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Mistrust and antagonism between neighbors, Morocco and Algeria, stoke tension, threaten the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline

The tension in recent months are concerning and threaten the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline, conveying Algerian gas through Morocco to Spain in Europe. Morocco could decline renewal of permit which is due in October

Relations between Algeria and Morocco, its neighbor have been difficult, mainly because of the Western Sahara dispute, the long border between the two countries has been officially closed for more than 25 years. The tension in recent months are concerning and threaten the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline.

Morocco has accused Algeria of meddling with its internal affairs by supporting the Western Sahara pro-independence efforts.

“In fact, in recent months we’ve had increased tension between the two countries. Above all, in reality, Morocco has made the Sahrawi issue its national cause. Actually, a sacred cause for decades. It is at the heart of Moroccan diplomacy, and especially since the last few months, that Morocco has initialized new relations with countries like Israel, and the United States. This has brought up mixed anxiety,” Hichem Ben Yaiche, editor-in-chief of the New African Magazine said.

Algiers has accused Morocco and Israel of supporting the Movement for the Independence of Kabylia, a pro-independence organization, as well as the Islamo-conservative organization Rachad.

“In reality, the issue of Kabylia is a very sensitive subject for Algeria, in particular through the Kabyle independence movement, as it can be manipulated by others, like for instance Israel.

Morocco has never risked going to this low because this will bear consequences for both countries and therefore Algeria has reaffirmed its support for Saharawi. Perhaps, Kabylia was Morocco’s own ‘’Sahrawi’’ push-back against Algeria.

The issue that worries Morocco the most is the possibility of the closure of the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline, which has been connecting Algerian fields to Europe via the Moroccan kingdom since 1996 and whose contract expires next October.

Hichem warned that the consequences will be heavy because, in reality, one follows the policy of diplomacy and its geographical position, especially for Morocco that has fewer resources.

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