- HASSAN MASIKY
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Moocco Board News-The Algerian authorities’ change of heart regarding their decision not to recognize the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) indicates an emerging civilian power vacuum in el-Mouradia Palace and a de-facto take over by the Military of all matters of government in Algiers. Experts believe that the Libyan crisis has exposed the “known fact” that the Military Intelligence Agency‘s (Département du Renseignement et de la Sécurité or DRS) has been running the Government in Algeria for sometimes now.
With Algeria’s so-called position of “pure neutrality” in the Libyan conflict evaporating, Algeria’s Foreign Minister is trying to save face on the international scene. Mr. Mourad Medelci recent declaration of Algeria’s pending recognition of the CNT is a far cry from his government official campaign of denouncing “foreign intervention” in Libya and accusing the CNT of harboring members the North African branch of Al-Qaeda (AQIM). Algeria’s sudden change of policy on Libya begs the following questions: Who is in charge in Algiers? Who is making foreign policy decisions within the Algerian government? Is Bouteflika able to mediate between the weak civilians and the powerful DRS leaderships?
Algeria’s “ambiguous” position vis-à-vis the CNT is a by-product of the DRS’s fear of a democratic contagion from Libya and Tunisia affecting the restless Algerian youth. DRS was never a fan of Gaddafi and his unpredictable moods. In fact, Gaddafi and the DRS had fundamental difference on issues such as the Touareg rebellions in Mali, insecurity in the Sahel and the role of Libya in the Sahel.
With President Bouteflika unable to referee between the civilians and the Military establishment, the likes of Mr. Medelci find themselves in the awkward position. Algeria’s arguments for not recognizing the CNT are “offensive.” As an Algerian opponent noticed, it is preposterous for an “unelected Algerian government to ask the current ruler in Tripoli to first ensure that the CNT is supported by the majority of the Libyan people, through the organization of an election.”