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Algeria and its Southern Neighbours: Turbulence in the Sahara

The South of Algeria belongs to the widely integrated Saharan political economy also composed of large chunks of the Malian and Nigerien territories. As such, Algeria plays a key role in the livelihoods and geographical social and political mobility of Sahelian communities, using borders as resources and connected to each other through transnational networks. But Algeria is also a powerful hegemon trying to protect its domestic and regional interests in an environment where political tensions and rivalries abound: protracted Western Sahara conflict, French military deployment at Algeria’s doorstep, highly mobile Jihadist units - remnants of the Algerian civil war. Dr Yvan Guichaoua will examine the role of Algeria in recent (Tuareg then Jihadist) insurgencies in Mali and Niger as portrayed by various actors of the political crises in the Sahel.

Imad Mesdoua will be examining the rationales guiding Algerian foreign policy in light of growing instability throughout the Sahel and Maghreb regions. Prior to French intervention in Mali, there was a general sense in the West that Algeria would, as a regional power, ultimately contribute or even spearhead a potential military intervention. Ultimately, Algeria did not participate in the French operation, and Imad seeks to explain why this was the case. He will also examine whether Algeria's regional security policy, partly focused on countering al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s (AQIM) growing influence in neighbouring states, has been a success.

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Event Details

Speakers: Dr Yvan Guichaoua, University of East Anglia; Imad Mesdoua
Chair: Dr John King, Society for Algerian Studies
Date: Monday 10 March 2014
Time: 18.30-20.00
Location:  Room 1.04, New Academic Building, LSE
Attendance: This event is free and open to all on a first come first served basis. Our events are very well attended, please make sure to arrive early. We cannot guarantee entry



Yvan Guichaoua is a lecturer in International Politics at the University of East Anglia. He is a former teaching fellow at Yale University and research officer at the University of Oxford. He has been studying the dynamics of irregular armed groups in Sub-Saharan African since 2004. Since 2007, Yvan Guichaoua has been studying insurgencies in Niger and Mali and the rise of Jihadism in the Sahel. He is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters, and the editor of Understanding Collective Political Violence and co-editor of The Developmental Challenges of Mining and Oil (Palgrave-Macmillan). Yvan tweets at @YGuichaoua


Imad Mesdoua is an Algerian political analyst specialising in the Middle East and North Africa. He has previously worked as a freelance journalist and as a political consultant, advising political officials and international organisations. He regularly provides on-air analysis as a guest commentator for the BBC, Al Jazeera and France 24. Imad tweets at @ImadMesdoua



Society for Algerian Studies
magharebia, WikimediaCommons

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