Algeria’s inconsistent diplomacy loses Russia and the West

Algeria’s inconsistent diplomacy loses Russia and the West

Algerian diplomacy’s inconsistency and blunders left the country in grey territory unable to win neither Russia’s trust, nor the West’s support.


Tebboune who braced for a second term with the benediction of the army, ended his five-year term with diplomatic setbacks. The highlight of his debacles was the resounding failure to join the BRICS, despite promises he gave to his people in speeches that he has Russia’s backing.

Russia said only countries with an aura and weight at the international stage were admitted. This came as a slap in the face of Tebboune who paid a clumsy visit to Putin and described him as “the friend of humanity.”

During his visit to Moscow in June last year, Tebboune expressed anti-western stands comments made publicly at a meeting with a delegation led by Putin. He went as far as urging an end to the dominance of the dollar.

Despite Tebboune’s obsequiousness towards Moscow, Russia seemed to take the backseat dealing with Algeria as a customer rather than an ally.

Cracks in the Algerian-Russian relations started to widen following the surge of Wagner activity in the Sahel. In Mali, in particular, Russia backed Bamako to retake swathes of Tuareg-held territory, pushing Algiers to back a coalition of Tuareg rebels known as CMA. This meant that Algiers and Moscow are now backing opposing sides.


With France, Macron failed in his multiple attempts to turn the page on the tumultuous past of Paris-Algiers relations. Despite Macron’s visit to Algiers and that of the half of the government which he dispatched under Elisabeth Borne and despite his willingness to apologize for French colonial legacy, relations remained at a standstill because of the intransigence of the Algerian regime to break away with a conspiracy theory and vengeful rhetoric that demonizes France.

Now with the electoral win of the far right in French snap elections, the Algerian regime should brace for the worst scenarios in its ties with France. The far right wants to abolish the Evian agreement which offered advantages to Algerian nationals and want Algeria to take back its illegal migrants, citing higher criminality and abuse of social protection among others.

The most worrying scenario for Algeria is that the right is prone to make a bold announcement recognizing Morocco’s sovereignty over the Sahara territory, a historical fact that can be backed by documents in French archives.


With Spain, Algeria tried in vain to use gas blackmail in 2022 when Madrid backed Morocco’s autonomy plan in the Sahara as “the only solution” to the conflict.

Improved ties between Madrid and Rabat irked Algeria which threatened to cut gas, a decision it has already taken when it blocked all gas flows through one of its main pipelines to Spain, the Maghreb-Europe pipeline that crossed Morocco.

Algeria returned its ambassador to Madrid in 2024, two years after his recall, empty handed.

Meanwhile, Algeria turned a blind eye to the thousands of youths who have been making the perilous crossing to Spain, in an attempt to weaponize migration.


As Algeria continues to stoke anti-American and antisemitism in its official media, Algerian officials think they can play on the Russian and Western chords. But they ended up losing both.

The US has appointed Joshua Harris as new ambassador to Algiers. When he was serving Deputy Assistant Secretary, Harris visited Algeria and med with Tebboune. He urged Algeria to contribute to facilitating the mission of the UN envoy De Mistura to speed up the political process to find a lasting political solution to the Sahara conflict.

In choosing Algeria as an interlocutor on the Sahara issue, the US sends a clear message that Algiers is the real party to the conflict, vindicating Morocco’s position that no political solution is fathomable without the active involvement of Algeria, the paymaster, protector, and donor of the Polisario militias.

“We are serious about using our influence to enable a successful UN political process,” said Harris, whose country recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over the Sahara territory in 2020 and lauded the autonomy plan as serious and credible.

After five years in office, Tebboune left a legacy of an Algeria in disarray with a swinging diplomacy.

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