reserves will remain very comfortable and external debt levels very low. The banking sector stayed solid in 2012. The oil stabilization fund, net of public debt, reached 26 percent of GDP.
However, inflation surged to 8.4 percent in 2012. Further, fiscal vulnerability has increased as a result of the fiscal expansion of recent years. The fiscal balance is expected to deteriorate to 3.7 percent of GDP, weighted by the full effect of wage increases and back-payments. Vulnerability to hydrocarbon prices has consequently increased, with the breakeven price reaching $121 per barrel in 2012. Although unemployment was stable at 10 percent in 2011, youth and female unemployment rates remains high, at 21.5 percent and 17 percent, respectively.
The main short and medium term challenges facing Algeria will be controlling inflation, strengthening fiscal sustainability, and boosting growth in the non-hydrocarbon sector. Monetary and fiscal policies should be coordinated to fight inflation. The planned consolidation of current spending in 2013 is welcome. The liquidity management policy introduced in 2012 should be pursued, and supported by an increased recourse to financial markets by the Treasury to finance the public deficit. This policy could also be further bolstered by raising interest rates with a view to bringing inflation down to the 4-4.5 percent target.
Long-term fiscal sustainability is dependent on hydrocarbon resources. The prudent fiscal policy envisaged for 2013 will restore fiscal space and should be pursued over the medium term through the containment of current spending and the development of non-hydrocarbon revenues. Similarly, the efforts launched by the authorities to modernize public financial management, and supported by a medium-term budget framework, should help strengthen the efficiency of public expenditure management.
Algeria must step up its growth rate, which remains below potential, in order to reduce unemployment. This can be achieved by maintaining public investment and making it more efficient, continuing a foreign exchange policy that fosters external competitiveness, and undertaking structural reforms to promote private-sector-led growth and increase total factor productivity. A strategy is therefore needed to improve the business climate, alleviate the constraints on foreign investment, promote greater international trade integration, and develop the financial sector.

IMF External Relations Department
Public Affairs
Media Relations

Saturday, November 10, 2012

US Secretary of State visited Algeria

Remarks Following the Meeting With President Abdelaziz Bouteflika
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
El Mouradia Palace
Algiers, Algeria
October 29, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: First, let me say how pleased I am to be back in Algeria and to have this chance to consult in depth with the President and (inaudible). I want to thank the President for his hospitality in the time that he has spent talking with me and that we will continue over lunch. We reviewed our strong bilateral relationship, including the fact we had an excellent Strategic Dialogue on a number of issues just last week in Washington.
And we had an in-depth discussion of the region, particularly the situation in Mali. I very much appreciated the President’s analysis, based on his long experience, as to the many complicated factors that have to be addressed to deal with the internal insecurity in Mali and the terrorist and drug trafficking threat that is posed to the region and beyond. And we have agreed to continue with in-depth expert discussions, to work together bilaterally and with the region – along with the United Nations, and the African Union, and ECOWAS – to determine the most effective approaches that we should be taking.
So again, I thank the President for his time and very helpful observations, and I look forward to continuing our discussion on a matter that is of particular interest to us both.
Thank you very much.

U.S. State Department

 Reuters quotes an anonymous US official:
“The secretary underscored … that it is very clear that a political process and our counter-terrorism efforts in Mali need to work in parallel,” the official said.
“We have an awful lot at stake here, and an awful lot of common interests, and there’s a strong recognition that Algeria has to be a central part of the solution,” the senior U.S. official told reporters traveling with Clinton.

Algeria's Role in the Sahel

Brussels, July 28, 2012.

