Algeria has no intention of intervening in Libya – says PM Sellal

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PRIME Minister Abdelmalek Sellal has reaffirmed Algeria’s firm intention not to intervene militarily in Libya, citing the Algerian Constitution ‘which prohibits our troops from crossing the borders’.

Algiers is clearly stating once again, its position on the Libyan security issue and advocating the path of dialogue to put an end to the armed violence that has been undermining the country since the fall of the Al-Gadaffi regime.

Sellal rules out any coordinated military action by stating that ‘a consensus must be created to put in place a government and institutions able to manage the country’.

At the meeting of the foreign affairs ministers of the countries bordering Libya on 27 and 28 May in Algiers, the head of Algerian diplomacy, Ramtane Lamamra, said Libya needs the support of neighbouring countries to solve its internal problems ‘without foreign interference’.

Accordingly, Sellal emphasises Algeria’s vision of a settlement of the Libyan crisis that must have a regional stamp, based on a process of rapprochement in Libya without any foreign intervention.

Algeria’s prime minister is clear on this question, asserting he does not accept ‘foreign interventions on our borders’ considering the consequences of the NATO-led intervention in Libya at French instigation that led the country into a bloody impasse.

‘A foreign intervention: We know when it starts but we do not know when it ends,’ he explains, emphasising the risks of destabilisation of the region in response to American wishes to intervene militarily in Libya.

Nonetheless, he recognises the difficulty of a return to normal since the country has neither an army nor a police to restore order.

In this regard, he reiterates Algeria’s support for Libya to assist it in the fields of security and justice, saying that Libyan Prime Minister Abdallah al-Thani had requested his help for rapid training of his country’s military and police intervention forces.

In March 2012, Daho Ould Kablia, at that time interior minister, had raised this question, recalling Algeria’s opposition to any attempt aimed at undermining the security and stability of Libya, and its availability to assist it at all levels.

Citing the Malian issue, where Algeria played a strong role in ending the conflict, Prime Minister Sellal also offers Algerian experience in effective approaches in settling regional conflicts.

In the debates devoted to security and peace in Africa held at the first Afro-American summit that ended on 6th August in Washington, Sellal explained this approach praised by the African countries and the United States.

He said this Algerian diplomatic initiative ‘has elevated the image of Algeria, which succeeded in creating a climate of negotiation among the different protagonists’.

During these debates on security in Africa, Sellal explained the Algerian vision, based above all on the idea that it is up to the Africans themselves to assume responsibility for security on the continent.

He suggested this demand has been taken into consideration by the Obama Administration, after it budgeted $110m to participate in financing the creation of an African rapid intervention force.

Meanwhile, in a commentary published in Algerian newspaper Liberte, Salim Tamani has blamed the US for helping create an Islamist ‘Pandora’s box’ in order to usher in a ‘new era’ of colonialism.

He writes: ‘Should we applaud the intervention of the US Air Force against the positions of Islamists in Iraq in the name of the fight against terrorism, or should we instead condemn it for the simple reason that the Americans today are pretending to attack the monster they have created and aided in the name of “democracy”?

‘In the completely atomised configuration of today’s Iraq, the Americans have saved the Christian and Kurdish minorities threatened by the Islamist barbarity.

‘That is a good thing in itself, and it would have been nice if the Washington decision-makers had done as much to help the liberation of democracy and economic development in the Middle East.

‘But the interests of the military-industrial complex, which form the backbone of the US Establishment, demand other strategies.

‘It is an open secret. We knew the Americans created and supported the Islamist organisations in Afghanistan with the goal of fighting the Communist advance in the region.

‘But after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, the American administration opted for recycling fundamentalists who had acted in the name of democracy in order to break the fragile republicans of the Arab world.

‘We can cite the case of Algeria in the 1990s, where the main leaders of the former FIS (Islamic Salvation Front) were installed in the USA or Europe from which they demanded terrorist attacks.

‘Since then, the Arab world has changed profoundly, and the revolutions of 2011 have completely dismantled states like Syria, Tunisia, and Egypt.

‘What is happening today in Iraq is not the simple fact of a reappearance of Islamist terrorism. Beyond the advance of what is called the Islamic State, we understand that the goal of these small groups is first of all to tarnish the image of Islam and then to serve the designs of Washington.

‘And it is Hillary Clinton, Obama’s former Secretary of State, who writes this in her book Hard Choices, maintaining that it is in fact the American administration that created the Islamic State organisation in Iraq with the goal of undertaking a new division of the Middle East, adding that there was even coordination on the subject between Washington and the Muslim Brothers to create this “state” in the Egyptian Sinai.

‘The Pandora’s box has been opened for more than 24 years. Beyond the complexity of the situation in the Arab countries, where people no longer define themselves according to their belonging to the Republic but much more through religious and sectarian ties, the intervention of the Americans risks going farther than the airstrikes.

‘It is the start of a new era where colonialism will have a new name. At any rate, the Islamists will have succeeded in speeding up the process.’

• Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki inaugurated General Ismail Fathalli as head of the army staff on 12 August as replacement for General Mohamed Salah El Hamdi who resigned his post recently.

This appointment is expected to permit the implementation of the army’s plan to face up to the terrorist groups in the Chaambi mountains.

Meanwhile, Libyan media sources have said that forces supporting retired Libyan general Haftar had succeeded in arresting Lokhman Abou Sakhr, considered to be the leader of one of the most dangerous Algerian terrorist elements active between Tunisia, Algeria, Libya and the African Sahel.

Intelligence reports have been quoted as saying that Abou Sakhr, real name Khaled Chaieb, had the intention of going to Tunisian capital to carry out a bombing operation on 29 July.

Other media sources added that, together with two of his aides, Khaled Chaib joined armed action since the early nineties after trying to re-infiltrate into Tunisia across the Libyan border.

In this context, the Tebessa criminal court had sentenced Khaled Chaib and two of his relatives to death, several times. He is wanted over many criminal cases where he is accused of mass murder.