Algeria’s New Nationality Law, and the Feud with Morocco over Western Sahara

On Wednesday, Algeria’s Prime Minister, Abdulaziz Djerad announced that a new law will see the withdrawal of citizenship from nationals who sponsor and participate in terrorism and hobnob with supposed enemies.

It was reached after a meeting involving the nation’s President, Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

Beyond threats to withdraw the identity of Algerians it deems problems to the state, it looks like a warning to friends of Morocco, who it has been in a cold battle with over Sahrawi Republic (Western Sahara).

Western Sahara seeks independence from Morocco, with the desire championed by Algeria-backed Polisario Front Movement. However, the wish has not been granted so far, and is even more difficult after the United States under Donald Trump renewed Morocco’s authority over Western Sahara in late 2020.

In its agreement, Morocco also became friends with Israel, who are not in near good terms with Algeria, further dampening the relationship between both North African giants.

What both countries now fight against is an impending war that will crack them open, and fail to yield desired results.

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Late last year, the Polisario Front Movement reneged on its ceasefire agreement with Morocco after almost three decades, and the fire got more stoked when the United States identified Western Sahara as a sovereign of Rabat in late 2020.

Algeria’s diplomatic Corps which have not been in action for the better part of the last two decades may have been awakened by the new tension with Morocco as they’ve been seen recently.

Both nations have had great antagonism in the past, with their differences now up to almost half a century but there has never been a military intervention. With the way both nations are advancing their cause in the past few weeks, that may just be on the horizon, although dangerous.

There have been constant attacks on Moroccan walls in the past few months and they both know the dire straits between them cannot be widened with conflict.

A full blown war will be excessive and unnecessary, with the media in both nations expected to do better than the embers they are currently fanning.

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While Western Sahara remains a precious property that can be said to be for none of them geographically, political affiliations and differences suggest otherwise. The rising tension must be settled with caution and dialogue.

The last thing on their plates should be war. Their weapons suppliers may wait to have a field day in the market but like has been seen in other parts of Africa, the populace and economy will bear the brunt.

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