Current Issue

Week ending 1 February 2017: Yet another cycle of uncertainty for the region

Editorial by Arezki Daoud:  As the militaries and security services manage to control, to a certain extent, the terror threat, the region is facing unprecedented social tension and economic despair.  Data for all countries in the North Africa zone, extending to the Sahel, look awful.  All nations in the region as facing growing budget and […]

In Brief

¨ For the period of January 26 to February 01, 2017, there were 173 critical incidents in the region, a figure that also includes the Sahel zone, but excludes Egypt. The total incident pool resulted in 49 deaths and 979 arrests across the Maghreb/Sahel zone. ¨ As a result, the MEA Risk Instability Index for the period […]

Algeria: Tensions deepen among the opposition over legislative elections

Tension between the opposition parties Jil Jadid (New Generation) and the Islamist-leaning Movement for Society and Peace (MSP) have intensified this week after the former of the former, Soufiane Djilali, accused the Islamist Abderrazak Makri of officially trying to join the presidential majority, after he met with RND leader Ahmed Ouyahia to discuss the MSP’s […]

Algeria: Former Islamist leader denounces breach of civil rights

The former second-in-command of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), Ali Belhadj, has addressed a letter to the minister of justice to denounce a “violation of civil rights”. In the letter, Ali Belhadj claims that security officers are “following him around”, and preventing him from going to mosques and leaving the capital. The ex FIS official […]

Algeria: Opposition party RCD deplores sentencing of Ifarhounen mayor

The opposition party Culture and Democracy Rally (RCD) denounced the six-month prison sentence given to Hamid Ait Said, the mayor of Ifarhounene, in Tizi Ouzou, for defamation against the son of war veteran Colonel Amirouche over a video posted on Facebook. The party condemned an “arbitrary” verdict given without a trial, and accused the judiciary […]

Morocco’s King hints at dissolution of Maghreb Union

In light of the return of Morocco in the African Union, the King Mohammed VI has hinted that the Arab Maghreb Union (AUN) is on the verge of dissolution due to a “lack of belief in a common interest.” The King went on to call the Maghreb the world’s “least unified region, as the intra-regional […]

Tunisia: Ruling party Nidaa Tunes deplores recent reshuffle in delegations, suspends six members

The governing party Nidaa Tunes has deplored a recent reshuffle in the delegates body, claiming that no consensus had been reached before the decision was taken by the Prime Minister. The management commission of the party added that the reshuffle was conducted at the expense of delegates who had acquired much-needed administrative competence in the […]

Tunisia: Prime Minister announces delegates reshuffle in six governorates, two reject the appointment

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed has reshuffled the body of first delegates in 6 governorates and for 114 delegations, namely Bizerte, Ariana, Tozeur, El Kef, Siliana and Tunis, announced the Prime Ministry in a statement released Friday evening, over poor performances.  However, the newly-appointed delegates of Meknassi and Djerba Midoun, Sami Jaouadi and Slim Ghoudi, respectively, […]

Libya: Sirte: Division among municipal council deepens

Three of the seven members of Sirte’s municipal council have decided to suspend their membership, denouncing the unorthodox government style of the mayor, Mukhtar al-Madani. This rift is likely to hamper efforts to rebuild Sirte, weeks after the Islamic State was rooted out by the pro-UN-backed government forces.  

Libya security check: Tension remains high in Libya

Tension in Libya remains extremely high, with clashes taking place in various geographies, as the leader of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar, warned against any attacks on ports or oil fields. The commander-in-chief of the pro-eastern government forces added that the army will pursue attackers even in their homes. But violence remained high this […]

Tunisia Security Check: Fear of Tunisian militants returning from wars abroad dominate the security landscape

Tunisia continues to struggle with the likely return of its nationals who have been fighting in Syria, Libya and elsewhere.  The security services have been vigilant in insuring that returnees are contained before they cause any harm. This week, an Islamic State insurgent was apprehended by the police in Bizerte’s Ras Jebel on 25 January, […]

Algeria security check: counter-insurgency campaign continues

Algeria continues to discover weapons caches,  the latest of such incident took place on 30 January, when an army brigade in Adrar’s Bordj Badji Mokhtar municipality found a cache containing 52 boxes full of ammunition near the Malian border. In the Algerian provinces of Boumerdes (about an hour east to the capital) and Jijel, five […]

Morocco security check: Clashes with Islamic State group in Western Morocco

On 27 January, the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) has arrested seven members of an Islamic State cell based in el-Jadida, Salé, el-Gara, Boualaouane and Douar Maatallah, in western Morocco. The cell reportedly planned large scale attack in the Kingdom, with the help of Islamic State leaders based in Iraq and Syria. In el-Jadida’s […]

Instability in North Africa and Sahel claims over 8,500 deaths in 2016. MEA Risk expects 2017 to be another crisis year

