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Persistent Insecurity in North Africa, Wherever You Look

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image Salafists pushing for their religious agenda in Tunisia

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.

While Egypt has descended into chaos, the political landscape in Libya is no better, and dominated by a low-intensity civil war. Towns from Kufra to Benghazi are witnessing heightened tension.

In Tunisia, there is now an open conflict between secularists and Islamists on one hand, and the Islamist Ennahda party in power against the ultra-conservatives Salafists. The secular movement is fighting back but it is facing huge resistance from the conservatives, with pro-democracy activists, from the feminists to artists being sent to prison.

In Algeria, the health of the President, who is severely ill has created a major political vacuum with the future of the country in question and fear of instability looming. Despite the Prime Minister acting as a caretaker of sort, big presidential decisions are frozen or made through the Prime Minister through a process that legal observers call unconstitutional. That country continues to struggle with bad politicians and corporate leaders, with a few having been caught practicing corruption and abuse of power. The latest of such cases involves utility firm Sonelgaz, and fresh allegations of abuses in Sonatrach's London operation. 

Further south, the French intervention in Mali did not necessarily solve the crisis in the Sahelian nation as more problems are emerging both within Mali and outside of it. Terrorist leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar is alive and busy harassing everyone in the region.

Although Morocco remains seemingly a beacon of stability, with the turmoil surrounding it, the Kingdom will have to be extra vigilant not to fall victim of the instability in the region, starting by fixing its own economy and weird politics. Domestically, the governing coalition headed by the Islamists of the PJD is struggling to keep the economy afloat. Meanwhile, at the top of governance in Morocco, a political crisis has been brewing for months pitting parties that have been in the governing coalition against one another. The latest from Rabat is the withdrawal of the secular but conservative Istiqlal party from the government. Many voices are calling on the King to intervene to halt the crisis, but King Mohamed VI is showing restrain, although some are suggesting that the monarchy is behind the Istiqlal's decision to quit the government in an effort to discredit the Islamists in government.

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