The North Africa Journal
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Troubled Times for North Africa’s Oil Sector
The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | Foreign companies are expressing their frustration with the security and political events affecting their business in North Africa. Many decided to postpone work for some future time, a decision often justified by a reduction in global demand, lower global prices and higher inventories expected in the future. That leaves, however, greater uncertainty in the region and many questions are being asked by the global investor community as to what come next.
North Africa and Sahel: Major Military Buildup Underway
The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | Even as northern Mali continues to deal with the aftermath of its Jihadist invasion and the French offensive to remove them, the biggest concern for the region and international military organizations remains southern Libya and in particular the Libya-Algeria shared borders. A military buildup is underway, involving tens of thousands of troops, and upcoming acquisition of Russian military equipment and Chinese drones.
Morocco-Algeria: Diplomatic Tension Escalates
The North Africa Journal: Tension has been rising between Morocco and Algeria, over, yet again the disputed Western Sahara territory. This escalation seemed to have started following statements made by Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika during a speech made on his behalf by his Justice Minister, where he insisted on “the establishment of an international mechanism to monitor human rights in the Western Sahara.” This particular statement led the Moroccan government to recall its ambassador for consultation, and in Casablanca, the Algerian consulate was attacked by an angry mob.
Morocco: the King’s Men Return to Power, Islamists Take a Much Needed Break
The North Africa Journal | by Arezki Daoud | The coalition that formed the Moroccan cabinet since the electoral victory of the Islamist PJD party has been facing a crisis when in July 2013 the conservative-monarchist Istiqlal party withdrew from it. The exit of Istiqlal, the second biggest party in parliament, appears to have dealt a blow to the PJD, which has been leading a nation that faces a series of difficult social and economic issues, and opponents that could not wait for it to fail. At the end, however, the Islamists minimalist position in the new cabinet may actually be their saving grace.
Libya PM Zeidan Kidnapped by a Government “Anti-Corruption Unit” [update]
The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | Making a public statement on Thursday, the Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Abdulkarim Sadikk clearly missed the mark when he stated that Libya was safe and security was under control. The problem with Mr. Saddikk statement is that nothing could be further from the truth. Early Thursday, Mr. Saddikk’s boss, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was simply kidnapped from his room at the Corinthia Hotel. Yes, only in failed state do we see these kinds of events and to speak of security when the Prime Minister is abducted simply defies logic.
Why a US-Iran Rapprochement May be a Good Thing in the War against Global Terrorism
The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | The horrific attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi may have come as a surprise for many, but for us, the surprise was less about the act in itself and the perpetrators' intentions than about the magnitude of the violence. Whether it is El-Shabaab, Boko Haram, AQIM, etc, the actual perpetrators eventually lead us back to the same source, Al Qaeda Central. Can a US-Iran rapprochement lead to an easing of such violence? I think so.
Wanted: Algerian Court Issues International Warrant for the Arrest of Ex-Oil Minister Chakib Khelil
The North Africa Journal | Chakib Khelil, the once top powerbroker in Algeria’s oil and gas sector, woke up this Tuesday morning with news that the judicial authorities in his country of origin want him in jail.
Morocco: The High Cost of Running Government
The North Africa Journal | With an economy struggling to grow, the Moroccan government has enacted a series of measures aimed at curbing spending related to the functioning of the administration. But these measures, which included a promised reduction in the state automobile fleet, a curbing of cost of travel and other items have failed to generate the savings anticipated early on, causing concerns about the rate of spending within the administration.
Persistent Insecurity in North Africa, Wherever You Look
The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | As warned, the ongoing, and easily predictable political evolution of North Africa and the Sahel was inevitably leading to a substantial security erosion. Chaos is dangerously settling in and it will take decades, billions of dollars, and substantial efforts to fix the multi-faceted problems the region is facing.
Sonelgaz Rocked by Corruption Scandal, Reports US$ 1 Billion Loss
The North Africa Journal | The distribution of electricity and natural gas in Algeria is the domain of state-owned company Sonelgaz, which, just like sister company Sonatrach, is now at the center of a corruption probe involving alleged excessive payments for two power stations it purchased from Alstom and General Electric (GE).