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2012-12-27

Tunisia, Algeria sign security pact

By Monia Ghanmi for Magharebia in Tunis – 27/12/12

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Tunisia and Algeria want to strengthen security co-operation along their common land border to counter potential attacks from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

The deal was struck during Algerian Interior Minister Dahou Ould Kablia's visit to Tunis on December 24th, where he met with Interim Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali and Interior Minister Ali Larayedh.

The agreement came after Tunisian authorities thwarted an attempt by AQIM to establish a terror cell in the western regions of Kasserine and Jendouba. The group was planning to carry out sabotage activities targeting institutions in both Tunisia and Algeria.

"The talk turned on the co-ordination of security action, notably in matters of fight against terrorism, trafficking and illegal immigration, in addition to the exchange of expertise," Ould Kablia said during his two-day visit.

They also discussed ways to ease the customs department work in transit areas, to enforce border protection, in addition to the creation of joint patrols.

Additionally, the meeting dealt with co-ordinating bilateral security activities between the two countries in order to address issues of terrorism, smuggling and illegal immigration, as well as to share best practices in the field of security.

The ministers agreed to secure the common land border and to address border infiltrations of criminal groups active in terrorism and affiliated with al-Qaeda, the statement published by the Tunisian interior ministry read.

The governors of the border areas between the two countries also met to create an "action plan for the development of these areas and to facilitate consular services such as the free movement of persons, and the right to property and residency", Ould Kablia noted.

As to the situation in Mali where active militant groups control the northern part of the country, Larayedh said that Tunisia and Algeria "have agreed completely and have already clarified their joint stance rejecting any military intervention", adding that a military solution "only complicates matters".

The length of the common land border between Tunisia and Algeria is about 1,000 kilometres, and serves as a vital link for the smuggling of goods, fuel, drugs and weapons.

Tunisians praised this agreement, all the while deeming it insufficient. Confronting AQIM should be a regional effort to be conducted by the five Maghreb countries, some commented.

"Insecurity and political instability in both Libya and Tunisia, as well as the security vacuum in the desert, are all factors that have led to the expansion of the influence of al-Qaeda in the Maghreb," said Rachid Beltifa, a cashier.

He pointed out that the recent arrests of terrorists serve as evidence that this organisation has begun imposing its presence in the region.

"Governments should stand firm and leave conflicts and disputes aside that have hindered attempts at co-operation in past years," he added. "This situation of conflict mostly benefits al-Qaeda. It is time for the return of dynamism to relations and of warmth to security co-operation and security co-ordination for the sake of the people, in support of stability in the region."

Abd Hafidh Maissour, a merchant, is hopeful: "There is a conviction among state officials about the efficacy of teamwork. I hope that this co-operation extends to other fields."

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  1. Anonymous thumb

    Sensationnalisme à l'inverse, mais vrai 2013-3-15

    [Continuation to Marocain] So, no, I do not attack the Algerian men and women, just like I do not attack the Moroccan men and women, but when it comes to analysing and criticising a government or a policy or a politician, I do not betray my principles and I call a spade a spade.

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    Sensationnalisme à l'inverse, mais vrai 2013-3-15

    To Marocain– My intention was never to insult the Algerians. If you think this, then you have truly misunderstood my reason for writing my comment. Moreover, I do not like and I do not use the word "Zionist" because it is so overly and so wrongly used in our region that at best it is meaningless and at worst is equivalent to parroting propaganda. Here, "Zionist" has a meaning that ranges from "Israeli occupation of Palestine", which would be closer to the original meaning, to "Anyone I don't like". So, I avoid this word. Returning to my original point, I do not insult the Algerian people. I make a distinction between the Algerian leaders and the Algerian people. The Algerian people are a diverse group and many of them self-identify with the Algerian leaders, but many do not. There is no reason to assume that my criticisms of the Algerian leaders are targeted at anyone but the Algerian leaders and their propaganda, which, unfortunately, some people spread knowingly and unknowingly. I equally criticize the King of Morocco, who is nothing more than a hereditary dictator, for the many of the same corrupt, vile and inhumane actions that I criticise the Algerian leaders for. After all, the King of Morocco lives a life of luxury on the backs of his people while nearly half of the country is illiterate and nearly a third of the country is malnourished. And anyone who dares to criticise him in the press soon finds himself in a prison or, worse, will disappear.

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    marocain 2013-3-6

    To "Sensationalisme à l'invers, mais vrai" – Wow. Wow. Keep it up. Hahahaha. Honestly, no Algerian man or woman has anything on you... and your hatred for Zionists.

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    Sensationalisme à l'invers, mais vrai 2013-3-4

    [Continuation] Ennahda, unlike the Algerian regime, has not denied any Tunisian their democratic rights, much less their civil or social rights. Ennahda has not cancelled elections. Ennahda has not sunk the country into civil war by arresting peaceful opposition members. Ennahda has not sold Tunisia's resources below-market prices to line its own pockets. The hypocrisy and irony of your accusations would be hilarious if not for the tragedy of so many losses, including the lives and rights and freedoms of the Algerian people. The only terrorist here is your own government.

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  5. Anonymous thumb

    Sensationalisme à l'invers, mais vrai 2013-3-4

    To CH– If Ennahda is a terrorist group like Al Qaida, then the FLN and the Algerian generals are a genocidal faction like the Khmer Rouge. But, unlike the FLN, Ennahda has never cancelled elections, arrested tens of thousands of peaceful supporters of opposition parties or started a civil war, thus making the qualification of Ennahda as a terrorist group like Al Qaida completely unfounded. Meanwhile, the FLN, which has its root in a liberation movement like the Khmer Rouge in Vietnam, but whose leadership soon showed their true colours as a military dictatorship like the Khmer Rouge after they moved to Cambodia, did cancel democratic elections for fear of losing, did arrest and torture unarmed, peaceful opposition supporters, and did sink the country into a civil war. Even the current Algerian leader, Bouteflika, was arrested for stealing 80 million dinars during his tenure as Foreign Minister from 1965 to 1978, after which he fled to France and brokered oil contracts between corrupt Algerian generals and Saudi Arabia to line his own pockets once again with the wealth of the Algerian people. Quite interesting that a "leader of the liberation" would choose to live in France and sell the Algerian's oil to Saudi Arabia below-market prices. He, like most of the presidents who preceded him, is a collaborator with the former colonial powers. Meanwhile, the FLN and the Algerian generals now persist in accusing Ennahda of terrorism and collaboration. This irony would be funny if it did not come at the cost of so much blood.

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    ch 2013-2-28

    What a mistake, because Ennahda is also a terrorist group just like Al Qaida!!! Nothing more, nothing less!! And they are just as dangerous!

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    Yacine 2012-12-28

    Tunisia’s Ennahda Party is sort of like what a baby incubator is to premature babies: it’s the breading ground for salafists. The aim of Ennahda and the salafists is one and the same. The only difference is the means used are different—the latter use violence in their approach. Base on this observation, it’s a bit clearer that the Algerians have made a strategic error. The Algerian authorities should reinforce their presence on the border and, at the same time, try to economically strangle the Ennahda government while supporting the democratic pole represented by Beji Caid Essebsi’s Nida Tounès, which were abused by Ennahda’s militieas. Any support from Algeria for Ennahda, be it through treaties or otherwise, will weaken the Tunisian democrats and secularists.

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