Chatham House: Independent thinking on international affairs

Security in the Sahel

The attack in the In Amenas gas plant in January 2013, plus regional security threats - including spillover effects linked to the insurgent forces in Mali and the fallout from the Libyan conflict - and the wave of democratization and post-Arab spring Islamist electoral victories, have put Algeria in the spotlight. Resources below consider how Algeria and the international community should respond, as well as the internal dynamics of the country.

Claire Spencer

Combatting Terror
Expert Comment, January 2013
If the policy response is to shore up or re-establish a group of regional strongmen, then the mistakes of the past will be compounded. The use of military force, both regional and international, should have as its initial goal the strengthening of local, not national capacities, writes Claire Spencer. Read.

Jon MarksPolicy Re-think
Podcast, January 2013
Algeria is too important for the European energy balance for it to be left behind, says Jon Marks. With its hydrocarbons wealth and some $200bn of foreign reserves, the country has huge potential. But the attack in the In Amenas gas plant shows regional instability is starting to affect Algeria again. Listen.

Jane KinninmontUprising?
The Scotsman, January 2013
The insecurity that Algeria has faced since the 1990s has made people more fearful of political change, and more willing to put up with an autocratic government that is heavily influenced by the military and intelligence services, writes Jane Kinninmont. Read.

Further Resources

Resources on Mali >>

Strategic Posture Review: Algeria
Claire Spencer, World Politics Review Report, July 2012

Algeria: North Africa’s Exception?  
Claire Spencer, Expert Comment, August 2011

Introduction: North Africa and Britain
Claire Spencer, International Affairs, September 2009

North Africa: The Hidden Risks to Regional Stability
Claire Spencer, Chatham House Briefing Paper, April 2009

In the News

Energy firms face extended threats
Wall Street Journal, 21 January 2013
The remote locations were seen as a strength for oil companies, says Claire Spencer.

Commentary: The West has ignored Al-Qaeda's invasion of Africa for too long
London Evening Standard, 21 January 2013
Claire Spencer says jihadist and nationalist insurgent groups have huge opportunities across such vast territories.

Algeria hostage crisis death toll rises
Asharq Al-Awsat, 21 January 2013
There cannot be a solution to the Mali crisis without Algeria being involved, says Alex Vines.

Hydrocarbon industry reviews security
Financial Times, 20 January 2013
The crisis at the In Amenas gas plant has raised the risk profile across the region, says Jon Marks.

Algeria goal to crush Islamists: experts
AFP, 19 January 2013
The concerns of Western governments would be secondary in decisions made on tackling Islamists, says Jon Marks.

Oil firms evacuate non-essential workers from Algeria
The Guardian, 18 January 2013
The attack shows that security levels are not sufficient, says Claire Spencer.

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