The ambitious project of the Maghreb Union (AMU) was killed in the bud by the attitude of the Algerian regime’s fierce malevolence and hostility towards Morocco and its territorial integrity.
In view of the stalemate of the project of the Maghreb Union, launched more than 28 years ago, because of the hostility of the Algerian neighbor, and given the economic and security difficulties facing the other Maghreb partners, Morocco decided to turn southward to get closer to the countries of sub-Saharan Africa.
After its triumphant return to the African Union (AU) in January, Morocco submitted the following month an application for membership to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Over the weekend, the heads of state of the fifteen member countries of ECOWAS announced at the closing of their 51st ordinary summit in Monrovia that they have “approved in principle” Morocco’s bid.
Not only does Algeria blindly support the Polisario and its separatist claims, but it has done everything to deteriorate inter-Maghreb relations and to kill in the bud the AMU, which, apparently, does not meet the interests of Algerian rulers.
It is in this context that Algeria has kept its borders with Morocco closed for 23 years, and later on, sealed its borders in the east with Tunisia and Libya and in the south with Niger, Mali and Mauritania, purportedly to prevent terrorist infiltrations.
Today, Algeria is paying the price of its aggressive neighborhood policy and its ambition to impose its leadership in the region at any price, was it through destabilizing the Moroccan neighbor. But, instead of going forward, Algeria, despite its oil and gas, has closed itself off and plunged its economy in turmoil.
At present, all its economy indicators are set to red. Trade with Maghreb, African and Arab countries have not progressed and major infrastructure projects have been frozen following the collapse of oil prices. Are the Algerian rulers aware that the country and the citizens are paying the price for the absence of a real policy of neighborliness and economic complementarity and integration? Not so sure!
As there were signs of improvement at the level of the Maghreb, Morocco, eager to go forward, could not stand idly by. It turned towards black Africa and the doors opened at once.