Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 11/2012

The Paranoid Neighbor: Algeria and the Conflict in Mali

Anouar Boukhars

October 2012

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


As the crisis in Mali threatens to grow into a full-fledged regional security and humanitarian nightmare, nervous neighboring countries are looking to Algeria to lead a conflict management effort. In many ways Algeria has always wanted recognition as a regional leader. Yet, Algiers worries about being dragged into a Saharan quagmire and seems reluctant or unable to maintain stability in its backyard. Both the country’s neighbors and the West are questioning Algeria’s decision not to take a more active role in Mali.