Is the "sudden rapprochement" with Italy really beneficial to Algiers?

Algeria continues its blackmail targeting Spain with a new form of one-upmanship. This time, the country canceled a contract to purchase firefighting aircraft. Its sudden rapprochement with Italy to stir up the “jealousy” of Madrid, is it a good calculation for the Algerian military junta?

After having attempted to interfere in Spanish internal affairs by raising its voice following Spain’s decision to support the Moroccan autonomy plan, Algeria was immediately reframed by Madrid, which indicated that its decision was sovereign.

Algeria immediately announced the suspension of the Treaty of Friendship which had linked it to Spain since 2002, and began to perform unfriendly gestures of defiance which went beyond the political scope of this Treaty, in particular by blocking all commercial operations between both countries, thus preventing imports and exports.

At the same time, the North African country was getting rid of security cooperation with Spain. At the intelligence level, the Algerian government has decided to suspend the exchange of information deemed “non-vital” on anti-terrorism issues with Madrid, reported Iberian media.

Since the Spanish decision to support Morocco in the Sahara issue, the exchange of information from Algiers has been limited to alerts concerning the entry of extremists into Europe “using irregular migratory routes in boats arriving in Spain” from the Algerian coast.

Algeria, in its policy of blackmail, has therefore increased crescendo to cancel an important contract for the acquisition of four firefighting planes, at a time when Algeria badly needs them in the face of the forest fires which have become recurrent in summer.

The contract was for 4 aircraft manufactured by the Spanish company Plysa, with an option for 2 others. The contract was signed last September, following the deadly fires that broke out in Kabylia which killed more than a hundred people.

Sources from the Spanish company confirmed that the contract had been canceled “due to the diplomatic crisis between the two countries”.

In its strategy of blackmailing Spain, the eastern neighbor has undertaken to go further by redirecting its attention, its gas and oil contracts, to Italy. In the midst of the energy crisis in the world, caused by the war between Ukraine and Russia, many Europeans sought to secure sources of energy that were as inexpensive as possible.

If Algeria knowingly made this low blow to Spain, it is however not sure to have won in exchange. Its strategy could indeed fail it, because it is dependent on global geopolitics, but also on the political situation in Italy, a country which is currently facing an unprecedented crisis, with the resignation of the head of government, Mario Draghi.

While he had submitted his resignation a few days earlier, he quickly flew to Algeria on Monday to secure a major gas and oil contract with the neighbor. His resignation hides political struggles and deep differences between the members of his coalition.

Proof of this is that the cause of his resignation (not accepted by the president) emanates from the defection of the Five Star Movement (M5S) on an economic decree-law on which the government had asked for confidence. The situation risks becoming complicated for Algeria in the event of early elections in Italy which risk reshuffling the cards at the level of power. The country therefore remains on the ballot until a solution is found in Rome.

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