Algerian national broadcaster, Ennahar TV, announced this Wednesday that the country’s security forces had foiled a plot to launch an armed attack by separatists, who were aided by both Israel and a North African nation.
This Wednesday, Ennahar TV revealed that the “General Directorate of National Security managed to thwart a conspiracy plot that dates back to 2014”, stating that “the Zionist entity [Israel]” and a North African country were behind the plot to use separatists to do damage inside the nation’s territory. The security forces of Algiers reportedly discovered the terrorist cell and took them down in the past week, uncovering lots of evidence along with the cell.
It was also announced that members of the terror cell will give their testimonies, which was set to air on Wednesday night. Algeria has taken a strong stance against normalization of ties with Israel and has long been a staunch vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause for national liberation.
When the Kingdom of Morocco, Algeria’s Western neighbor, declared that they would normalize ties with Israel formally last year, Algeria had at that time warned of the Zionist threat which was located at their border. Although Rabat strongly denies that an Israeli threat exists to Algeria, from within their borders, the Algerian government believes otherwise.
In early August, Algeria arrested 22 people in connection with large-scale fires, blaming the Rashad group and MAK, an autonomy movement for the mostly Amazigh speaking Kabylie region, both registered as terrorist groups. According to Algerian President, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, the MAK “gets support and help from foreign parties, particularly Morocco and the Zionist entity”.
Later, towards the end of August, Algerian Foreign Minister, Ramtane Lamamra, stated that “Algeria has decided to break diplomatic relations with Morocco starting today [August 24]”. This came just a week after Algeria’s President spoke to a meeting of the country’s High Security Council, asserting that “incessant hostile acts perpetrated by Morocco have meant the need for a revision in relations between the two countries and the intensification of security checks [at the Morocco border]”.
Also stated as reasons behind the severing of diplomatic ties, according to the Algerian FM, were; “massive and systematic acts of espionage” carried out by Morocco against Algeria, using the Israeli NSO Group’s Pegasus software; and a Moroccan hosting of Israel’s Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, who had criticized Algeria during his visit.
Morocco has also had its problems, posed by the Algerian-backed Polisario Front, which operate in the Western Sahara and seeks to liberate the territory considered disputed by the United Nations. Last year, as a gift from the United States for its normalization deal with Israel, Donald Trump moved to recognize Western Sahara as part of Morocco. In 1975 Morocco annexed Western Sahara, claimed by the Polisario Front to belong to its native inhabitants, the Sahrawi people, which led to war. In 1991 a ceasefire had been declared and largely held for almost 30 years, until last year.
Now that Morocco and Algeria are engaged in an ever-intensifying feud, it is likely that the Polisario Front will pick up the pace in its action against Morocco’s forces, which it views as a foreign occupation. Polisario leader, Brahim Ghali, just this Tuesday announced his group’s intensions to pick up attacks against Morocco. Not only this, but the armed struggle seems to be taking its toll on Rabat, as the European Union General Court annulled an agriculture and fishing deal with the 27-nation bloc in September, on the grounds of rights violations in Western Sahara.
If it turns out that the North African country involved in the alleged terrorist plot, was in fact Morocco, then we could see the two nations come one step closer to the brink of war. Not a great advertisement to other Arab States potentially seeking US gifts for normalizing ties with Israel.