NESA Center Alumni Publication
By Dr. Arslan Chikhaoui, Chairman of NSV Studies Consultancy & Studies Center
2 September 2022
The contemporary relations between Algeria and the United States of America date back to U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s support for the war of liberation against French colonialism. After regaining its independence, trade, energy, and security have been the factors of rapprochement between the two countries.
On the political side, relations between Algeria and the U.S. were strengthened at the end of the 1980s, when Algeria played a leading role in negotiations between American and Iranian authorities for the release of American hostages held in Tehran after the fall of the Shah of Iran. With Algeria’s accession to NATO’s political dialogue and after the terrorist attacks on American soil on 11 September 2001, cooperation in the fight against terrorism developed between the two countries. This is how Algeria has become a strategic partner of the U.S. in fighting Islamist terrorism and Violent Extremist Organizations (VEOs).
In light of the strategic interests of the U.S. in North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, with the aim of controlling the natural resources of the region, reducing the influence of France, and to contain the expansion of China in this zone, the American Administration will continue to consolidate its relations with Algeria as a keystone in the fight against terrorism and VEOs. Algeria has thus become an important element of American foreign policy in the Sahel.
The U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, had qualified in March 2022 during his visit to Algiers that Algerian-American relations are “strong,” underlining the will of his country to work for the deepening of economic, educational, and cultural ties and the strengthening of security cooperation. Recalling that cooperation in matters of security and the fight against terrorism remains “the cornerstone” of bilateral relations between the two countries, the Head of U.S. diplomacy stated that: “Algeria’s efforts are essential to improve stability and security in the region.” He argued that Algeria continues to play “an important role” for stability in Mali, welcoming its efforts for a peaceful settlement of conflicts in the region, particularly in Libya, where it is working for a political solution under the aegis of the United Nations and the organization of the presidential election as soon as possible.
Referring to the question of Western Sahara, Secretary Blinken reiterated the commitment of the United States to support the efforts deployed by the personal envoy of the U.N. Secretary-General to relaunch the political process led by the U.N. in order to advance a lasting and dignified resolution to this conflict in order to ensure a peaceful and prosperous future for the Sahrawi people and for the region.
In short, we can say that Algeria is a pivotal country in the “area of special interest” chosen by the United States of America for its natural resources and its economic complementarity. It seems that bilateral relations would only be consolidated in the future regardless of the political color of the U.S. Administration in charge. This is especially reinforced by Algeria’s unwavering commitment to the fight against VEOs in the Sahelo-Saharan region and its efforts dedicated to the stabilization of the North Africa-Sahel region through inclusive political dialogue and reconciliation processes (Libya and Mali) and the irrevocable and continuous support for the self-determination of Western Sahara. In addition, economic relations, particularly in the energy sector, between Algeria and the U.S., which have traditionally been smooth, could only be an element of future convergence.
2 September 2022 / Dr. Arslan Chikhaoui, Expert in Geopolitics
Chairman of NSV Studies Consultancy & Studies Center (www.nordsudventures.com)
The views presented in this article are those of the speaker or author and do not necessarily represent the views of DoD or its components.