October 17, 2021

Dubai Week

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Colonial Tradition in France and the Maghreb

Colonial Tradition in France and the Maghreb

Baha Mahmood *

The Maghreb countries (Tunisia, Libya, Algeria and Morocco) have created areas of influence, and France wants to keep relations at its best because it is the old colonial tradition and the gateway to Africa for French interests.

The French-Algerian tension has been renewed since 2005, and the main link of the crisis between the two countries is the “colonial period.” Just as Algeria was born with colonialism, there is an Algerian nation before colonialism.

After his meeting with a group of sons of heroes who took part in the French colonial rule in Algeria, Macron told the French newspaper “Le Monde” that the latter prevented French planes from crossing its skies and repelled it. Ambassador. France, by its leader, did not stand there; Instead, the Algerian regime was accused of being a military regime living on rent. At first glance, Macron’s statements may seem artificial and unreasonable, but his decline in reputation and his loss of many files both internally and externally, including the recent Australian submarine crisis and the crisis relations with the trio (USA, Australia, UK) may have prompted him to take such positions. But all of the above have come before the French presidential election, and Macron has many new rivals, led by the far right, which eats nationalist slogans, and these days there is nothing better than talking about the colonial era until Macron. Increases the nationalism of the far right and takes on the role of their constituents, after which he calmed tensions with Algerians and others.

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Visa crisis

During the Tunisian crisis, after Tunisian President Gais Saeed suspended the Tunisian parliament and dissolved the government, France was united with Saeed, not criticizing him; On the contrary, she seemed to want to support Macron’s hostility to political Islam, especially in the context of the Enna movement (Muslim Brotherhood). Macron even sent medical ships and aid to deal with the Corona epidemic, which appeared to be in favor of Saeed’s guidance. Up to 50% for each Moroccan and Algeria, and up to 30% for Tunisia, are said to face illegal immigration. According to France, all three countries refuse to issue the necessary diplomatic permits for immigrants to return to their home countries; Therefore, the French government spokesman Gabriel Atal said it wanted to deport about 8,000 Algerians and other nationals from Morocco and Tunisia.

As for the official Tunisian and Moroccan positions, both countries regretted the French decision and were surprised by its timing. On the one hand, the Tunisian president regretted the French decision and contacted Macron, who clarified the possibility of reviewing the decision. Insisted.

Spy charges

Morocco ranks second in tense relations with France, especially after the outbreak of the Pegasus case. Edward Philip, party officials and delegates, and Macron’s two escorts, Frank Paris, adviser to the president on African affairs, and Alexandre Benella, bodyguard to the president; By monitoring all of them using Pegasus technology. Morocco, for its part, has denied the French allegations, while its foreign minister, Borita, spoke to the “Joe Africa” ​​newspaper, calling on the people who accused his country to provide conclusive evidence, explaining that the allegations were based on speculation. A lawsuit will be filed against “Le Monde” newspaper, “Forbidden Stories” and Amnesty International. “Radio France”.

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Future determinants

As is clear from the above, the Franco-Maghreb crisis is concentrated in its interior with Algeria and Morocco, and Tunisia is no longer formally included, and the common constant between them is the main geographical purpose for France. Libya’s predicament in which France retreats in favor of Russia and Turkey. There is also the economic importance of the three countries. France has oil interests with Algeria, and they have already been damaged since the Algerian government took over the US oil company “Anatroco” in Algeria, and the French company “Total” was prevented from owning it once the agreements were finalized. The company that manages the subway, international airport, water and other French loss-making businesses of several French companies in Algeria. As a result, it will put pressure on the French president to improve its position with Algeria, which will intensify against France and adopt measures that will heighten the crisis, and the Algerian parliament will be an influential factor in determining the future of Algerian movements in the northern Niger and Mali regions, including legislation criminalizing colonialism. From this France derives recurring failures and setbacks. Russia and Italy.

France needs to reconsider its accounts and positions towards the three Maghreb countries.

* Researcher at the Al-Ahram Research Center