Morocco could have a new opportunity to consolidate its regional leadership with the help of the United States. Maghreb Intelligence points to possible pressure from Washington for Algeria to return to the diplomatic path with the Alawi kingdom. The aim is to restore peace in North Africa and establish a network of relations that would be beneficial for all parties, which have been estranged since the rupture between Rabat and Algiers in the summer of 2021.
What does not seem so simple is to address the Sahara issue at such an early stage of this movement orchestrated from the White House. While it is true that this is one of the tasks marked in red by the Americans, they first want to put back on track what the Saharawi cause separated. The US is therefore working to convince Algeria through the security guarantor, precisely in a context that is hostile to Abdelmajdid Tebboune's people.
US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Joshua Harris travelled to Algeria on Wednesday on a visit motivated by "the conflict in Western Sahara". However, according to the aforementioned media, the intention is not to go down that road, but rather to "persuade Algeria" to reconsider its position on the diplomatic crisis it has been going through for more than two years with Morocco.
Washington's idea is to offer security to Algiers at a difficult time for the Tebboune administration. Israel, Morocco and even the United Arab Emirates represent a threat to Algeria's position, and it is in this context that the United States can offer guarantees that none of these countries - all close allies of Joe Biden's country - would threaten Algeria's stability. In this way, Washington would be making a doubly beneficial shift for its position in the region.
In addition to bringing stability to North Africa itself, it would be imposing itself as the hinge that makes it possible for all these countries to coexist. This would mean counteracting the influence that China has been gaining as a mediating country in complicated territories, such as its role in the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Now, it is the United States that can make a key impact on the situation in the Maghreb.
What they are asking from the other side of the Atlantic is that Algeria put aside "the radicalism of its anti-Moroccan policy", and accept a gradual return to bilateral relations with Morocco, according to sources consulted by Maghreb Intelligence. They fear that a possible escalation of tension could put the region at risk and lead to further confrontation. The US values its partnership with Morocco highly and is unwilling to prolong a crisis situation that could jeopardise its long-term plans in the region.
There are fears within the White House that China and Russia could gain influence in North Africa. Their recent moves in the Middle East have put Washington on notice that it does not want to lose one of its most influential locations. All the gains it made under the Abraham Accords - when it deepened relations with all signatories that recognised Israel as a state - are at risk, in large part because of the tensions that divide the northern part of the continent. Hence, the US priority is to redirect what many still see as the distant prospect of restoring relations between Morocco and Algeria.