Kiosk360. Tunisian President Kaïs Saïed’s recent reception of the Polisario leader is a departure from Tunisia’s traditional neutrality on the Sahara issue. The mistake of petrodollars issued by the Algerian regime in very small quantities is illustrated in an article in the daily Le Monde from which this press review is taken.
In an article published on its site on September 15, 2022, titled “Algeria’s Shadow Cast on Weak Tunisia,” the French daily “Le Monde” returns to the diplomatic crisis that broke out in broad daylight between Rabat. Tunisian President Kaïs Saïed followed the surprise reception given by Tunisian President Kaïs Saïed to Polisario separatist leader Brahim Ghali during the TICAD 8 or Japanese-African Summit held in Tunis on August 26.
This “diplomatic crisis between Rabat and Tunis,” writes the French newspaper, “feeds Algiers’ growing influence over its smaller eastern neighbors into virtual financial bankruptcy.” All told: the Algerian regime has taken full advantage of the raging economic crisis and hopeless political crisis in Tunisia to buy its new position on the Sahara issue, even if it means creating a new crack in the fragile edifice. Maghreb.
Moroccan anger against the Tunisian president is “destined to last, casting a shadow over the strategic balance of a Maghreb whose stability is already weakened by the Algerian-Moroccan split”, explains “Le Monde” from the point of view of the Tunisian president. Rabatin said Polisario crossed the “red line of diplomatic propriety by giving the separatist leader Benbadoche the welcome he deserves”.
“Le Monde” describes this ethical error as a “hostile and discriminatory approach” by Rabat, which immediately withdrew its ambassador to Tunis, while the free trade agreement that has linked the two Maghreb countries for almost a quarter of a century, and which is more beneficial to Tunisia than Morocco, is at risk of being suspended. .
Since Qais Said came to power in 2019, “Tunisia has clearly lost its sovereignty in terms of its foreign policy… It is clear that the Algerian regime now dictates. At least in the Sahara file is his will”, explains a Moroccan expert in military strategy, quoted by “Le Monde”.
Qais Said’s attitude is still inexplicable, as relations between Morocco and Tunisia have not suffered the slightest strain since independence in 1956.
“Le Monde” recalls the episode of Gafsa, when Morocco came to the rescue of Habib Bourguiba, who tried to overthrow the Algerian and Libyan regimes in 1980. “In 2014, as concerns grew about the fragility of post-revolution Tunisia, King Mohammed VI walked the streets of Tunis in a bid to reassure the country’s stability… The Covid-19 crisis brought the two states closer together, and in July 2021, Rabat hosts a field hospital for Tunisians.
But in October 2021, having already made an unfriendly gesture towards Morocco, the new Tunisian president will have a short memory. The French newspaper writes, “In October 2021 – together with the Russians – a good diplomatic gift for Algiers, during the vote on the United Nations Security Council resolution on Western Sahara, the most favorable words were assessed by Algerians to Morocco.
The Tunisian president, “a country on the brink of financial bankruptcy, accepted some of Algeria’s demands” and gave him a “$300 million loan” in exchange for withdrawing from the UN. These “intrusions of Tunis and Algerian orders” became even clearer, with the Algerian regime “protecting the Tunisian lock-in”. “Le Monde” explains “continues to implement two pressure lines. First, the Algerian gas arm from which Tunisia receives 99% of its electricity. And, second, closing the border, severely punishing the Tunisian economy, especially the tourism sector”.
A former ambassador declares to a Tunisian newspaper that “it was not impossible that Mr. Said tried to be pleasant in the eyes of Algiers” by visiting Algiers to attend the neighboring country’s independence day and receiving Brahim Khali in Tunis. But this relative benevolence of the Algerian “big brother” is “not without an impact on Tunisia’s sovereignty”, concludes “Le Monde”, negatively.
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