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Vol 39 No 9

Published 1st May 1998


Blair-ites in the desert

King Hassan's liberalisation provides more space for Islamists and infuriates Algiers

Old animosities between Algiers and Rabat are re-emerging. This time it's over Islamist infiltrators and the planned referendum on Western Sahara (see Box). Algeria's still powerful former Defence Minister Khaled Nezzar and other senior officers have publicly attacked King Hassan II's government, claiming that it supports the Groupe Islamique Armé. Other reports from Algiers suggest that underground Islamist groups have started to threaten security in Oujda and villages in eastern Morocco, while Belgian security sources are claimed to have discovered the existence of a Moroccan chapter of the GIA.

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