Carnegie Europe hosted an informal roundtable discussion with a select group of experts engaged in issues of transitional liberalization processes, political violence, and terrorism in the Sahel. Carnegie’s Anouar Boukhars, en route from Algeria, provided an on-the-ground perspective on the crisis in northern Mali and Algeria’s central, but seemingly ambivalent, role in that conflict. Carnegie Europe’s Lizza Bomassi moderated.
Event Highlights
  • Political and Security Landscape of the Sahel: Boukhars described the political and security situation in the northern regions of Mali as complicated and the dynamics between the actors in power as even more complex. He outlined five sources of conflict and insecurity in Mali:
    1. Social Friction: Gradual political decay and the breakdown of state institutions, coupled with pervasive corruption, and weak governance, were critical sources of popular dissatisfaction. This general discontent created social tensions that helped lead to a military mutiny that overthrew the government in March 2012.
    2. Historical Grievances: There is still no serious settlement to the grievances of the historical Touareg Arab insurgencies, which occurred from the 1960s to the 2000s.
    3. Terrorism: Cross-border criminal and terrorist activity is tied to the history of the successive revolts in the northern regions. Boukhars noted the growing regional role of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and organized crime. He suggested that criminalization and radicalization in the region is chiefly motivated by lack of economic opportunities.
    4. Libya: The dismantling of the Gaddafi regime in Libya led to less security along Libya’s borders.
    5. Algeria: Algeria is perceived as reluctant to take a leading role in regional security now that its Libyan rival is currently unable to. Suspicion of a hidden Algerian agenda complicates the coordination of an effective response to the conflict, he added.
  • Security Challenges and Obstacles: Widespread corruption has had a debilitating impact on Mali’s national security, Boukhars explained. He stated that resources have been poorly allocated—the Malian army was underfunded, undersized, underequipped, and lacked the basic means necessary to keep order in northern Mali. Furthermore, the military has become a vehicle to express popular dissatisfaction with the political elites. To Boukhars, the major challenge facing Mali is how to support the civilian government, despite its faults and weaknesses, and to keep pressure on the junta leaders and their political supporters while ensuring that the army does not further fragment, weaken, or even radicalize.
  • Algeria’s Role: An official in attendance described an appropriate role for Algeria, given the current issue in Mali, Algeria’s geopolitical status, and its available resources:
    1. The Malian people should have the chance to fight for their peace and for the reestablishment of a Malian authority in the northern Mali, but this is a national, not international, affair.
    2. Algeria should respect the sovereignty of Mali by bringing the Malian people together to discuss matters amongst themselves.
    3. Algeria should identify legitimate groups and offer them the opportunity to rule within the Malian framework of sovereignty.
    4. Algeria should continue to financially support the region in order to avoid the escalation of the current situation into a humanitarian crisis.
  • A Local Solution and the International Community: Boukhars argued that mandate of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) does not necessarily warrant military offensive action against the Malian military, or against armed groups in northern Mali. It could, however, be a mandate to support rebuilding the command structure and the protection of civil institutions. Boukhars insisted that a local solution needs to be complemented by and coordinated with efforts of the international community. Looking forward, Boukhars urged that an ECOWAS, EU, or UN-mediated agreement must not fuel further tension.

Algeria's Pivotal Ambivalence

Regional Security Cooperation in the Maghreb and Sahel: Algeria's Pivotal Ambivalence
By Laurence Aida Ammour

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.

in Africa Security Brief
a publication of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies
NO. 18/ February 2012

A Legal and Policy Analysis of U.S.-Algerian Trade and Investment

A presentation by the Law Firm of Omar T. Mohammedi, LLC available otm law US Investment in Algeria.pdf

Algeria: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Background: Last updated March, 2012
Algeria's economy is heavily reliant on its hydrocarbons sector
Algeria is an important oil and natural gas producer and a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Algeria's hydrocarbons sector accounted for 60 percent of its budget revenues, 36 percent of its GDP, and over 97 percent of its export earnings in 2010, according to the U.S. State Department. In 2010, Algeria was the fourth largest crude oil producer in Africa after Nigeria, Angola, and Libya. As a member of OPEC, Algeria's crude oil production can be constrained by the group's crude production quotas, but Algeria also produces condensate and natural gas liquids, which are exempt from OPEC quotas.
Algeria was the eighth largest natural gas producer in the world in 2010 and the third largest gas supplier to Europe.

Algeria is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the world's thirteenth largest oil producer
According to the Oil and Gas Journal (OGJ), Algeria held an estimated 12.2 billion barrels of proven oil reserves as of January 2012, the third largest reserves in Africa (behind Libya and Nigeria). Hassi Messaoud basin, located in the eastern part of the country near the Libyan border, is the country's largest oil basin and producing oilfield and contains up to 60 percent of Algeria's proven oil reserves. The Berkine basin, together with the Ourhoud fields, is the second largest in the country and has been the source of a number of recent discoveries, which have allowed Algerian oil production levels to rise significantly since 2003.

