External Security Problems and Policies

External Security Problems and Policies

The Algerian leadership's perceptions of the outside world-- including its views on what constituted a threat to national security--have historically been strongly influenced by ideology. The War of Independence contributed to a set of beliefs that emphasized Algeria's identification with the newly independent, less-developed countries. Dividing the globe into the rich industrial nations of the North and the poor, former colonies of the South, Algerian leaders asserted their strong opposition to what they saw as a world infected by imperialism, Zionism, colonialism, and economic domination by the former colonial powers. By definition, these attitudes implied a measure of suspicion and hostility toward the capitalist states of Europe and North America, and sympathy for liberation movements whose struggles mirrored Algeria's own.

By the early 1990s, ideology was no longer the guiding principle of Algeria's national security outlook. The views shaped by the War of Independence were tempered by more than two decades of experience as a sovereign state as well as by President Benjedid's more cautious, pragmatic style. Under him Algeria adopted an active posture as a mediator of disputes between Western nations and the more radical states of the Arab world. At the same time, Algerian external security objectives narrowed. The goals of reducing differences with its neighbors, the Maghrib countries of North Africa, and especially of settling political and economic disputes with the bordering states of Morocco and Libya, predominated.


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