As I write this, former Libyan dictator Qaddafi is still at large somewhere, although hopefully we’ve agreed that it is not likely to be in Tunisia. Ah, but what of that other direct neighbor to the west, Algeria? His wife and younger sons, and their families, have apparently fled there – can Muammar be far behind?
In fact, things have gone even further than that. Algeria has closed (or at least declared closed – with the obvious exceptions) its 1,000km-long desert border with Libya, has cut diplomatic relations, and of course shows no inclination to formally recognize the new regime there. It is hardly the only country to have bet the wrong way on the ultimate outcome of Qaddafi’s struggle with domestic rebels, but it might be the only one further doubling-down on that failed wager. Why? Several answers are offered in an excellent – though anonymous – analysis in Die Zeit (Algeria’s problem with the new Libya). (more…)