The Reasons behind Algiers’ Wrath against Bilal Ag Cherif

bilal-ag-cherif-colere-algerDespite the ongoing settling of scores between Bouteflika’s clique and General Toufik, the chief of the Algerian military intelligence services (DRS), embarrassment in Algiers is at its highest. Algerian officials have actually found it hard to digest the recent visit the Tuareg leader Bilal Ag Cherif paid to Morocco.
The Tuareg movement leader’s visit to Morocco and his requesting the Kingdom’s help to bring Mali out of the political deadlock are deemed by Algerian authorities as a personal insult. However, their wrath may be understandable since Algiers has recently attempted a timid comeback in the Malian case.
Algiers, which has been isolated for nearly two years after it refused any action against terrorist groups in Mali, was angered to see Morocco strengthen its position in the Sahel. Algeria is actually fiercely opposed to an increased Moroccan influence in the region and repeatedly argues that Morocco has no role to play in the Malian crisis since it has no borders with Mali.
But the statement issued by the MNLA after Bilal Ag Sherif’s meeting with King Mohammed VI was an ice-cold-shower for Algerian leaders, especially so as the Tuareg movement explained its willingness to engage in “an active diplomacy with all peace and stability loving States in our region to overcome obstacles and deadlocks.”
The allusion could not go unnoticed in Algiers. The MNLA had challenged the Algerian mediation when it refused to participate, on January 19 in Algiers, in Algeria-sponsored “exploratory” talks.
MNLA leaders had grasped that Algiers was laying a trap and was trying at the same time to make use of other rival Tuareg movements. Anyways, these movements had also stormed out of the meeting that Algiers had spent so much time preparing.


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