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The Risks of Algeria and Morocco’s Latest Diplomatic Row Over Western Sahara

MIN READJul 22, 2021 | 21:10 GMT

A bulldozer passes by a hilltop manned by Moroccan soldiers in Western Sahara on Nov. 23, 2020.

A hilltop manned by Moroccan soldiers is seen in Western Sahara on Nov. 23, 2020.

(FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Rising diplomatic tensions between Algeria and Morocco over the disputed Western Sahara region risks sparking a tit-for-tat exchange of low-level military and economic actions between the two North African neighbors. On July 18, Algeria summoned its ambassador from Rabat for consultations after Morocco’s representative to the United Nations, Omar Hilale, implied that Algeria was hypocritical for insisting on the self-determination of the Western Sahara people while denying the same to ethnic Berbers in the northern Algerian region of Kabylia. Algeria’s foreign ministry demanded clarity on Hilale’s comments, which he made during a July 13 U.N. session, and threatened “other measures” depending on Morocco’s official response, which Rabat has yet to provide....

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