The North Africa and Sahel zone witnessed a 16.0% increase in the number of destabilizing critical incidents in 2016 to a total of 11,916, according to MEA Risk LLC.  Despite such increase, MEA Risk’s Instability Index, measuring the crisis intensity for the region, dropped 15.2%  as a result of lesser terrorism-related incidents and a shift […]

Algeria and Tunisia confronted with new weak economic indicators

In the 2017 edition of the world economic situation and prospects report, the United Nations has forecasted that Algeria’s GDP growth should fall by 0.1% in 2017, and stand at 2.8% as against 2.9% in 2016 and 3.9% in 2015. “The growth of the Algerian economy should remain moderate in 2017. Given the fact that […]

Algeria: Spotlight on corruption in the oil/gas and insurance sectors

The criminal court of Algiers sentenced three people, two Sonatrach employees and the director of the private French construction company IGTA, to three years in prison for leaking confidential information about the Sonatrach’s commercial activities. The Sonatrach workers disclosed leaked offers from competitors of IGTA, allowing the French company to present a more competitive offer, […]

Algeria: Spain construction company Ortiz Construcciones takes Algeria to arbitration

The Spanish construction company Ortiz Construcciones has decided to bring an ICSID claim against Algeria, with reference to a deal to build 10,000 pre-fabricated homes. The company accuses the ministry of housing of violating agreements signed 2012, and claims that it has done its part with regards to knowledge transfer, and that it obtained the […]

Algeria suspends imports of fruit and vegetables

The Bank of Algeria has issued a memo to all Algerian banks to suspend the activities of fruit and vegetables importers. “In light of the trade ministry’s decision to forbid imports of fruit and vegetables, banks and financial institutions are instructed to immediately suspend all bank domiciliations for the importers of said products” said the […]

Tunisia: Backlash of foreign companies against Tunisia’s new finance law measure

There has been uproar over the new finance law in Tunisia, with foreign company representatives pushing back on new measures.  “The measure on the introduction of an exceptional economic contribution for the state budget 2017 proposed by the 2017 Finance Law undermines the Tunisia’s ties with international investors.” said representatives of the Tunisian-British (TBCC), Tunisian-German […]

Prices of fruit and vegetables go up across Tunisia and Libya

The prices of fruit and vegetable have increased dramatically in the last three weeks across Tunisia, prompting social discontent. The ministry of industry has blamed this development on the cold spell that hit the country. In Libya, prices have also gone up.  The head of the Libyan Ras Jedir border post, Mohammed Jarrafa, says the […]

AFRICAN LEADERSHIP: Algeria-Nigeria: slight tension over African Union job

Two of Africa’s largest countries are having a little feud. The current disagreement is over the position of the African Union’s Peace and Security Department (PSD). Sources in Addis Ababa say that Algeria initially agreed to forgo the presidency of PSD, in favor of Nigeria after controlling that position for 16 years.  But only a […]

SAUDI INFLUENCE: Saudi Arabia-Tunisia in a new honeymoon period in an uncharted territory

Saudi Arabia is known for its efforts of pushing for its extreme Wahhabi agenda in North Africa and elsewhere. And after a brief intermission, Saudi Arabia is back in Tunisia, with the little help from its friends within the region.  Saudi Arabia has always had problems with the liberal stance of many Tunisian politicians.  The […]

REGIONAL CONFLICTS: Focus on South Sudan’s support of Morocco in Western Sahara case shows Morocco faces major opposition among top African nations

After a 33-year absence, Morocco has been readmitted on January 30, 2017 as a full member of the African Union. The membership is part of Morocco’s effort to influence African governments and sway them toward its goal to fully annex the Western Sahara territory, which it claims it owns.  However, the prospect of full annexation […]

TURKEY IN NORTH AFRICA: Turkey forces Morocco to close Gulen schools

Morocco has agreed with Ankara’s demand to close the schools affiliated to the Islamist movement controlled by the opposition figure Fethullah Gulen. For months, Turkey has been increasing pressure on most countries that hosts schools tied to Gulen.  Already in the third quarter of 2016, a Turkish parliamentary delegation was dispatched to Rabat to denounce […]

LABOR UNIONS: Localized and segmented labor unions in North Africa seek better coordination

Labor protests have been a major source of the heightened level of social unrest across the region.  This past week saw its share of trade union unrest, largely driven by a labor sector that has regulations largely seen as unfavorable to workers. The weakening state-sponsored labor organizations that have dominated the union’s landscape for decades, […]

Western Sahara Crisis threatens to undo Morocco-EU agreement on agriculture

The North Africa Journal – Feb 21, 2017: Morocco and the European Union are at an impasse when it comes to their joint agricultural trade agreement. At the center of the raw is Morocco’s insistence on including fisheries and farm products from the contested Wester Sahara province, which European courts ruled should be removed from […]