The Quest for Military Cooperation in North Africa: Prospects and Challenges
North Africa's security landscape has worsened in the aftermath of the political events of the Arab Spring. Libya's dire state of affairs has had significant repercussions not only on its internal security and stability, but also on that of its neighboring countries, particularly the ones with long and exposed land borders. The worsening of the security situation has led North African countries to cooperate on strengthening their military and security collaboration. However, while rapid progress has been made in establishing bilateral cooperation between Algeria and its neighbors, Tunisia and Libya, there has been a grave failure to launch a regional security initiative that is effectively capable of dealing with the range of cross-border and internal security threats that face all of these countries.
The failure to construct a regional-security structure in North Africa is due primarily to decades-long differences between Algeria and Morocco over a variety of pending issues, including the disputed Western Sahara territory. In addition, the fluid political and security situation in Libya has impeded engagement in any bilateral or regional security cooperation framework.