The Algerian national oil company is Entreprise Nationale Sonatrach (Sonatrach), which plays a key role in all aspects of the oil and natural gas sectors in Algeria. All foreign operators must work in partnership with Sonatrach, which usually has majority ownership in production-sharing agreements.
Since the late 1990s, Algeria has encouraged the expansion of foreign investment in the oil and gas sectors. Foreign oil operators have steadily increased their participation in exploration and production, which has led to reserve and production growth. The largest foreign oil producer is Anadarko, with total production capacity of more than 500,000 bbl/d from its operation at the combined Hassi Berkine South and Ourhoud fields. Other large foreign investors include: BP, Conoco-Phillips, Eni, Shell, Statoil, and Total.
In November 2011, Sonatrach's fourth chief executive in two years was appointed by the energy minister. Sonatrach continues to be affected by the 2010 corruption investigation that resulted in the dismissal of its chief executive and many of the company's senior management team.
In December 2011, the Algerian energy minister announced that changes will be made to the country's Hydrocarbon Law to boost foreign companies' interest in exploration investments. Attempts to attract foreign energy companies to invest in exploration projects have foundered over the past few years. Reportedly, the frequent delays involved in Algerian projects, stringent financial terms, and a windfall tax on foreign oil producers whenever the price of oil exceeds $30 per barrel have dampened international companies' interest in bidding rounds. In March 2011, Algeria awarded only 2 out of 10 oil and gas permits on offer in its latest licensing round. The winning bidders were Sonatrach and Spain's Cepsa. This was the third bid round in a row to attract lackluster interest from foreign firms.
Production and Development
Algeria produced an estimated average of 1.27 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of crude oil in 2011, about the same as it produced in 2010. Together with 270,000 bbl/d of condensate and 340,000 bbl/d of natural gas liquids, which are not included in its OPEC quota, Algeria averaged 1.88 Mmbbl/d of total oil liquids production during 2011.
Algerian oilfields produce high quality light crude oil with very low sulfur and mineral contents. The main areas for exploration are in the east near the borders of Tunisia and Libya, and in the central area, where large natural gas discoveries have been made. Algeria is maintaining its oil production capacity by enhancing oil recovery in older fields, increasing exploration, and developing new oilfields to compensate for the decline in older fields. The government's long-term target is to maintain crude oil production capacity at about its current level.
Sonatrach operates the largest oil field in Algeria, Hassi Messaoud, which is reported to have produced around 350,000 bbl/d of crude oil in 2010, about 28 percent of Algeria's total. The government recently awarded new contracts to increase Hassi Messaoud production by developing new areas of the field and by adding a new LPG plant. Hassi Berkine, a joint venture between Sonatrach and Anadarko, reportedly produced 300,000 bbl/d in 2010, and the Ourhoud field, a joint venture between Sonatrach and Cepsa located in the Berkine basin, produced about 250,000 bbl/d. The El Merk field, located south of Hassi Messaoud in the Sahara desert, is expected eventually to add 100,000 bbl/d of crude oil, 30,000 bbl/d of condensate, and 30,000 bbl/d of net gas liquids to Algeria's oil production after coming online in the fourth quarter of 2012. El Merk is a joint venture by Sonatrach, Anadarko, Eni, and Burlington.

In 2011, Algeria's estimated crude oil exports were 750,000 bbl/d, of which the largest portion went to North America, mainly to the United States. In 2010, Algeria's estimated total oil exports (including all liquids) were 1.5 million bbl/d. According to EIA estimates, the United States imported an average of 510,000 bbl/d from Algeria in 2010, of which 328,000 bbl/d was crude oil. The United States was the largest single importer of Algerian crude oil in both years.

