Speaking to Al-Jazeera, President Tebboune reveals the inconsistencies of his policy on the various issues he was supposed to address

Las incoherencias de Tebboune

In an interview with the Qatari channel Al-Jazeera, not yet broadcast or commented on by the Algerian press, the Algerian president revealed the inconsistencies of his foreign policy. This interview, the second of its kind since his arrival at the El-Mouradia presidential palace in June 2021, confirms the cavities of a diplomacy sufficiently shaken by the waltz of its foreign ministers. Three ministers (Sabri Boukadoum, Ramatane Lamamra and Ahmed Attaf) in three years. Ramatane Lamamra, presented as an experienced diplomat, did not last more than a year and eight months under Tebboune. 

According to the first written excerpts published by Al-Jazeera.net and reprinted by the portal of the Algerian presidency, Abdelmadjid Tebboune will not succeed in convincing observers of the Algerian political scene of the validity of his positions when dealing with the three key countries in Algeria's relations with its immediate surroundings. Lacking arguments, the Algerian president seems to take things lightly by using simplistic and incoherent language. 

With Morocco, the point of no return 

On Algeria's relations with neighbouring Morocco, President Tebboune contents himself with a laconic "they have reached the point of no return". Without providing a single argument or a single reason to make him pronounce such a sentence. 

Overly bellicose, the regime of the Tebboune-Chengriha duo seems to be reeling from Washington's admonitions to tone down its inopportune declarations against Morocco. Today, he has opted for silence and has avoided talking about his western neighbour. This laconic statement is the conclusive proof. Tebboune does not give a single reason to justify this rupture, which is all the more painful for the Algerian and Moroccan populations, and more particularly for cross-border workers.  

However, it does not escape the informed observer that this proven hostility of the Algerian regime towards Morocco is easily explained by the desire to maintain the "external danger" in order to justify the repression of a people who refuse to grant it the popular legitimacy it has lacked since it came to power on board a tank of an army in which more than fifty general officers are in prison for illicit enrichment and embezzlement of public funds. 

The other reason for this rupture is Morocco's socio-economic development in recent years, which makes the Algerian regime, which is much better off financially, blush with shame. 

Finally, the other reason for this laconic response lies in the fact that the Qatari channel does not want to give the Algerian president a platform to vent his venom against Morocco, a country that is politically closer to Qatar than Algeria. 

According to sources close to the Qatari channel, this interview was conducted at the request of the Algerian authorities. It is the second of its kind in three years of the Tebboune-Chengriha duo's rule. And, in order not to offend the Algerian president, Al-Jazeera delegated an Algerian journalist, Khadija Benguenna, a former member of Algerian public television. The same happened with the first 26-minute interview, conducted in June 2021 by another Algerian journalist, Abdelkader Ayadh. 

Two interviews in which one simply "pours the soup", as they say in journalistic jargon. And you can't find better than two former Algerian public television journalists to serve the soup to their president. 

The Elysée's spoilt child 

On France, Tebboune declares that his country's relations with the former colonial power are "fragile". But he announces that the Algerian ambassador in Paris will soon return to his post, after having been recalled on 8 February, for a reason that no other state in the world would have recognised. This is the case of the French-Algerian opponent, Amira Bouraoui, who returned to France from Tunisia after fleeing illegally from Algeria. It should be recalled that Algiers had initially recalled its ambassador in Paris on 2 October in reaction to comments, relayed by Le Monde, by French President Emmanuel Macron, who said that Algeria, after its independence in 1962, had been built on "a rent of memory" maintained by "the political-military system". And just three months later, on 6 January 2022, Algiers reinstated its ambassador to Paris.  

By his actions towards France, sometimes rebellious, sometimes conciliatory, the Algerian president gives the image of a spoilt child who believes he is advancing his status as a former colonised country to enjoy the favours of the Elysée. 

Spain, the new enemy  

The other point raised in the interview granted, or rather requested, to the Al-Jazeera channel concerns Algerian-Spanish relations. An aspect that reveals the extent to which the Algerian president is unaware of the functioning of the institutions of democratic states. How else to explain why President Tebboune could find nothing more to say about Madrid's support for the autonomy plan for the southern Moroccan territories proposed by the Alawite kingdom to close the Western Sahara dossier. 

For Abdelmadjid Tebboune, this support from Madrid is the sole responsibility of the Iberian Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez. As if in Spain, a prime minister could direct his country's policy at will without needing the approval of the parliament and other state institutions. He added: "Spain pretends to ignore that it was the colonising power and that it still has a responsibility for the Sahrawi territory. It is as if it were asking former colonial powers to continue to exercise power over their former colonies. Would it accept it in this case in Algeria? It is difficult to understand a man who demonstrates his limits in terms of political knowledge with each of his media appearances. 

And when the Algerian president claims that "he maintains the gas contract with Spain, it is simply out of pity for the Spanish people to allow them to warm up". A statement that speaks for itself. 

It is clear that the Iberian Peninsula is today, in the eyes of Algerian leaders, the number two enemy after Morocco. However, Spain is not the only country in the world that has supported Morocco's autonomy plan for Western Sahara. Need I remind you that 28 countries have opened consulates in Dakhla and Laayoune, most of them African and Arab? Need I remind Algiers that the United States of America not only supported the autonomy plan, but simply recognised the Moroccan ownership of the Sahara? The powers that be in Algiers did not bat an eyelid. This is what we call the inconsistencies of a regime seeking legitimacy in its own country.