Algeria Reassesses Alliance with France Over Mali

Article Summary
Algeria must reassess its alliance with France over the Mali war, amid emerging allegations that French-backed Malian troops have been carrying out retaliatory ethnic cleansing in northern Mali, writes Ramadan Belamri.

Is someone trying to divert Algerians' attention from the clashes raging in the desert by distracting them with the African Cup of Nations football tournament?

Which defeat is more significant — losing a football match, or losing a battle on a real battlefield, where one single setback can lead to the loss of many generations?

To put it simply, the loss of the Algerian football team in the 2013 African Cup of Nations should not be blown out of proportion. We ought to focus our attention on the deteriorating security situation in the south of the country.

Personally, I don't feel reassured at all about the Franco-Algerian harmony regarding the raging war in Mali, despite the unprecedented “defense” of Algeria by Paris during and after the battle of In Amenas. Indeed, the Parisian politicians took the side of the Algerian leaders and defended the military operation there.

Are these French statements sufficient to convince Algerians that the storm is over and the crisis has ended peacefully? I don't think so.

Another question should be raised: will Algerian authorities remain silent about the ethnic cleansing operations against Tuareg and Arabs in northern Mali, which have been perpetrated by the Malian army backed by French troops, just because France supported the military operation of In Amenas?

I believe that the violations that are taking place at the moment are only the beginning of a wave of terror that will hit the Tuareg people, who inhabit overlapping areas in Algeria, Mauritania, Libya, Mali, Chad and Niger.

This suggests that a desire for vengeance is brewing among the Tuareg and Arab people of the region, who want to avenge those who have been oppressed in northern Mali. This will come to the advantage of extremists who fled like cats to the mountains and hid in the desert like lizards.

Algeria has previously bet on neutralizing and distancing Ansar Dine from the military conflict in northern Mali, but the hardline wing of the movement declared its decision to launch a war that it can't finish.

Algeria is left with only one option now, which is to treat the Tuareg people fleeing the hell of war in Mali with humanity. The cards have been reshuffled. Mali’s war appears to be harsher than that of Libya. If Libya was the source of the arms river, northern Mali has become the mouth of the river.

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Found in: tuareg, french intervention mali, france, algeria-france relations, algeria, africa
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