In January 2012, Algeria had total crude oil refining capacity of 450,000 bbl/d at four refineries, according to the Oil and Gas Journal. Sonatrach aims to upgrade and expand its existing refineries at Arzew, Algiers, and Skikda. The country is in need of increased refining capacity as rising demand for gasoline and diesel has resulted in rising imports of refined products.
The Skikda refinery, at 300,000 bbl/d, produces about 67 percent of Algeria's refined products. It is being modernized and expanded to more than double its current capacity by the end of 2012. The expansion will include a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant as well as three liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) facilities.
The 60,000-bbl/d Algiers refinery, which processes crude from Hassi Messaoud, is being upgraded to produce an additional 20,000 bbl/d in 2014 and will provide gasoline and other products to European specifications.
The 60,000-bbl/d Arzew refinery produces products for both domestic consumption and export. A contract was awarded in 2008 to rehabilitate this refinery and increase its production by 30,000 bbl/d by mid-2012.
The 30,000-bbl/d Hassi Messaoud refinery supplies products to southern Algeria. A Sonatrach project to build three additional LPG trains was awarded to Saipem in 2010, but has been delayed.
Pipelines and Export Terminals
Algeria uses seven coastal terminals to export crude oil, refined products, LPG, and natural gas liquids (NGL). These facilities are located at Arzew, Skikda, Algiers, Annaba, Oran, Bejaia, and La Skhirra in Tunisia. Arzew handles about 40 percent of Algeria's total hydrocarbon exports, including all of its NGL, LPG, and oil condensate exports. Arzew and Skikda are also the shipping points for LNG.
Algeria's domestic pipeline network facilitates the transfer of oil from interior production fields to the export terminals. Sonatrach operates over 2,400 miles of oil pipelines in the country. The most important pipelines carry crude oil from the Hassi Messaoud field to refineries and export terminals. Algeria's major crude oil export pipelines are: the two parallel 500-mile Haoud el Hamra to Arzew pipelines, the 415-mile Haoud el Hamra to Bejaia line, the 400-mile Haoud el Hamra to Skikda pipeline, and the border-crossing 482-mile pipeline from In Amenas to La Skhirra, Tunisia. Sonatrach also operates oil condensate and LPG pipeline networks that link Hassi R'Mel and other fields to Arzew.

Natural Gas
Algeria is the third largest exporter of natural gas to Europe
According to The Oil and Gas Journal (OGJ), as of January 2012, Algeria had 159 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven natural gas reserves, the tenth largest natural gas reserves in the world and the second largest in Africa after Nigeria. Algeria's largest natural gas field is Hassi R'Mel, discovered in 1956.  Located in the eastern part of the country, it holds proven reserves of about 85 Tcf, more than half of Algeria's total proven natural gas reserves. The remainder of Algeria's natural gas reserves come from associated (they occur alongside crude oil reserves) and non-associated fields in the south and southeast regions of the country.

