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France ditches Morocco in favor of Algeria

howe The tables have been turned. Just over a year ago, French President Emmanuel Macron sacked France’s troubled former colony of Algeria, calling it an abolished regime, and slashed the number of visas issued to its citizens. Algeria angrily recalled its ambassador and banned the French Air Force from flying in its airspace. Since then, however, France has desperately sought a settlement. On January 23, Mr Macron received Algeria’s top general and the country’s most powerful man, General Said Sengriha. A large French delegation followed him back to Algeria. A diplomat who helped organize the event said it was an “extraordinary drive”.

While France’s relationship with Algeria is booming, its relationship with Morocco may be flagging. Mr Macron last visited Morocco in 2018 and has since visited Algeria. Morocco’s King Mohammed VI spent at least four months in Paris last year but never met the French president.

On Jan. 19, Mr Macron’s Ba’ath party helped push a resolution in the European Parliament condemning human rights abuses in Morocco, without simultaneously bashing Algeria, whose record is at least as dismal. “Moroccans think they’re running around Europe and Algeria in Europe us“Suddenly, Algeria became more important and had fewer problems,” said Jeff Porter, an expert on Algeria in the United States. ”

Algeria’s abundance of natural gas is a major reason for reconciliation with France and Europe in light of the Ukraine war. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni was in Algeria and Libya recently to discuss energy investments. Italy now depends on Algeria for 40% of its natural gas, up from 30% before the Ukraine war. Gazprom’s share in Italy fell from 40% to 10%. In contrast, Morocco has little hydrocarbons to offer. Russia has been Algeria’s main arms supplier for many years, so it was shocking that General Chengriha was discussing arms sales with French companies during his visit. To the delight of Europeans, Algerian President Abdelmajd Teboun has indefinitely suspended a planned visit to Moscow.

Morocco is partly responsible for its decline in respect in France. With King Mohammed often absent, Morocco’s foreign policy seems to drift along. The country’s relentless demands for Europe to accept its claim to the disputed territory of Western Sahara remain unmet.Its representatives were allegedly recently caught lobbying Europe CongressmanBribery (Morocco denies any involvement in the corruption scandal and accusations it is trying to influence Western Sahara’s disputed status). It has also been accused of using Israeli spyware to tap the phones of its one-time allies, including Mr Macron. Regardless, Morocco appears to be turning its back on what it calls “old Europe”. Instead, it has increasingly looked to Israel and the United States to defend it.

Morocco has been described by a seasoned observer in the kingdom’s capital Rabat as “a jilted mistress throwing a fit when her partner returns to his true love”.Rabat’s parliament votes unanimously to review relations with Morocco after European Parliament adopts resolution condemning Morocco’s human rights record European Union other side. Moroccan politicians condemn the colonial interference of European politicians, especially French ones.

Meanwhile, Morocco’s friendship with Israel is blossoming. The Israeli foreign minister, along with counterparts from the United States and the United Arab Emirates, is expected to be hosted by Morocco to celebrate the second anniversary of the Abraham Accords that normalized relations with the Jewish state. Apparently, the gathering will be held in Dakhla, a port in Western Sahara.

Meanwhile, tensions on the Algeria-Morocco border have once again risen dangerously. Relations between the two countries have long been at odds, having last suffered a fatal blow in 1963. Morocco is concerned that Algeria may supply drones to Polisario, a movement that has long sought the independence of Western Sahara. For its part, Algeria is concerned that Israel might help Morocco plan cyberattacks on its oil fields. Sparks could spark in the desert when France gives up her mistress for a new lover.

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