Algeria's gross natural gas production in 2010 was 6.8 Tcf compared with 6.9 Tcf in 2009. Of this amount, 3.2 Tcf was reinjected for enhanced oil recovery, 3.5 Tcf was marketed, while 0.2 Tcf was vented/flared.
Algeria is in the process of developing its Southwest Gas Project, which includes the Repsol-led 102 billion cubic feet per year (Bcf/y) Reggane Nord fields, the 56 Bcf/y Timimoun project led by Total, and GDF Suez's 159 Bcf/y Touat project. Final approval of the Reggane Nord project occurred in November 2011. The project includes the construction of gas gathering facilities, a gas treatment plant, and pipeline to Hassi R'Mel gas hub. Repsol holds a 29.25 percent stake in partnership with Sonatrach, at 40 percent, RWE Dea, at 19.5 percent, and Edison, at 11.25 percent. The project is slated to come online in mid-2016, 2 years later than originally estimated. Reggane Nord will open up the wider development of Algeria's southwest gas fields, including the Timimoun and Touat projects. The Timimoun project is projected to come onstream in 2014, and the Touat project is also expected to be given the green light soon, according to Algeria's state news agency in February 2012.
Another major project in the area, the Menzel Ledjmet East (MLE) project led by Eni, is projected to start production of 116 Bcf/y in mid-2012, along with associated gas liquids and oil. The projects in the southwest are co-dependent, as they will all rely on the construction of a new gas pipeline linking them to Hassi R'Mel. Following a recent decline in upstream licensing activity, the development of gas from the southwest has taken on greater importance for Algeria's capacity to meet contracted gas exports and increasing domestic demand in the medium term.
Domestic Pipelines
Algeria's more than 4,000-mile domestic natural gas pipeline system centers on the Hassi R'Mel natural gas field, which is owned by Sonatrach. The pipelines collect and distribute more than 10 Bcf/d. The largest pipeline systems connect Hassi R'Mel to the export pipelines to Europe and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals along the Mediterranean Sea. Since Hassi R'Mel is the hub of Algeria's entire natural gas transport network, all of the country's natural gas-producing regions are connected to it by pipelines.
Pipeline Exports
According to Cedigaz estimates, Algeria's natural gas exports totaled 1.97 Tcf in 2010, up from 1.86 Tcf in 2009.  About 65 percent of Algeria's total natural gas exports, or 1.29 Tcf, moved through the natural gas pipelines connecting Algeria with Italy and Spain, while 35 percent, or 0.682 Tcf, was exported by tanker in the form of LNG. Algeria was the third largest natural gas supplier to Europe after Russia and Norway in 2010.
After a number of delays, the $1.2 billion Medgaz undersea pipeline came online in March, 2011. The 403 Bcf/y-capacity, 120-mile Medgaz undersea line links Beni Saf, Algeria to Almeria, Spain. Sonatrach owns 36 percent, Spain's Iberdrola and Cepsa each own 20 percent, and Endesa and Gaz de France hold 12 percent each. Interconnecting pipelines from Spain to France, which would make France and the rest of Europe potential outlets for Spain's surplus gas, are in the planning stages, and could become operational in the 2013-2015 time frame.
The 1,370-mile Trans-Mediterranean (Transmed, also called Enrico Mattei) line runs from Hassi R'Mel, via Tunisia and Sicily, to mainland Italy, with an extension running to Slovenia. It was completed in 1983 and doubled in capacity in 1994 to 847 Bcf/y.  A third line was opened in February 2010, further expanding total apacity to 1,059 Bcf/y.
The 1,000-mile, 424 Bcf/y capacity Maghreb-Europe Gas pipeline (MEG, also called Pedro Duran Farell), was completed in 1996 for $2.3 billion.  It connects Hassi R'Mel via Morocco with Cordoba, Spain, where it ties into the Spanish and Portuguese natural gas transmission networks. Natural gas from Algeria is provided to Spain, Portugal, and Morocco. An international consortium, led by Spain's Enagas, Morocco's SNPP, Portugal's Transgas and Sonatrach, operates this line.
The Galsi natural gas pipeline, which would link Annaba on the Algerian coast with Piombino in mainland Italy via Sardinia, is still in the planning stages.  It would be the deepest underwater pipeline ever built, running 9,265 feet underwater at its deepest point. The expected initial capacity is 282 Bcf/year and it has been projected to come on stream in 2014. 
Liquefied Natural Gas
In 2010, Algeria was the world's seventh largest exporter of LNG, exporting about 7 percent of the world's total LNG exports. Primary customers were France, Spain, Turkey, Italy, and the U.K. Cedigaz estimates that a total of 682 Bcf of LNG was exported in 2010, comprising 35 percent of the country's total natural gas exports.
With the start-up of the LNG plant at Arzew in 1964, Algeria became the world's first producer of LNG. The Arzew plant had three trains until February 2011, when the oldest was closed down, being considered too dilapidated and dangerous to operate.  This deprived Algeria of around 53 Bcf/y of LNG. A new LNG plant with capacity of 218 Bcf/y is under construction and due to open in 2013. Gas supplies will be coming from the Gassi Touil fields.
Algeria’s Skikda LNG plant, built in 1972, was partly destroyed by an explosion in 2004.  Three of the six trains were repaired but the other three are being replaced by one new train with a 250 Bcf/y capacity, expected to come online in 2013.
The National Shipping Company, a Sonatrach subsidiary, operates 28 LNG, crude, and product tankers and has reportedly commissioned a further 10 vessels for delivery by 2013.

Algeria: Current Issues

Congressional Research Service

Summary: U.S.-Algerian ties have grown over the past decade as the United States has increasingly viewed Algeria as an important partner in the fight against international terrorism. 

The Algerian economy is largely based on hydrocarbons, and the country is a significant source of petroleum for the United States and of natural gas for Europe. Congress appropriates and oversees small amounts of bilateral development assistance, and Algerian security forces benefit from U.S. security assistance and participation in bilateral and regional military cooperation programs.

Algeria’s political system is dominated by a strong presidency and security apparatus. 
The military views itself as the heir to Algeria’s long struggle for independence from France, and has remained the most significant political force since independence in 1962.

Following Algeria’s bloody domestic counterinsurgency against Islamist groups in the 1990s, the military backed Abdelaziz Bouteflika for the presidency in 1999. 

Bouteflika was reelected for a third term in April 2009, after the constitution was altered to remove term limits. He is widely rumored to be in poor health, and has no clear successor.

Algeria’s macroeconomic situation is stable due to high global oil and gas prices, 
but the pressures of unemployment, high food prices, and housing shortages weigh on many families.

These factors, along with longstanding political frustrations and the ripple effects of political
change and tumult across the region, have motivated recent demonstrations and labor unrest.
At the same time, Algeria’s experience with civil conflict, the fragmented nature of civil society, and the “negative” examples of violence and uncertainty in countries such as Libya, Yemen,
and Syria, may dampen enthusiasm for dramatic political change. 

The government has used the security forces to prevent and break up demonstrations, while also attempting to defuse public demands with limited political and economic concessions. Some hope that reforms initiated in April 2011 might strengthen the relatively weak legislature and judiciary. Yet it is unclear whether the reforms have the potential to alter the deeper balance of power within the opaque politico-military elite network that Algerians refer to as “Le Pouvoir” (the powers-that-be).

Domestic terrorism perpetrated by violent Islamists remains Algeria’s principal security
challenge. Algerian terrorists also operate across the southern border in the Sahel and 
are linked to terrorism abroad. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), is an Algerian-led criminal-terrorist network with roots in the
1990s civil conflict.

As the dominant economic and military power in the region, Algeria has attempted to take the lead in developing a regional approach to counterterrorism in the Sahel.
President Bouteflika’s tenure has produced an energized foreign policy. Strains in ties with
neighboring Morocco continue, due to the unresolved status of the Western Sahara and a rivalry
for regional power, although signs of a thaw have emerged in the past year. Relations with former
colonial power France remain complex and volatile. 

The legacy of Algeria’s anti-colonial struggle contributes to Algerian leaders’ desire to prevent direct foreign counter-terrorism intervention, their residual skepticism of French intentions, and Algeria’s positions on regional affairs, including a non-interventionist stance toward uprisings in Libya and Syria.

Alexis Arieff, January 18, 2012.

See also CRS Report R41070, Al Qaeda and Affiliates: Historical Perspective, Global Presence,
and Implications for U.S. Policy, coordinated by John Rollins; and CRS Report RS20962,
Western Sahara, by Alexis Arieff.

From Algiers began the road to the liberation of France, Europe, and the World

70th anniversary of the Allied landings in North Africa

Dozens of people, mostly from the diplomatic community accredited in Algiers, took part yesterday in a ceremony jointly organized by the US and U K embassies at the Military cemetery of Dély Ibrahim in Algiers.

The ceremony was held in order to commemorate Operation Torch dated  November 8, 1942, during which more than 100,000 Allied troops landed in North Africa. The graves are so well aligned and the protocol was well set.  It was indeed a military ceremony. The Algerian Republican Guard took part to this ceremony.
Most of the 527 soldiers who are buried in the cemetery of Dély Ibrahim are mostly British, but there are also citizens of the Commonwealth (Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders, Indians). Their names are Fletcher, Scott Hancock, or Jarvis. They came from far to die on Algerian soil. Their graves tell a page of our history. Several speeches  were then delivered to the memory of the soldiers killed in the fighting against the Nazi and Vichy regimes.
U.S. Ambassador Henry S. Ensher has, from the outset, said that this celebration is to cultivate the memory of one of the largest operations of World War II. For his part, Ambassador of United Kingdom in Algeria, Martyn Keith Roper, chose to recite a poem in honor of fallen soldiers. Then, flowers were deposited on the monument erected on top of the cemetery. Various delegations composed mainly of military attachés will succeed to stand  and make the military salvation.
A delegation of the Algerian Army (ANP), consisting of four officers,attended this ceremony. Invited to speak,retired General Medjahed Abdelaziz, former director of the Military Academy of Cherchell, reiterated the strategic importance of the landing in North Africa that allowed Allied forces to win the war less than three years, while the Algerians will, themselves, be deprived of their liberty for 20 more years.
General Medjahed, who paid tribute to all freedom fighters, recalled the sacrifice of 45 thousands of Algerians who lost their lives during the day of "Liberation", May 8, 1945.
The Algerians, he added, therefore know better than anyone the importance and joy of living free. He also recalled that, in the wake of Operation Torch, the Algerians were affected by heavy losses as a result of bombing by the Luftwaffe in the East of Algeria.. General Medjahed also evoked the memory of U.S. President Wilson, who had stated in 1918 the principle of self-determination while people of Palestine and Western Sahara are still deprived of this right enshrined in international law .
A young Algerian academic, Abderrahamane Moussaoui, a native of the town of Messelmoun (near Cherchell)  where was held on October 23, 1942, a clandestine meeting between General Mark Clark and members of the French resistance, insisted on the need to restore and preserve this memory.
He revealed that this charming site, loved by General Clark, has to this day a monument with the inscription "Here begins the road to the liberation of France, Europe and the world."
 By: Mohamed Sherif LACHICHI
 Liberte, 11 November 2012.